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Old 06-19-2012, 04:27 PM   #1
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Dock Question

I have always been on a dock cleat with a dock that was permanent and also floating docks.
This will be the first time I will be on a dock with riser bars and rings.
I noticed most people had made an eye splice and kind of pulled it through itself to lock it on to the ring and wrapped the other end around the cleat on th boat. The when they go out, they just throw the line. Some has an eyesplice with a spring hook on it.
I will always want to just throw the lines from the boat with the fixed end on the riser ring - some way or another. I will be using 5/8" 3 strand twisted nylon. I have had good results with making eye splices on both ends and went through several hurricanes that way and never suffered any hull damage as a result.
Do any of you use riser rods and rings and if so, how do you tie your boat up?
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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Tony,
I note that you work offshore off of La.
A tug boat skipper taught me how to moor a boat decades ago when he saw me do it backwards and unsafely.
Here is an article that I wrote for and was published in PASSAGEMAKER I think that it will answer your questions.
For starters, watch how the next boat ties to the platform that you are on, the EYE will be on the platform and the bitter end on the boat.

Method of Tying Boats to a Dock

Submitted by: Charles C. Culotta, Jr.


On a recent multi thousand-mile trip up the Tombigbee and Tennessee River System, we found virtually every boat tied with the "eye" of the dock lines on the boat and the bitter end on the dock. This results in the dock being tied firmly to the boat! By the way, we see a lot of this on the coasts but not as much as we saw on the rivers, where it seems to be universal. I hasten to add that I learned the same way.
Having acquired my first large boat in the oil patch I was quickly "corrected" by a commercial boat captain. I then began to take cognizance of how shrimp boats and the professionals tie up oilfield boats. In trying to discern exactly why so many boaters do this, I came to the conclusion (quite possibly erroneously) that it is probably a hold over from starting to boat on small boats, i.e. runabouts and skiffs that have the dock lines made-up to the boat. Upon graduating to "yachts" this habit transfers. So, what difference does it make, you ask?

TYING THE DOCK TO THE BOAT
The boater approaches the dock and hopes to find someone to whom he may throw the lines. This person, who knows nothing about how YOU intend to dock, makes a decision with which YOU must live. Think about it, this person whom you have never met, has control of your boat! You are at the helm saying things like " NO, not that piling, take up slack, no, that is too much, etc." This is happening while you try not to hit the boat in front or the finger pier or whatever. Add to this scenario, strong current, adverse wind and rain ---- Are we having fun yet? Secondly, if there is no one around, then someone must JUMP off the (still moving and definitely not secured) boat to tie the line to a piling or cleat. This is just plain dangerous when all conditions are perfect but add ice, current, wind, slippery decks, whatever, the likelihood of injury goes up exponentially.

TYING THE BOAT TO THE DOCK
The boater approaches the dock with all lines ready. Each line is set through the hawse or laid near the cleat with the eye ready to be placed over the dock cleat or piling. The boater may throw the eye to someone on the dock for it to be placed on the cleat or piling of the BOATERS CHOICE or the deckhand drops the line over the cleat or piling. Right here is where this system shines. The boater has TOTAL CONTROL of how much slack is left in the line(s). This enables the boater to use a spring line to pull the boat along side without a lot of shouted orders and miscues, for your deck hand has ALREADY been apprized of YOUR INTENTIONS. The deckhand KNOWS how much slack you need to swing in or you can tell the deckhand in a speaking and not loud voice to adjust the lines and you KNOW that it will be done because you have practiced this and reviewed it before starting this docking maneuver. In the event you are pulling into a slip, you, again, have TOTAL CONTROL of your boat. Once the boat is in the slip YOU may adjust the lines to your satisfaction without trying to convey your wishes to a stranger and without getting off of the boat. Adjusting the lines without leaving the boat is especially helpful when, at two a.m., a sudden storm comes up, you don’t have to GET OFF the boat in the wind and rain to adjust the lines.
Again, getting off the boat in a strange place in the dark is dangerous and an invitation to injury. Not to mention that if you have a sundeck style or some other type with a really high freeboard, then we are talking about a gymnastic feat.
Once we watched a couple dock a large flush-deck yacht. He was at the wheel and as the boat came alongside she climbed down the 6 ft. high ladder from the back deck to the swim platform, ducked under the suspended dinghy and then got off while the boat was still moving. Of course she was out of his sight line doing all of this. Then before the boat was made up HE ALSO GOT OFF!!! I am well aware that in the Pacific NW most docks do not have cleats and one must get off to tie to the horizontal timber but to me, that is the clear exception.
In order to ease getting the dock line over the cleat or piling we have spliced FOUR FOOT DIAMETER eyes in all of our lines. The way I learned this trick was, again, from a commercial boat captain who saw me trying to lasso a piling a la Will Rogers. He tactfully explained to me that this does not work because cowboy ropes are very STIFF and will hold a circle, our soft dock lines simply will not. In addition, my wife Pat and I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. We certainly don’t decline assistance in docking but we have found this method far superior to being dependent on help. This applies to leaving a dock as well. Since we control the lines from the boat it is very easy (with the four foot eyes) to pop the eye of the dock line from a piling or cleat when getting underway thus not requiring shore side assistance. Comes in real handy when leaving very early in the morning with current or wind working against you and no one is around to help.
Another option for ease in leaving a dock is to place the eye on board and run the line around the piling and back to the boat so that you are able to slip the line quickly and pull away. In this same vein, it is not good practice to use one line from the boat to two points on the dock and back to the boat or the converse. Doing so makes it difficult to adjust the line(s) and to leave the dock.

