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Old 05-08-2017, 10:48 AM   #1
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Dock Hands and the Bow Line

I have a single engine boat with two thursters but when we pull into a dock the dock hand insists on receiving a bow line which he secures and then runs back to wait on another line. When my boat is tight on the bow it is not going anywhere. My wife tries to tell the little Rudypoop* that she is going to throw a breast line or even the stern line so I can bring the bow over with the thruster. Then he starts yelling at her and I start yelling at them. Not pretty.

*Rudypoop...what my wife calls a young man who runs around "whistle britches" style barking orders while not having a clue.

Anyone else experienced this sort of dock hand?
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:07 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. 007. Sounds like "no tip" time with an added "You would have received a tip IF you had listened to directions from the Admiral."

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Old 05-08-2017, 11:25 AM   #3
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my $.02 - As long as the instructions are clear, dock hands should do as you ask.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:29 AM   #4
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I have a single engine boat with two thursters but when we pull into a dock the dock hand insists on receiving a bow line which he secures and then runs back to wait on another line. When my boat is tight on the bow it is not going anywhere. My wife tries to tell the little Rudypoop* that she is going to throw a breast line or even the stern line so I can bring the bow over with the thruster. Then he starts yelling at her and I start yelling at them. Not pretty.

*Rudypoop...what my wife calls a young man who runs around "whistle britches" style barking orders while not having a clue.

Anyone else experienced this sort of dock hand?
Yes, I think we all have. I have a couple techniques to mitigate this behavior. I pause before I am within reach of the dock and politely tell them where I intend to place my dock lines. This is usually enough for anyone to realize the boat is well under control and doesn't need to be muscled into submission.

I don't attach the lines to the boat first, instead I hand over the eye end of the line for them to place around a cleat or loop around a piling and then adjust at the cleat onboard. With this method, if the dockhand isn't listening to you and just starts pulling, they find they aren't pulling against anything and eventually get the point. If they still aren't listening, I politely ask them to stand aside or I pull away from the dock.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:29 AM   #5
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Most boats, such as those with twins, or single I/O's and outboards can spring off of the bow line. The dockhand is only going by what he knows works for the hundreds upon hundreds of boats he assists with. You know your boat, however Keep in mind he's caught more boats over a season than docks you've motored up too.

The dockhand was wrong to not take your advise. I'm just pointing out where he might have been coming from.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:35 AM   #6
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I'm with Gdavid. I have my wife toss them the loop end of the line so there's not much they can screw up with it. We get the lines secured while the Ruddypoops are standing around, then, after they have departed we make final adjustments.


I've never met a skipper worth a damn who didn't want to tie his own lines. He knows his boat and knows how it should be secured.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:27 PM   #7
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Yes, I think we all have. I have a couple techniques to mitigate this behavior. I pause before I am within reach of the dock and politely tell them where I intend to place my dock lines. This is usually enough for anyone to realize the boat is well under control and doesn't need to be muscled into submission.

I don't attach the lines to the boat first, instead I hand over the eye end of the line for them to place around a cleat or loop around a piling and then adjust at the cleat onboard. With this method, if the dockhand isn't listening to you and just starts pulling, they find they aren't pulling against anything and eventually get the point. If they still aren't listening, I politely ask them to stand aside or I pull away from the dock.
That approach works great.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:46 PM   #8
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I'm with Gdavid. I have my wife toss them the loop end of the line so there's not much they can screw up with it.
Never fails, they pull it to them until they have enough to tie off to the cleat. The loop will be laying on the dock.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:51 PM   #9
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Most boats, such as those with twins, or single I/O's and outboards can spring off of the bow line. The dockhand is only going by what he knows works for the hundreds upon hundreds of boats he assists with. You know your boat, however Keep in mind he's caught more boats over a season than docks you've motored up too.

The dockhand was wrong to not take your advise. I'm just pointing out where he might have been coming from.
While we are doing sweeping generalizations, chances are the roodypoop has watched endless amounts of old coots (it works both ways) smash and crash their boats into docks and other boats while "in control" of their boats...
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:01 PM   #10
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Toss a spliced eye to the dock helper.

Chances are he will drop it over the nearest cleat regardless of instructions and stand by waiting for his tip.

A long line allows the boats line handler to remain in control.

