Originally Posted by BruceB
I have launched at more than six different Orkney slipways over the past 4 years and used more than half the harbours and piers around the islands.
Its news to me I should be paying, even when in the Orkney harbours office collecting dive permits nobody has ever asked for money for a launching permit nor have I ever seen any signs or "honesty boxes"
Hi there Bruce... and others who this may help.
Glad you've had some good times here in Orkney and not the last I hope :o)
Below are images of our boat club's slipways, sign and donation box. I guess you've not been to this one in Deerness, but it's great for accessing the East coast of Orkney without having to come out from Kirkwall. Do give it a try when you are next up - improvements being done this year too. It's located here: Streetmap.co.uk- search results
I can well imagine that you may not have been actively asked for payment elsewhere, and like a lots of places in the far north, there can be a laid back attitude toward occasional use, so I think we are coming at this from different philosophies.
Personally, I like to take the initiative and ask/offer to pay, as I think it leaves a good impression for ourselves and future visitors, and is appreciated, even if they then say you don't need to pay this time. Just seems natural to me when a facility has been provided and someone clearly maintains it. Far better than giving people the opportunity to grumble and malign us all.
Officially when I've asked, one does need to pay to use the Council slips, hence the content online and in the Ports Handbook: Port Services | OIC Marine Services
CHARGES FOR PLEASURE CRAFT USING OIC HARBOUR FACILITIES
A seasonal compound fee, payable in advance, will be charged for each locally owned pleasure
craft, regularly moored or berthed within the defined Harbour limits, for the season 1st May to
31st October as follows: Up to 10m overall: £65
(3) The following categories of craft are exempt from payment of the above fees - dinghies, with oars or sails; canoes.
But the key, carefully-worded elements in there are "locally owned" and "regularly", so in essence, locals using the facilities occasionally are not charged, and that's been the case when I've asked about slips. Technically yes there's a fee, but locals using from time to time are not charged.
And hence why there's a visitor rate for non residents.
The port handbook can be picked up free in hard copy as well as online; really useful with plans and air photographs of all the slips and harbours.
I note you used the pier on Auskerry one time, and I'm pretty sure no-one will have wanted you to pay for that, as the Northern Lighthouse Board are very concerned about being sued... so very reluctant to give permission to third parties to formally use their slips (eg by taking payment), and often prefer to helicopter people and materials in themselves. So people use at their own risk for free, unofficially :o)
I'm sure in the Western Isles when I'm there in June, one could get away with not paying on many of the isolated, unmanned slips, but there is the honesty system ("visitor questionnaire") in place, so you can pay after you've been for what you've used:
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Harbour Master (Visitor Yacht Moorings)
So going back to the OP, it is hard to know, but personally I feel it best to ask around locally, as it gives a good impression, ensures you are welcomed back and also can be a good way to get some useful local info too. Also ensures you know how not to get in the way if something special is happening that day etc.
And I say that as a Yorkshireman living in Scotland, which means that by all the stereotypes, I should be particularly tight fisted!
Hope this helps