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Tying up

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by NEO56, Oct 7, 2014.

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  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Wait a minute. You don't kow why you cross the stern lines and you took control of a person's boat and docked it????? Please tell us this is a joke. Just in case, you have spring lines and breast lines. Please look them up.:confused:

    I attached a PDF that I prepared for a client some years ago when I was teaching him how to work deck

    Attached Files:

  2. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    NO, It's not a joke, growing up when backed into a slip the stern lines were crossed. I didn't ask why...I followed by example. And last time I walked down a dock (which happened to be here in Texas) Nobody crossed their stern lines, I actually made a comment about it. And I'm talking about 80-90 footers! And yes, contrary to popular belief..I actually know about boat handling. But I do thank you for your attachment. Not only did I have to dock the boat, but had to tie up every single line, including spring lines.
  3. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    The angles are generally better for positioning the stern and maintaining that position within a 4-way slip when lines are crossed; same reason a single stern line at a long face dock is usually best led to the offside cleat. And longer lines (resulting from the crossing) are generally better for rising/falling tides at fixed docks.

    It's less common to cross stern lines on floating docks, partly since tides aren't an issue, and partly because some folks often prefer boarding via swim platforms.

    -Chris
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The reason for this is the stretch in the lines. You can check the stretch of different materials, but basically they'll stretch up to 1/3 their length. (3' will stretch 1'. 9' will stretch 3', etc.). you can easily see the necessity to use longer lines, the more tide involved (with a fixed dock). With a floating dock you want to stay with the dock, so less need for longer spring lines, and you can more consider ease of boarding.

    Sorry if I seemed to mock, not my intention. You just really caught me by surprise. I too have had to board boats and take over the docking several times, especially when I was running marinas, but you better be very sure of your skills and the wishes of the boat's owner when you do. You just taken on a world of liability when you do.
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Two reasons for crossing stern lines. First, the angle gives better lateral control and prevents the boat from moving sideways. A line going straight to the dock would not prevent any lateral motion

    Second, a longer line will compensate better for tidal changes. Again like the angle to the dock it s just basic geometry.

    Speaking of tide compensation, the placement of lines on pilings also make a difference. Most people hang their lines near the top of pilings usually at the hook resulting in a line coming down at an angle even at high tide but making it too tight at low tide. Instead i prefer to tie the line so that they re more or less horizontal at mid tide. This way at low or high, even just 2 to 3' like we have in FL, the lines don't get too tight or too loose. Again basic geometry but often overlookEd

    Problem is that on many boats the cleats are in the wrong spot making it difficult to access the swim platform with crossed lines. Or worst the lines end up chaffing on something when crossed.
  6. DanBlack

    DanBlack New Member

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    I keep the eye on the boat. When leaving, it takes only one person on the dock to loosen and throw the line aboard. If the eye is on the dock it takes an extra person to loosen at the boat before the dock boy can get it off
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I've had well intentioned marina staff adjust my lines when situations turned adverse while the boat was laid up which they couldn't do if the loop were on the dock (for better or worse). I've also come into away docks to find nothing but a closed end pipe or such to tie to. Sending a loop to shore would have done nothing but cause confusion. (Most recently in the heart of Toronto). So for an unfamiliar dock I'll always come in with the loop on the boat side.

    Yes Neo, always leave your lines neat (coiled clockwise). I remember seeing a boat in Lauderdale that had his stern lines flaked like a macromay mat. Wish I could remember how he did it. Looked really good.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Professional crew almost always throw the loop to the dock. That way you always maintain control on the boat, not with a stranger who may or may not know what they're doing. You can always uncleat a properly cleated line, no matter how much tension is on it, you will never get a loop off of a cleat that has tension on it. Also while staying on the boat, it's easy to adjust lines if a squal pops up without having to climb onto the dock.
  9. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    The professional way is always the same... The LOOP THE DOCK AND FREE (bitter end) THE BOAT... there are no variables in seamanship practice !