From the school of Hard Knocks:

I often mention that I have been boating so long that I have made just about every mistake---at least once! Particularly docking. From that vast reservoir we rely on the following:

1) Two way radio earphones with a built in voice operated mike. The "mouse ear" type available at large toy stores. This leaves BOTH hands free while docking and enables instant communication between the helm and the deckhand. The cost is about $20 per pair.
2) The aforementioned four-foot eyes in the dock lines.
3) What we call a GLOP-D.
Picture this:
A standard telescoping boat hook. Extend only the outer length. This should be about 2.5 ft. long. That is between the end and the first extension point. Get two stainless steel hose clamps that are long enough to be tightened on the pole but, and this is the important part, leave about 3 inches of the clamp free. One is placed near the end of the pole just short of the end fitting, and the other just before the extension joint. This provides two "hooks" onto which your dock line eye is placed. The two clamps will be about 2.5 ft. apart as stated. I then used yellow electrical tape on the "hook" part of the clamps to give it visibility and a smooth finish. In the event that the deckhand prefers to place the eye as opposed to throwing it, this is a terrific little aid.
GLOP-D? Get Line Over Piling Device
As the commercial says, "try it, you'll like it."

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Old 06-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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Tony,
I note that you work offshore off of La.
A tug boat skipper taught me how to moor a boat decades ago when he saw me do it backwards and unsafely.
Here is an article that I wrote for and was published in PASSAGEMAKER I think that it will answer your questions.
For starters, watch how the next boat ties to the platform that you are on, the EYE will be on the platform and the bitter end on the boat.

Method of Tying Boats to a Dock

Submitted by: Charles C. Culotta, Jr.


On a recent multi thousand-mile trip up the Tombigbee and Tennessee River System, we found virtually every boat tied with the "eye" of the dock lines on the boat and the bitter end on the dock. This results in the dock being tied firmly to the boat! By the way, we see a lot of this on the coasts but not as much as we saw on the rivers, where it seems to be universal. I hasten to add that I learned the same way.
Having acquired my first large boat in the oil patch I was quickly "corrected" by a commercial boat captain. I then began to take cognizance of how shrimp boats and the professionals tie up oilfield boats. In trying to discern exactly why so many boaters do this, I came to the conclusion (quite possibly erroneously) that it is probably a hold over from starting to boat on small boats, i.e. runabouts and skiffs that have the dock lines made-up to the boat. Upon graduating to "yachts" this habit transfers. So, what difference does it make, you ask?

TYING THE DOCK TO THE BOAT
The boater approaches the dock and hopes to find someone to whom he may throw the lines. This person, who knows nothing about how YOU intend to dock, makes a decision with which YOU must live. Think about it, this person whom you have never met, has control of your boat! You are at the helm saying things like " NO, not that piling, take up slack, no, that is too much, etc." This is happening while you try not to hit the boat in front or the finger pier or whatever. Add to this scenario, strong current, adverse wind and rain ---- Are we having fun yet? Secondly, if there is no one around, then someone must JUMP off the (still moving and definitely not secured) boat to tie the line to a piling or cleat. This is just plain dangerous when all conditions are perfect but add ice, current, wind, slippery decks, whatever, the likelihood of injury goes up exponentially.

