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Old 05-29-2017, 06:14 PM   #1
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Get that stern line or all hell will break loose!

We choose to dock bow first.
My job is to grab the Stern line with the hook tie her off tight to the dock.
Allowing my Captain to bring the bow in
Then grab the bow line or spring line
We have a floating docks in our marina
Our slip requires us to tie up on our port side.
Well.... our boat is a 36' Aft Cabin Sea Ray.
The lines are laying on the dock about 4' from where I have to grab them.
Any suggestions as to how I can get the lines set up so they are easier to grab?
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:46 PM   #2
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At our home dock, the equivalent of a bow in slip, I point the bow to the inside of the dock, then bring the stern in to the dock first so that he crew (missus) can step off. Secure the stern line and then walk forward and secure the bow line before the springs, all of which she has prepared hanging from the hawser holes.

Never been an issue (though I do have a bow thuster).
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
At our home dock, the equivalent of a bow in slip, I point the bow to the inside of the dock, then bring the stern in to the dock first so that he crew (missus) can step off. Secure the stern line and then walk forward and secure the bow line before the springs, all of which she has prepared hanging from the hawser holes.

Never been an issue (though I do have a bow thuster).


Thank you for your reply.
She is new to us,this was my first time handling the lines alone.
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:34 PM   #4
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We have the same setup as you except our dock is fixed and not floating. I prefer to come in parellel about a foot or two off the dock and the admiral grabs the midship line from the dock and ties it off to the cleat in the boat. With this line in place the boat can't really go anywhere and we have time then to get the stern and lastly the bow lines on. If it is too far to reach down to get the line from the dock you may want to consider a temporary or permanent post the the line could hang from where you can pick it off with your boat hook. Just a couple thoughts, good luck.
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:36 PM   #5
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I would have one secured to the boat, midships, that I can toss over a cleat, then step off.

I've seen people fall in trying to step off a boat on to the dock due to a small wave, too far off the dock, or the captain moves the boat
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:51 PM   #6
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Our boat only has a helm on the bridge. Wife handles the bow line and I handle the stern line. Only problem was the time it takes me to climb down from the bridge and work my way past our dog who has to be first, the stern has blown away from the dock. Problem solved this winter with the addition of a stern thruster with a wireless remote. Now we get the bow line on and I work the stern to the dock, climb down and leasurely, if needed, thrust the stern to the dock. No more scrambling and risking falling down the ladder.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:42 PM   #7
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Gem, perhaps acquire a longer line?

We dock bow in as well, finger pier to starboard, pilings with 'safety' lines between 'em to port. Sue picks up the port stern line, which we've left on the piling, as we pass it. By that time, I've left the helm and picked up the starboard stern line and the spring which we've left coiled on its piling. She cleats both stern lines to the tape mark on the lines. I cleat the spring to its tape mark. She'll step off onto the finger and will be ready to toss me the bow lines after I've reached for the forward spring line, left on the finger pier and cleated it to its mark. I go forward and catch and cleat the bow lines and hand her the power cords which we normally leave coiled on the cabin top.

You'd think we'd had a power boat for more than the few months of last season.

Of course, when things go wrong it's fun for the dock lizards.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:57 PM   #8
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The captain should be able to place the boat such that the deck person can step off in a dignified manner and tie the spring line. Then if the boat is trying to leave the dock, just put it in forward and the spring pulls you along side. Then you can tie the rest of the lines. No leaping, jumping, shouting, panic. No injuries, no hurt pride, no hurt feelings, everybody is goodand the boat is secure.

Putting the stern line on first is a mistake because it leaves the boat unmaneuverable. Practice and have fun!
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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I suppose this question depends a lot on the configuration of the boat but we were taught this method early when we were learning and have stuck with it.
Last line off and first line on are almost always the aft leading spring from the midship bollard. The loop end goes on the bollard and the bitter end goes to the dock cleat. At the home dock the line is laying on the dock already secured at just the right length so we just scoop up the loop and drop it on the bollard. Away from home we need to get off to secure it.
With this on I can pin the boat to the dock and give her plenty of time to secure stern next, then the long bow line which springs back to the midship bollard after being secured to the dock cleat nearest the bow. (line from forward bollard, then to dock cleat, then back to midship bollard)

That serves as plan A but always talk about a plan B as we approach depending upon conditions.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Putting the stern line on first is a mistake because it leaves the boat unmaneuverable.
Not always. If you're going in bow first you need to stop forward way preferably without using the bow against the dock. If you're going into a short slip and a mid dock cleat is MIA then you'd better have the bow line in hand.

If you do have a cleat and if wind and current are at your stern in a single screw boat with prop walk and you're carrying a little too much way the aft spring will work if you're quick enough but sometimes a stern line is easier.

Every day is a little different, every slip a little different. I try to size things up before turning and try to give the mate a heads up that I might be coming in a little hot and she might want to step off early with just the spring line in hand.

If the wind is really up I will leave the helm as soon as she steps off to grab either the stern line or the bow line. Both lines are longer then the boat so I don't have to start a tug-of-war once I step off.