    This puts the control of the lines and tension onboard the boat with the Captain... Same in Merchant and Naval practice... look up your basic seamanship manuals! Seems like this is a standard question on a Master's Exam or is that for the Deck officer / 3rd Mate !

    Never seen a winch on shore for tensioning lines... except in a shipyard where the boat is assumed inoperable/incomplete... so that is not an exception.

    There are no exceptions to the rule...
    Oh, but what if a tug is tied onto the boat... the boat gets the Tug's line so the loop goes on the boat cleat and the free bitter end to the tug... remember the tug is in control so they get the free end... as they will be the one leaving the boat behind when they are done with their job. So it is exactly the same concept as the boat leaving the dock behind.
    Towing... well the one doing the towing is in control so it gets the bitter end...
  10. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Thanks NYCAP, I too have boarded many boats, but always with permission from the "captain". One of my favorites occurred in Dania, at the north end of HMY's facility there. Great little restaurant there with alfresco dining. I was sitting out having lunch and the incoming current was, for lack of a better word, fierce! This poor guy tried about 15 times to pull up to a parallel dock, and I swear it must have been at least a 10 knot current...I walked up to the dock and ask him if he needed help...and with almost tears in his eyes, nodded yes. I told him to match his speed against the current then add a little more with the bow pointed towards the dock. I called my buddy over and told him what I was going to do, when I threw him the tag end of the line make a wrap around the cleat and give me about 12 feet and then tie it off. He finally got there and I jumped on the bow (barely) and thankfully the helm was on the starboard side. I got one of his dock lines put the loop end on the spring cleat, pulled up tossed the line to my buddy, pulled back on the starboard engine, and she slid in just like in the movies. We finished tying up the boat and he offered to buy us both lunch, I politely declined but told him to enroll in a boating course. We did however get a round of applause from the people who had a nice hour of entertainment. I'm one of those people who believe in random acts of kindness...and it seems like I get to exercise that belief more so around boaters.
  11. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Thanks karo, I've never heard that term before..loop the dock and free the boat...very easy way to remember. Cruising the ICW on patrol with our Coast Guard auxiliary jackets on, we came up with some unique towing arrangements when pulling people off of the sand bars. Funny thing is that with the exception of one boater, over the years everyone I threw a line to, had to be told to pass the line UNDER the bow rail! Simply amazing.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    This. You always want control maintained on the boat and by the Captain.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    "Professional crew". That's a good example of why there are very few hard and fast rules for running a boat. Instead it's "do what works or what the captain asks for". Once you come down a few feet there are no professional crew. Instead it's often just a guy at the helm who lays the lines out where a dock hand can grab them and do his thing while the guy at the helm keeps the boat where it needs to be and instructs him from the helm. You're not going to ask an unfamiliar dock hand to drop the loop over a cleat, then jump aboard to take in the slack (assuming the bitter end hasn't left the boat), and then repeat the process for each line. Then there's the whole problem about the size of the loop on most small boats. Also home port (permanent) lines are generally tied with the bitter end to the dock so the loop can be grabbed and put on the boat's cleat as the boat comes into the slip with no measuring each time.
  14. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    I don't mean to disparage the yachting community... by my comments come from commercial and naval practice where there are fast and hard rules... rules that yachts are not particularly bound by. Yachts can pretty much do what they want but adopted standard commercial shipping or naval practice is never a bad idea. It goes to training and being able to rely on that to maintain not only a standard practice but more importantly that in that discipline and being able for all to rely on it operation of the boat is safer. If it is always done one way "everyone" and importantly the "captain" can rely that it is done that way and the odd emergency comes up it removes an unknown or variable... that is the importance! That can save injury, the boat or even lives!

    Now how would it matter for a row boat or be applicable... one might ask... it's just me after all... well the answer is if you can untie the boat from the dock without getting onboard... the boat is OUT OF CONTROL. The whole point of seamanship and safety of operation is to maintain control of the boat.