TYING THE BOAT TO THE DOCK
The boater approaches the dock with all lines ready. Each line is set through the hawse or laid near the cleat with the eye ready to be placed over the dock cleat or piling. The boater may throw the eye to someone on the dock for it to be placed on the cleat or piling of the BOATERS CHOICE or the deckhand drops the line over the cleat or piling. Right here is where this system shines. The boater has TOTAL CONTROL of how much slack is left in the line(s). This enables the boater to use a spring line to pull the boat along side without a lot of shouted orders and miscues, for your deck hand has ALREADY been apprized of YOUR INTENTIONS. The deckhand KNOWS how much slack you need to swing in or you can tell the deckhand in a speaking and not loud voice to adjust the lines and you KNOW that it will be done because you have practiced this and reviewed it before starting this docking maneuver. In the event you are pulling into a slip, you, again, have TOTAL CONTROL of your boat. Once the boat is in the slip YOU may adjust the lines to your satisfaction without trying to convey your wishes to a stranger and without getting off of the boat. Adjusting the lines without leaving the boat is especially helpful when, at two a.m., a sudden storm comes up, you donít have to GET OFF the boat in the wind and rain to adjust the lines.
Again, getting off the boat in a strange place in the dark is dangerous and an invitation to injury. Not to mention that if you have a sundeck style or some other type with a really high freeboard, then we are talking about a gymnastic feat.
Once we watched a couple dock a large flush-deck yacht. He was at the wheel and as the boat came alongside she climbed down the 6 ft. high ladder from the back deck to the swim platform, ducked under the suspended dinghy and then got off while the boat was still moving. Of course she was out of his sight line doing all of this. Then before the boat was made up HE ALSO GOT OFF!!! I am well aware that in the Pacific NW most docks do not have cleats and one must get off to tie to the horizontal timber but to me, that is the clear exception.
In order to ease getting the dock line over the cleat or piling we have spliced FOUR FOOT DIAMETER eyes in all of our lines. The way I learned this trick was, again, from a commercial boat captain who saw me trying to lasso a piling a la Will Rogers. He tactfully explained to me that this does not work because cowboy ropes are very STIFF and will hold a circle, our soft dock lines simply will not. In addition, my wife Pat and I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. We certainly donít decline assistance in docking but we have found this method far superior to being dependent on help. This applies to leaving a dock as well. Since we control the lines from the boat it is very easy (with the four foot eyes) to pop the eye of the dock line from a piling or cleat when getting underway thus not requiring shore side assistance. Comes in real handy when leaving very early in the morning with current or wind working against you and no one is around to help.
Another option for ease in leaving a dock is to place the eye on board and run the line around the piling and back to the boat so that you are able to slip the line quickly and pull away. In this same vein, it is not good practice to use one line from the boat to two points on the dock and back to the boat or the converse. Doing so makes it difficult to adjust the line(s) and to leave the dock.

From the school of Hard Knocks:

I often mention that I have been boating so long that I have made just about every mistake---at least once! Particularly docking. From that vast reservoir we rely on the following:

1) Two way radio earphones with a built in voice operated mike. The "mouse ear" type available at large toy stores. This leaves BOTH hands free while docking and enables instant communication between the helm and the deckhand. The cost is about $20 per pair.
2) The aforementioned four-foot eyes in the dock lines.
3) What we call a GLOP-D.
Picture this:
A standard telescoping boat hook. Extend only the outer length. This should be about 2.5 ft. long. That is between the end and the first extension point. Get two stainless steel hose clamps that are long enough to be tightened on the pole but, and this is the important part, leave about 3 inches of the clamp free. One is placed near the end of the pole just short of the end fitting, and the other just before the extension joint. This provides two "hooks" onto which your dock line eye is placed. The two clamps will be about 2.5 ft. apart as stated. I then used yellow electrical tape on the "hook" part of the clamps to give it visibility and a smooth finish. In the event that the deckhand prefers to place the eye as opposed to throwing it, this is a terrific little aid.
GLOP-D? Get Line Over Piling Device
As the commercial says, "try it, you'll like it."

Great article! Great advice!

