Offshore mooring is the act of mooring or tying a boat up to a submerged anchoring point not close to a dock or shoreline. Mooring is the action of tying a boat to a fixed structure—typically, a large structure such as a concrete or wooden boat dock serves as the attachment point when securing a boat. Due to the damage the rough waters can cause a boat to suffer when tied to a dock during a heavy storm, offshore mooring is often chosen for a boat to ride out a storm.
By choosing to opt for offshore mooring during inclement weather, the boat is allowed to ride the rough water both up and down as well as side to side without making contact with a solid structure. When tied to a dock, a boat is often smashed to bits by being repeatedly slammed against the structure by the waves and wind. Another factor that affects boats tied to a dock is that they are often tied up facing the shore. This causes the waves to swamp the rear of the boat, often sinking it.
Mooring offshore often allows the boat to be tied up facing away from the shore line. As the waves increase in strength, the boat that is facing away from the shore is able to take the waves head-on and simply float right over and through them. Another factor with mooring offshore is that a vessel that is struck by another object is able to float away from further contact, often allowing the object to pass by while making only minimal contact and damage.
One of the most important factors in offshore mooring is using a rope or chain that is long enough to allow the vessel to move freely and navigate the weather. If a boat is tied with a short rope while mooring offshore, it cannot float up and over large waves and could be swamped. A longer tie out will allow movement both up and down as well as significant side movement to avoid being crushed by other objects in the water.
Storms are not the only practical reason for offshore mooring. Often a captain will choose mooring offshore in ares which are heavily infested with insects. By tying the vessel out and away from the shoreline, many insects can be avoided, making life on board the vessel much more pleasant. Also, some rescue vessels are able to make a much speedier take off when already facing away from the shoreline. Offshore mooring is also a practical approach when entering an unfamiliar port in the dark.