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Old 06-02-2014, 12:40 PM   #1
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Using a strap for your first dock line

I was wondering how many people use a strap (a fixed length dock line with eyes at each end) as their first line when docking? I tend to have a lot of different people on my boat and it helps to take the guess work out of tying up for these guests. I mark the cleat where it goes and they just step off the boat and put the eye on that cleat. Then I can work into that fixed line and I know I won't turn my swim platform into toothpicks. Once I'm flat in my slip, the other lines are easy. Of coarse it only works for slips that you have pre measured the strap for but all and all it works great. It does require splicing eyes so I use a heavy three strand.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
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We use a similar system at our home dock.

Pre-spliced loop around the piles, "custom measured" loop (from a bowline) on the boat side. No additional splicing required, and it also lets me change the length when we load the dingy after the early fishing season and therefore need to ride further outward in the slip.

Forward spring line custom loop on forward midship cleat, aft spring line custom loop on after midship cleat, we're docked, everything else is just clean-up.

Actually, when I have crew, he/she/they usually do the two forward springs and the two bow lines while I control the boat, then they do the aft springs on the way back to the cockpit.

When it's just me, I can come down from the bridge and do a forward spring -- but this time from a mid pile to a cockpit cleat -- to check reverse movement, and then put the rest of the lines on a leisurely pace.

FWIW, we also use different colors for spring lines relative to bow and stern lines. That way, if visiting "crew" is really a lubber, I can also say things like "put the white line..." and so forth.

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Old 06-02-2014, 01:29 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great idea for your home slip.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:37 PM   #4
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I'm the pre-measured lines type for any boat that usually docks in the same place....

....but I'm the other way with my trawler when travelling. Because every new marina and situation is usually different...I don't want me or my crew to have a "go to" system. I may be lulled into a false sense of confidence that it will work instead of thinking through the best option.

I see it all the time with the local fuel dock, transient boaters, etc....they all have a preconceived notion that something will work...and when it doesn't, sometimes they keep trying it till something bad happens instead of backing off and thinking it through.

I'd rather start that way...true it takes experience and knowing your boat....but it is ultimately the goal as I see it.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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I leave my home dock lines on the dock. I have the lines with their eyes where I want them. Just pull up and slip the lines onto the cleats... I carry "away" lines on board...
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:42 PM   #6
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At my home dock the stern and spring lines are pre-measured with spliced eyes to make them easy to drop on the appropriate cleat with little thought. The bow lines are left long and loose to make them easier to grab and use when performing the docking ballet.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:20 PM   #7
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I leave my home dock lines on the dock. I have the lines with their eyes where I want them. Just pull up and slip the lines onto the cleats... I carry "away" lines on board...
Me to, works great, the KISS system!
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:22 PM   #8
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I leave my home dock lines on the dock. I have the lines with their eyes where I want them. Just pull up and slip the lines onto the cleats... I carry "away" lines on board...
yup,me too!
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:27 PM   #9
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When we converted to coming back to a "home dock" all the time, I had the spring line cleated with the eye to be thrown to shore. Had lines made up with a bigger than typical eye.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:45 PM   #10
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Not only are dock lines pre set and stay on dock I also have a full set of padded bumpers on home dock. I single hand a 50 footer and this system makes it easy. For my single handed 33 foot sail boat all pre set lines on dock and dock bumpers and one landing line set in large loop from mid ship to stern that i use to stop and control boat when I step off(typical long line boat yard hand technique).
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:24 PM   #11
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I use one shorter mid-ship line when docking by myself. I can reach out the pilothouse doors and put it on a dock cleat then tie the boat snug against the dock. From there I can fix the bow, stern, springs etc.

Because I solo, I do not use eyes on the pier. One loop on a cleat or the samson post, around the piling and then back to a second cleat. I learned to do it this way so that if a problem came up I can leave without leaving behind my lines.

It is nice to be able to get underway at my pleasure, without help from a dock neophyte. If I control both ends, I can do so.

My dock lines are old halyards (nice braided stuff, so has a good hand) however excluding this last little bit while the engine swap was underway, I anchor. A spliced loop is nice to have but a bowline tied in the end works too.

And by tying at mid-ship I can control both end of the boat. Can't mess up. (knock teak)
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:50 PM   #12
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I splice my own loops and end splices on ALL my rope. I HATE loose rope ends. Then I use heat shrink over the splices. Makes a nice clean end. And if I need to make a long rope to pull some find home, I can use the loops for secure connections and easy disassembly.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:22 PM   #13
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I also leave lines with eyes on both ends on my home dock.

I carry six "away" lines with a large spliced eye in one end. All six lines are the same length, about as long as my boat. When I grab a line, I know it's long enough.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:40 PM   #14
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My docking lines remain with the boat. They don't belong to the marina, and I'll need them at the next marina.

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Old 06-03-2014, 03:27 PM   #15
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I leave my home dock lines on the dock. I have the lines with their eyes where I want them. Just pull up and slip the lines onto the cleats... I carry "away" lines on board...
That's what I normally do but a couple years ago we we went away for a month and someone removed my lines and left them lying on the dock. Luckily a friend found them and put them in a safe place for us.

This time I took them off and stored them safely.

As you travel, you'll normally encounter different docking situations. Floating docks, fixed docks with pilings, sea walls, etc. Each situation is different so it's best to be prepared and analyze the situation first.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:45 PM   #16
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Mark: Is that you paddling off to the next marina?
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:12 PM   #17
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Mark: Is that you paddling off to the next marina?
It's me taking out the Trinka for the first time. Just fiddled in the Petaluma Turning Basin. It had been over fifty years since I propelled a boat with oars. I was sloppy.
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