Like many here I've docked plenty of times, but I'll admit I never thought of that.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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Probably comes from lassoing (sp) the dock, rig or what ever. Most places I've been to don't have people on the other side of the rope. You take the eye and loop the line though it and lasso the dock.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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When we travel, I always tie the boat to the dock and always have my lines displayed so that I see and decide which line to throw. I also have my 'throwing' eyes fairly large, almost comical. This allows me to catch a small dock cleat when single handed and no one on the dock. Works great for me.
My reference to using eyes on both ends of a line is strictly for my permanent dock. I dont always have a 'deckhand'. I go out alone quite often and when I leave the dock, I throw the boat ends onto the dock so I can pick them up when I return. I know which line goes on which cleat and I can dock by myself very quickly and very easily. With only springlines attached first there is plenty of slack. I pull my boat up to the dock fairly snug with breast lines.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Tony B;91231]I have always been on a dock cleat with a dock that was permanent and also floating docks.
This will be the first time I will be on a dock with riser bars and rings.
I noticed most people had made an eye splice and kind of pulled it through itself to lock it on to the ring and wrapped the other end around the cleat on th boat. The when they go out, they just throw the line. Some has an eyesplice with a spring hook on it.
I will always want to just throw the lines from the boat with the fixed end on the riser ring - some way or another. I will be using 5/8" 3 strand twisted nylon. I have had good results with making eye splices on both ends and went through several hurricanes that way and never suffered any hull damage as a result.
Do any of you

I often just use 2 half hitches around the ring...easier to get on/off/adjust.

One thing that is important is that your line pulls the ring away from the piling....if it pulls back towrds the piling..the ring can get hung up at the bottom of the bar at low tide. On small boats, that situation sinks hundreds every year and on big boats it may pull the piling out or at least do some hardware damage.

Docking at your home dock can be completely different than how you do it on the road. But one thing I will say...using loops at either end can be an issue...just be able to get either end off quickly or be ready to cut quickly...with the price of line...I'd always rather untie than cut.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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I started using lines with 4' eyes on Charles's advice years ago. They are very convenient, easy to toss over a cleat or piling and easy to pop off off when departing, they will not tighten up on pilings like a line through a loop "lasso" will.
I recommend trying it.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
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I started using lines with 4' eyes on Charles's advice years ago. They are very convenient, easy to toss over a cleat or piling and easy to pop off off when departing, they will not tighten up on pilings like a line through a loop "lasso" will.
I recommend trying it.
Steve W
no...no they won't tighten up...but sometimes that's a problem in places with slip pilings with no nails (etc) as they will fall to their lowest point and may get hung up...so back to plan b.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:14 PM   #9
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I started using lines with 4' eyes on Charles's advice years ago. They are very convenient, easy to toss over a cleat or piling and easy to pop off off when departing, they will not tighten up on pilings like a line through a loop "lasso" will.
I recommend trying it.
Steve W
It is not practical to tie a ship to the dock using a cleat or to shorten/lengthen the line attached at the dock end. It's only practical to place a loop over a bollard and to winch in/out the lines from the ship. That doesn't apply for our smallish boats.

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Old 06-20-2012, 11:45 PM   #10
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Shur Hold the brush people sell a product that sounds like it works like Charle's GLOP-D.
It's called the Dock A Reni: Dock A Reni | Shurhold
It was invented by a nice lady named Reni who started selling it at boat shows herself but I think Shur Hold bought it from her.
I bet most of you know this trick but just in case someone doesn't I'll try to explain it. When you need to put two lines with loops in the ends on the same piling, drop the first loop over the piling. Then feed the second loop up through the first loop and drop the second loop over the piling. By doing this instead of just dropping the second loop over the first, you can remove either loop without removing the other.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:56 AM   #11
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It is not practical to tie a ship to the dock using a cleat or to shorten/lengthen the line attached at the dock end. It's only practical to place a loop over a bollard and to winch in/out the lines from the ship. That doesn't apply for our smallish boats.

Plus it's like I said...ships don't come back to the same slip all the time, they carry their mooring lines 100% of the time.

Where I am from...many cruisers have permanent lines in their slip and a set of dock lines they cruise with.

Again...if they cruise more than sit at the dock...then having just a cruising set with 4 foot loops is a good idea....or as I have in the past...just use lines with no loops and if you need one...that's what bowlines are for...
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:25 AM   #12
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A couple of things:
The dock pic does not apply in this discussion, I SPECIFICALLY stated in my article and evertime I have given a presentation on this subject to boat groups that floating docks with bull rails do not lend themselves to using a loop.

Using a bowlin in the line terribly UNBALANCES the eye and does not keep the eye open to get over the piling. As I often say, with my wife's approval, even she can get the loop over a piling at some distance. (She quit using the Glop-D years ago!)

About the eye sliding down a piling, yes, on occasion that will occur but and this is a big but, since it is a "real eye" and not a slip knot one can merely work it up the piling. If it were a slip knot, aint happening.

At my home slip the lines are made up to the dock and stay in place.

Last and probably most important, utlizing this process one MAINTAINS CONTROL OF ONE'S BOAT.

