Reader Rant: Moorings Didn’t ‘Fail’ in Santa Barbara — Connecting Components Failed

The main focus of The Log Newspaper’s Feb. 3-16 issue article (“Santa Barbara Moorings Reportedly Have Trouble Staying Put”) is regarding Seaflex moorings there and the “failures” they are experiencing. However, to this day, there is not one single piece of evidence that has shown a Seaflex product failure.

There are, in fact, issues there in Santa Barbara, but none are related to the integrity of our product. An example of this is in the case of Nicole Aversa’s mooring, mentioned in the article. Aversa contacted us in August 2011 claiming that her mooring has failed, and said that a distributor of ours — U.S. Moorings Systems (a separate company that does not have any exclusive agreements with Seaflex) — was not handling it well. Since that moment, Seaflex has gone to great lengths to help her out.

We instructed her to contact U.S. Mooring Systems — from whom she had purchased all of her mooring components, including the Seaflex, and who did her installation — to sort it out. She responded by saying she didn’t want to deal with them. As a goodwill effort, Seaflex’s next step was to have an independent dive company go out and see what was going on with her mooring, and let the city of Santa Barbara know what was going on.

Upon diving at Nicole Aversa’s mooring, a report was produced and given to the city of Santa Barbara. Here is some of the information in that report: “After multiple searching sweep patterns, the diver located mooring #33 at 43 FSW at a high tide on 08.24.2011. The Seaflex mooring system was secured to the substrate with a helix anchor that was in good condition … There is a mid-water buoy holding the Seaflex in an upright position with one tip line (intended for the larger marker buoy, per U.S. Mooring Systems installations) and no picking line (pennant) present to secure the vessel.”

After stating that the Seaflex portion of the mooring is completely intact, it goes on to report “Mooring #33 can be fixed for a Seaflex or traditional chain-style mooring. A Seaflex installation will need a new top line from the Seaflex rode to the picking buoy, and then to the boat.”

Again, this was a report that was generated after Nicole Aversa’s inspection — and it stamped and submitted to the city. As you can see, in Nicole Aversa’s case, there was nothing wrong with her Seaflex: Her Seaflex was in perfect working order. Her troubles were in her hardware/marker buoy/pendant line — which are all components not manufactured or supplied by Seaflex. Aversa’s issues would have still been present, no matter if she had Seaflex or chain.

We tried to explain to her that she has many components that make up her complete mooring. She has a helix anchor (not Seaflex) a swivel (not Seaflex) a shackle connected to the swivel (not Seaflex) the Seaflex itself, Seaflex line, then a shackle/thimble (not Seaflex), a buoy (not Seaflex) and a pendant line/thimble/shackle (not Seaflex). These products and the way they are configured are left to the sole discretion of the installer. We have other customers around the world that do their moorings completely differently.

Now, there are other issues in Santa Barbara. It is an open-ocean environment with active lobster fishing. If floating debris or a lobster trap gets entangled with a Seaflex mooring, leading to damage, surely this is something that we cannot control or provide a warranty against. There have also been emails suggesting a lack of commitment in performing the maintenance recommended by the installer. Since the non-Seaflex related failing components of the complete mooring system are missing, it is hard to say if this was the reason of mooring failure.

The facts are, at the present moment, there has not been one known single “Seaflex failure.” Seaflex has offered to the mooring owners a replacement Seaflex — 100 percent free of charge — if it is found that the Seaflex unit itself was faulty in manufacture or was not performing under the design criteria it is meant to handle. There is not one circumstance that suggests a “Seaflex failure” — and the issues seem to be related to a product other than Seaflex, foreign debris and/or lack of maintenance.

These issues need to be resolved between U.S. Mooring Systems, the city of Santa Barbara and the mooring owners.

Brian Hylland
Area Market Manager, Seaflex Inc.

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