The activity of diving in the Mediterranean is very intensive: 40 to 50.000 dives a year on the coast of the Natura 2000 Estérel site. But for every dive, it means an anchor that’s thrown onto a delicate marine habitat. As the traditional method of mooring boats continues to fail, rust, and destroy such habitats, people have begun to look for better methods of addressing these issues.
Permanently positioned ecological moorings
While diving at sensitive sites might be forbidden by classifying them based on the UK’s SSSIs (sites of special scientific interest), one solution is in permanent ecological moorings which eliminate the impact of anchors without restricting activity. Moorings generally comprise three main parts, the anchor (helical), the link (or rode) and the float.
For example, the Hazelett Elastic Mooring System, connected to a block or Helix screw anchor, floats above the sea bed with a minimal environmental footprint.
There are many practical and even artistic uses. Famed artist Christo used Hazelett elastics to stabilize is the floating piers installation on Italy’s Lake Iseo. They held 226,000 high-density polyethylene cubes and 70,000 square meters of yellow fabric. Over a 16 day period in 2016, the work of art attracted 1.2 million visitors.
In October 2018, the ngo “Planet Cavem” with the theme “Our mother … Mediterranean in all its states!” set about equipping dive sites with ecological anchors built by Parlier Environnement SAS.
They have positioned 13 scattered units between Île d’Or and Cap Roux. Four moorings reserved for diving boats frequenting the Cap d’Antibes were also installed and in regular use.
They were set up thanks to the partnership between the Alpes-Maritimes Departmental Council, the French Federation of Underwater Sports and Studies and the Antibes Juan-les-Pins Commune.
What you can do: If you go pleasure boating, moor with respect for the ocean floor.
Tomorrow’s solution: Monitoring Planet Earth by satellite
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