Most boats under 30 feet would be candidates for this docking procedure, again I did NOT invent this, it was taught to me by a professional mariner.

In closing, here is a rhetorical question, Why would anyone want to turn over control of his boat to an unknown person when docking?

CCC
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:34 AM   #13
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In closing, here is a rhetorical question, Why would anyone want to turn over control of his boat to an unknown person when docking?

CCC
This is the best advice, no matter how you do it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:52 AM   #14
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A couple of things:
The dock pic does not apply in this discussion, I SPECIFICALLY stated in my article and evertime I have given a presentation on this subject to boat groups that floating docks with bull rails do not lend themselves to using a loop.

Using a bowlin in the line terribly UNBALANCES the eye and does not keep the eye open to get over the piling. As I often say, with my wife's approval, even she can get the loop over a piling at some distance. (She quit using the Glop-D years ago!)

About the eye sliding down a piling, yes, on occasion that will occur but and this is a big but, since it is a "real eye" and not a slip knot one can merely work it up the piling. If it were a slip knot, aint happening.

At my home slip the lines are made up to the dock and stay in place.

Last and probably most important, utlizing this process one MAINTAINS CONTROL OF ONE'S BOAT.

Most boats under 30 feet would be candidates for this docking procedure, again I did NOT invent this, it was taught to me by a professional mariner.

In closing, here is a rhetorical question, Why would anyone want to turn over control of his boat to an unknown person when docking?

CCC
it's ONE way to dock a boat...but certainly NOT the only way.

for the most part it's a good idea and will work most of the time and a good system to implement for anyone but experienced deck hands...especially while cruising but again less of a big deal when a boater returns to their own slip all the time and doesn't "rely on extra hands".

and a bowline is not all that different..believe me I use them all the time in the assistance towing salvage work I do. A plain old line with whipped ends is still the most versatile if you can tie decent knots.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:56 AM   #15
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..........Why would anyone want to turn over control of his boat to an unknown person when docking?

CCC
I know this is a rhetorical question but I feel compelled to answer....To grab another beer!!!.

I use all of the practices you mentioned in your first post. That is the way we did it when I was a crew boat captain.
On pleasure craft, I now get a very strange look when throwing a 4' loop over a small cleat on a dock. After I catch the cleat, people look in awe. My original post was meant for my permanent slip. Where I like the eyes on my boat cleats. When I pull into a slip, All I need to do is use my boat hook to grab the mid-ship spring line and drop the eye on my mid-ship cleat. Put both engines in 'clutch' and leave the wheel centered. The boat will lay itself tightly against the dock . I can then drop the rest of the eyes on their respective cleats.
The only lines that I actually wrap on the cleats are my breast lines.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:13 AM   #16
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.........I often just use 2 half hitches around the ring...easier to get on/off/adjust.....
After wrestling with the new dock lines yesterday with a strong crosswind, today I am going to change the dock end of the lines on the rings to the 2 half hitches.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:54 AM   #17
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After wrestling with the new dock lines yesterday with a strong crosswind, today I am going to change the dock end of the lines on the rings to the 2 half hitches.
Actually I use 3 or more to take up the extra bitter end and for that little bit of added security. You can also take an extra turn around the ring to keep the half hitches from getting too tight.

If you want to get real fancy and nautical...a fishermens bend is perfect too to help reduce chafe at the ring...
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by charles View Post
.................In closing, here is a rhetorical question, Why would anyone want to turn over control of his boat to an unknown person when docking?
Because you are still at the helm and operating the boat. We often don't have much of a choice. We can still tell the person or peoplwe what to do with the lines. If I had a crew member standing by to handle each line it might work the other way. I don't. I have my wife to toss a stern line and I can toss a bow or spring line from the flybridge.

As long as the boat gets tied to the dock where I can get off, I can re-tie it to my satisfaction.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles View Post
A couple of things:
The dock pic does not apply in this discussion, I SPECIFICALLY stated in my article and evertime I have given a presentation on this subject to boat groups that floating docks with bull rails do not lend themselves to using a loop.
Charles, this thread isn't about you. It's about docking. The photo shows how a ship ties up to a dock. The ship uses loops at the end of the lines which are placed over bollards. That's roughly equivalent to boats placing the loop end of a line over a cleat on the dock.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:24 PM   #20
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I would hope that it is about docking as that is what I thought was the subject and I gave my opinion that is all.
I dont see a pic of a ship? But that is exactly my point. Ships and commercial vessels tie the way they do for myriad reasons, not the least of which is maintianing control of the docking.
As always YMMV
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