Our dock lines stay on the boat as we use them at fuel docks, harbormaster floats, pump out stations, etc. If I always came back to the same slip I'd probably macgyver something out of old stanchion poles, have the lines launch themselves as soon as ultrasound gadget detected appropriate proximity.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsbank View Post
The captain should be able to place the boat such that the deck person can step off in a dignified manner and tie the spring line. Then if the boat is trying to leave the dock, just put it in forward and the spring pulls you along side. Then you can tie the rest of the lines. No leaping, jumping, shouting, panic. No injuries, no hurt pride, no hurt feelings, everybody is goodand the boat is secure.

Putting the stern line on first is a mistake because it leaves the boat unmaneuverable. Practice and have fun!


I agree. I think relying on grabbing a line with a boat hook is a problem waiting to happen.

Two suggestions:
As Xsbank notes above, you should be able to get the boat close to the dock to allow the crew to safely step off the boat holding a line. I generally prefer a spring.

The other technique that we have started doing is to take a line with an eye that goes over a midship cleat and the other end has a very large loop. The one I use has an 8' splice loop. The large loop is tossed over a dock cleat (can never miss with that large a loop) and it is sized so that when the slack is taken up as the boat moves forward the boat is held in place next to the dock.

If this fails for some reason, then we move back to plan one.
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:45 AM   #12
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I am a stern line first guy a lot of the time too....


true it doesn't always work, but 90 percent or better for me.


I just find it easier to get a line on a cleat or pole from the stern of the boats I have run shorthanded.


If grabbing the line from a raised stern deck is an issue, how about a long whippy fiberglass rod with a hook on the top (like a garden plant stake) where you place the line leaving.


A lot of people have rigged that for their midship spring, should work in this case unless I misread something.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:13 AM   #13
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I disagree on the comment on not doing the stern line first.

My wife steps off right there by the aft dock cleat with stern line in hand. Once cleared I can do anything with the boat, especially with the thruster. Outside engine in idle brings the bow in, or thruster.

Outside engine in idle forward, inside engine in idle reverse straightens the boat out.

Again we have two advantages. The thruster and a 70,000 pound boat that takes a while to be impacted by wind or current.

This is at our home dock which is a fixed concrete dock, not a slip, so much more room to work with.

At marinas we always go stern in. Then the dock hand always takes the stern line first as they can take it at the beginning of the entry and walk it back.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:52 AM   #14
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No one steps off the boat until the spring line is looped over the Sampson post.
This line is fixed to the floating dock and the loop is set onto our dock steps when we leave the slip so it is easy to grab.
Actually all lines on the floating dock are fixed with the loops set to the correct length.
Once the spring is on I can easily keep the boat against the finger.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:02 AM   #15
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Spring line!!!

The most important docking line on a boat is the spring line. When coming in bow first get a spring line from a mid cleat on the boat aft to the dock. Once this is secured, all you have to do is put the boat in forward gear, idle speed & the boat will lay alongside the dock, giving you all the time you need to get the rest of the lines secured. The aft spring will keep you from crashing into anything forward. No jumping off the boat. We have a fixed dock & have our lines hanging on hooks on the piling on the dock. The mate forward can grab the aft spring, walk aft to place it on the mid ship cleat, & then has plenty of time to secure the rest. Whenever we go to a marina with dock hands, we NEVER toss them a bow line, only the aft spring. After a little time (sometimes longer) instructing them where to secure it, we give them the rest.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:08 AM   #16
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Thank you so much for all this great advise!
We have zero pilings on the side we have to tie up. I'll ask our dock master about installing some kind of hook to put the line on.
I like the spring line idea.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
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The lines are laying on the dock about 4' from where I have to grab them.
Any suggestions as to how I can get the lines set up so they are easier to grab?

Some guys on our dock have fashioned a line holder somewhat similar to a mooring whip. I've seen them use old antennas, or a concoction of PVC or iron pipe... Or you can actually buy mooring whips.

The line can be hung from that, maybe more accessible than trying to reach line laying on the dock. Line is more accessible partly because it's raised, so easier to get a boat hook on it, and partly because it can be closer to where you are on the boat.

If you use commercial mooring whips, they may actually be useful to hold your boat off the floating dock, too... if that's something that would help.

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Old 05-30-2017, 07:26 AM   #18
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Lots of different scenarios, boats, captains, available cleats, etc...


There is no "most important" anything other than experience and a reasonable docking plan...beyond that...lots of ways to do it and often more than one trick is needed to safely and elegantly moor.


But never become locked into just one approach and line setup....unless it works 100% of the time....learn different ways.


You never know what might work better or come in handy.
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:59 AM   #19
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Spring lines are your friend.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:37 AM   #20
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True about various ways to dock but the worst thing i see, continuously and repeatedly, is people jumping for the dock. For heaven's sake, why risk maiming your crew (or worse) to protect a boat? If you can't put the boat against the dock to keep your crew safe, you need to fix that!
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