    Now on the sailboat this occasionally comes up with the tender... it has to be deployed by hoisting... it is darned heavy... too much to manually carry around on deck or lift over the side. I do not like the foredeck tender to be deployed and then dragged around the boat to the boarding ladder or stern by lines with no one aboard the tender. I consider this a 'safety at sea' issue... even when tied up and deploying in port. I think both bow and stern lines should be held onto then tied off and a crew member should board the tender, as soon as it is launched, and then it be driven into position. The problem is not so much in a calm anchorage... though it still can get away. The problem is if it is deployed in rough conditions when you have to anchor out due to draft / shallowness of water issues OR if it has to be deployed "at sea". As it is the only steerable boat onboard... the life rafts don't count... it would be bad news to lose it. So a crew member has to put on a harness and board when it is deployed. Now every crew ever on this planet considered this a bunch of crap... particularly in port.

    NEO56... your comment about the tow line over the bow rail / life line is both sad and funny. ONE BOATER over the YEARS! I need to find some dumb boater videos.
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The yacht next to me at the moment has the loop end on the dock. It enables him to adjust lines from the deck, and enables him to get away from the dock in a hurry should there be an emergency. All good. However his loops are not long enough to slip over the pilings (as it is with most small boat lines). So he formed a larger loop by pushing the line through the loop. He'll now need 2 line handlers, one on deck to ease the tension and one on dock to release the line. If all small boat docks were designed the same, all lines came with sufficient sized loops, and all people thought the same, life would be much easier, but boring. On small boats I've lived most of my days by plan B.

    As for everyone knowing what is standard practice, on my last day running down to Grand Haven after sunset I saw about a 70' boat approaching on a collision course. Hailed on Channel 16, 13 and 9. No answer. So I altered my course to starboard. A few moments later he must have seen me (visually), and altered his course to port. Now how basic is that? Eventually I was forced to alter my course to port to avoid collision. Even the Nav Rules point to plan B: "In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger."

    When I learned to deckhand I learned that the proper way to tie off a boat was how the captain liked it done. When I became a captain I learned to always have plan B at the ready for when plan A isn't practical. Yes, the standard procedure with large vessels is to send the loop to shore. Not necessarily the case with smaller boats.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    There is only one proper way to tie up a boat. The other ways are generally wrong. Rule #1, ALWAYS keep control on the boat, never to someone on shore. Rule #2 never run a boat single-handed, ALWAYS have a second person on board to handle lines, in case of fire, MOB, mechanical breakdown, loss of steering, or any other myriad of reasons. Rule #3, always have a boat hook ready (and a loose polyball or fender doesn't hurt either). A mate could easily remove a loop that is tight on the piling with a boat hook, pull the loop back to the cleat so both ends are on the cleat and then jump-rope it off when it's time to leave, if your loops are too small. You could also make a loop any size you want by tieing a bolin. Also when leaving, sometimes I put the loop on the cleat and around the piling and tie it right back off to the cleat tight on the 2 spring cleats, remove all of the lines, and then when it's time to go the mate just loosens the two, flips them off of the piling a foot or two away and we're off.

    Are you trying to tell us that you're not professional crew or a professional Captain?
  17. jspiezio

    jspiezio Member

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    I will address lines away from home slip only. I always tie of on the boat's cleats, always.

    This standard procedure does not in any way preclude the shore line from being tied rather than looped. Tie off the end with the eye on shore if that is what the dock master wants, now you have the best of both worlds. I have seen this done many, many times. Why are we laboring under this false idea that because you have passed the eye end to the dock it must be looped rather than tied?
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You have made a very valid and excellent point.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Good attempt at an insult schmuck. What I am saying is that I seldom run into professional crew on small boats, and I often run into non-traditional tie-up situations on small boat docks such as a closed end rail extending the length of the dock as you have in Toronto. I've also come into docks and piers where the only thing to tie to was a piling under the dock or a tree onshore. Let's see your "professional" crew throw a loop over those. BTW, if there is "only one way" then the other ways are ALWAYS wrong, not "generally".

    Since you've decided to turn this thread into an argument I'm unsubscribing. Argue with yourself.
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Can you imagine the furore if myself or Marmot said such a thing?

    Best done your fire suit as you will no doubt be in need of some protection
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