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Old 22-04-2009, 17:51   #16
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Our marina is quite small with a narrow fairway and invariably adverse winds that can make mooring a challange, particularly for first time visitors. Despite the foregoing, our yacht club always offers available slips to visitors even if there is space on the easily approached "long dock", and they invariably always ask for the slip. Given that there are only 50 boats in the "basin" we always know when a stranger is comming in. For my part, I always call out "Need a hand?" to a visitor. With a "Yes thank you" we bear a hand. Without, we continue as we were, albeit with an eye on the visitor, just in case (I don't have the stomach to let someone bash up his/her boat, or potentially one of ours, by simply standing by watching someone blow down to leeward). About half the time the refusers need help and those that accept help turn out not to need it!

FWIW...

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Old 27-04-2009, 13:48   #17
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1st time with my boat (first time underway , sail or power), and I was motoring into the marina (fingerpiers along a river that feeds the lake). Boat has a 9.9 hp outboard and I am going slow. Was hoping my partner would be at the dock already, but she was not. I see nobody around. I come into my slip as slow as possible and when I am about 3 feet away, a guy comes out of nowhere and fends off the bow and grabs the bowline and ties it off for me. I asked where he came from and he explained that he was driving by and saw me coming in. He did not know me, only that I must be the new boat (his new neighbor) and felt like lending a hand. All was well and I was very happy to have the assistance. It is funny, I am most likely the only US boat in my marina (I am near the NY/Quebec border) and all the Canadians speak french, yet I do not speak any of it! so I have had folks help me several times, and I have helped them as well, but nobody I know of has ever not offered to help if they were around. Even had a blonde in a tiny bikini try to help me once. That was fun!
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Old 27-04-2009, 14:03   #18
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That's their problem if they are offended by someone offering help. The skipper needs an ego check and the Dale Carnegie Course in how to Win Friends and Influence People.
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Old 27-04-2009, 14:04   #19
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Our pier is 1500ft. long, and about 10ft. off the normal water. I always walk down the dock when a boat of any size comes in, and some are well over 100ft. I ask if they want me to take a line, and if so where to place it? I know I am always grateful when someone lends a hand. I always know what I want, and where when docking. I didn't type I was alwats right......lolololol, but I do come into the dock with a plan in mind.

I stop about 30ft. from the dock paralell to my slip, and wait for the boat's reaction. After that I share my thoughts, and series of events as I see them in my mind with my crew. Most times it just being my wife. All 4ft 9in & 100lbs of her......i2f
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Old 27-04-2009, 16:26   #20
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Maybe I'm an old fart. But offering a hand was the norm. and appreciated.

Yes , I guess there are some stupid people. But I've found the operators often times are the problem not the help. Snubbing off a line doesn't take much smarts. Most of the help offered normally have a boat at the dock.

I've never gave it any thought. Offer the worst that can happen is someone says no. The best is you have helped someone. You might even make a friend.

















tthe best is you have help someone.
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Old 27-04-2009, 19:57   #21
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Remember, if 2% of the worlds population are a-holes, then 2% of the sailing population is probably the same. (Maybe not. Sailors probably bring down the average a bit) Anyway, remember that the other 98% are decent, kind people, when you run across these "two percenters" and they attempt to ruin your day.

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Old 27-04-2009, 20:21   #22
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If you get a good offer it usually matters. While some help is not always better than none, it's not to say that poor help with a good introduction won't buy you some local knowledge. Seeing beyond the docking maneuver is often more important. You may not need a hand but you might like a good bit of information, favor or ride to town. If you can come in and not need any help then you usually can deal with the help you get. Since you are the one throwing the line it's best to never throw a line unless you know where it's going.

Catching a line is it's own challenge as well. You don't know where the skipper or crew will go or if your effort to snub the boat will be wasted as they fail to react. Mind reading is a great skill when docking with strangers.