A well trained dock boy will drop the loop over the cleat you point at, worth his tip.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:21 PM   #11
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Never fails, they pull it to them until they have enough to tie off to the cleat. The loop will be laying on the dock.
I agree whole heartedly but since I haven't tied my end off they find themselves holding the whole damn thing. Once this gets their attention they can hand it back to me or take the eye of the spare one I have at the ready. I understand they deal with plenty of boaters that are a danger to themselves and I am always polite but they do need to listen or we pause until we are on the same page.

I think I am in the minority in preferring a slip rather than a spot along a floating dock or bulkhead. Around me, many of the marina's have a dedicated space that is easily accessed and doesn't require navigating fairways and placing lines on pilings to hold you off of fixed docks. Once this transient space is full they start placing visitors in the vacant seasonal slips. I much prefer the regular slip with lines to keep me off the dock rather than fenders to cushion me in what is frequently a highly trafficked area. I also enjoy visiting with the seasonal slip holders that know the area better then the other transients.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:24 PM   #12
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This appears to be an East Coast phenomenon - I've never seen a "Rudypoop" on the West Coast (maybe I just never go to marinas that have them). When I was cruising on the East Coat (and Canada) I would request from the bridge "Please don't help me!" nicely, but firmly. I learned this the hard way when I had some boat damage due to an overenthusiastic Rudypoop, but the marina took absolutely no responsibility, saying that I was the Captain and since my vessel was still under power I was therefore responsible. That was the last time any Rudypoop handled my lines...

My wife and I always talk through docking procedures before landing, we have a system that works great for us, so no sense adding uncontrollable variables (like Rudypoops) when there's enough things already, like wind, current, etc.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:26 PM   #13
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Agree with Northern Spy.

For every good captain and crew, there are 10 newbies without skills or experience.

There is no right way to dock, there are variations.

I agree that dock hands should take not give docking instructions...but often they save the day versus ruin it.

I got thrown out of a marina when I argued with the dockmaster who was in charge. I told him he assigns the slip and I discuss then dock the boat if the assignment is acceptable.

He was trrying to tell me throttle commands when he refused to tie off a spring preventing the current and wind from driving my anchor into the rear of a Flemming.

We disagreed and he told me to leave which I gladly did. Most marinas compliment me on boat handling...this was just a disagreement on who was responsible for what.

When I asked who was going to pay for the damages to the Flemming , he tossed me.

So you meet all kinds cruising....as they do too.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #14
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We've seen excellent dockhands... and then some others. I think I can see both sides of the coin, but knowing which is right in front of you at the time becomes an issue...

Our technique is to usually approach close enough to relay instructions in advance of lines... starting politely by wifey on the foredeck... and if necessary, emphasized from the bridge with my hailer. That includes where on the dock to attach the line...

Once we have agreement, and not before, the rest usually proceeds easily enough.

On a side tie-up, we usually pass the line we'll use as a forward spring, first. Once that's secured to pile or cleat on the dock (often the same pile or cleat we'll use for the bow line), we pull ourselves in tight to the dock and adjust length using engines, secure that line to a midships cleat on the boat... and we're basically docked. Add a bow line and a stern line at leisure...

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Old 05-08-2017, 01:48 PM   #15
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The dockhand is only going by what he knows works for the hundreds upon hundreds of boats he assists with. You know your boat, however Keep in mind he's caught more boats over a season than docks you've motored up too.
I seriously doubt it. Most experienced dock hands are not rudypoops.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:07 PM   #16
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Wifey B: Just keep in mind that the dock hand you're upset with for being overzealous in helping, just got told off by the dockmaster because someone had posted that the dock hand just stood there doing nothing until he yelled at him.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:09 PM   #17
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I seriously doubt it.
Most don't dock as many times in a single season as a typical dock hand catches boats??

I should have used 'Probably' as the qualifier to account for ferry boat, pump put boat, and tender operators.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:24 PM   #18
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We don't let them get a bow line. They get a mid ship line only.
Based on "where they put it" my first mate and I adjust.
Works for us.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:46 PM   #19
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We don't let them get a bow line. They get a mid ship line only.
Based on "where they put it" my first mate and I adjust.
Works for us.
My way also. Especially appropriate when single-handing. Easy to speak, not shout with dockhand from helm, and if I need to self-dock, the line is close at hand.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:46 PM   #20
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One of the hardest concepts to get across is "exactly where do you want me?".

Most of the time I can put it there, then they want to move me 20 feet, or the office telks you one thing and tbe dockhand is somewheres else.
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