Maybe the only thing worse is getting off a T head when the wind is blowing you in. The davits and bow sprit suddenly become longer than the rest boat. Undocking is not always easy either. That help is harder to come buy.
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Old 27-04-2009, 21:29   #23
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Former Dockmaster's Spin

Having been a dockmaster, it is ALWAYS best to offer help verbally (usually by VHF long before docking. Any Captain worth his salt will pre-announce his impending arrival) before leaning out over a piling with your hand out. While your heart may be in the right place, too many bad things can happen. Especially in adverse wind/current conditions. Liability always lies with the Captain of the docking vessel and by offering help verbally first, you relieve yourself from any negative consequences related to a bad docking experience. Remember, if you are docked there, you now have to live with this individual and in all likelihood see him/her every day for the length of your stay or theirs, depending on who leaves first. So in a nutshell, feel free to offer help prior to the docking procedure to those who may need it, but make sure the Captan understands that it is him/her who bears ultimate responsibility for what may result should they accept your offer.
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Old 27-04-2009, 21:32   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John P View Post
Even had a blonde in a tiny bikini try to help me once. That was fun!
Hmmm, I need a new marina....
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Old 27-04-2009, 21:44   #25
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Quick Follow Up

How many of you have experienced this:

You offer to help an incoming vessel and a "deckhand" on the bow launches a long rode to you when they are within 20 yards of the dock. The "deckhand" yells back to the helmsman "He's got it!" and the Captain (usually 6-8 sundowners in to the evening) shuts it down figuring his job is done. With even a decent wind blowing, it's impossible to communicate to the crew that you are not Superman and you cannot drag him in. It is YOU that are now in control of what may or may not happen. And when you realize that your choice is to launch the rode back or be pulled off the dock, the rode now lays in the water, subject to prop wrap. Be a good samaritan and offer "low-risk assiatance", but realize that in the wrong conditions, you can do more harm than good.
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Old 27-04-2009, 23:24   #26
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Gists from this thread include:
[1] No obligation exists, but polite, timely requests should be respected;
[2] If you depend on the other bugger, you will occasionally get buggered;
[3] Offer help, when help seems helpful, but seek clear direction on what is needed;
[4] When seeking or accepting help, we should say politely what we want to happen.

May be worth adding a couple of points from my time on the lifeboats:
[5] Try to say what you want before you want it; repeat it when you want it;
[6] When appropriate, pass a line with a bowline to loop over cleats/poles/etc. You can then point to what you want the loop around, and control when to take up tension and adjust the lines from the deck;
[7] The best laid plans go awry - so do your best without shouting / raising tensions;
[8] Don't be offended by shouting at tense moments - its about the moment not you.
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Old 28-04-2009, 00:00   #27
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Quote:
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With even a decent wind blowing, it's impossible to communicate to the crew that you are not Superman and you cannot drag him in. It is YOU that are now in control of what may or may not happen. And when you realize that your choice is to launch the rode back or be pulled off the dock, the rode now lays in the water, subject to prop wrap.
If there is enough line I'd take a turn on the dock cleat and let them haul their end. If not I'd toss my end back.

Quote:
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Be a good samaritan and offer "low-risk assiatance", but realize that in the wrong conditions, you can do more harm than good.
Advice for Skippers - practice docking. Too many I see come in too fast and out of control.

Advice for dockhands - Offer verbally, assist as professionally as you can. If you don't know what you are doing say so, so that the skipper knows what he is dealing with.

As for Hud's guy that fell in the water, too funny. I bet he won't make that mistake again. I can't count the number of times I have hauled a line and had "less" resistance than planned. I usually just end up with bruises on my heinie...
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Old 28-04-2009, 01:50   #28
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The idea of just throwing a line to a stranger and expecting it to be cleated off correctly is making a somehat risky assumption that that person offering help can actually do this. As the skipper, I would make the decision of whether assistance would be helpful in advance, and if so prepare the lines with loops which any non-mariner can successfully place over a cleat. Experienced dockhands will ignore the loop and cleat off the line as it should be set.

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Old 28-04-2009, 06:32   #29
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Regarding the cleating off of the line. I would always assume that a skipper would come back and retie the boat after all is at rest. Then again, I have seen boats come loose in a light breeze when the skipper "assumed" that someone had tied him off properly. It's your boat, your should verify that it is tied properly.

Oh, and a dockhand helping out should not be offended if his work was redone, actually, he should expect it.

I recall as a kid my dads best friend would come to our cottage in his 24' cabin cruiser and I would always run out and help him secure the boat, and no matter how well I thought I had it tied, he would always "tweak" something. It got to be comical in his older age!
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Old 28-04-2009, 08:12   #30
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Seems to me like the best thing if you throw a line over for someone else an eye splice of the correct size for application is in order.
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