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Old 28-11-2022, 14:30   #1
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Dock line management when leaving dock

How do yall keep your lines out of the water when you go out for the day? I haven't found a good way of doing it when there's just two of us. The bow lines and one spring line can be tossed onto a hook on the pile, but the stern lines and other spring line are thrown onto the dock. Sometimes they make it onto the dock, and sometimes fall into the water. I also don't like having those lines spread across the dock for people to trip on.


My current setup is all lines are more/less permanently cleated to the dock/pile, and loops tied on the boat end so I just plop it over the cleat and length is pre-set.
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Old 28-11-2022, 14:37   #2
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

IF there are pilings out by the bow lines, then we put hooks on the pilings to hold the lines by the spliced loops.

We lay lines along the dock.

If there are pilings between our neighbor and us, we either use hooks on the pilings or run a a taught line from piling to piling between the slips and drape the dock lines over that line.
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Old 28-11-2022, 14:38   #3
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

For our home slip, lines stay behind. We don't throw them onto the dock. The bow line hangs on a hook, the rest get neatly laid on the dock (parallel to the edge to avoid trip hazards). Generally I remove all but the last 3 lines, get the others out of the way, then we do the final departure. I lay a spring line and stern line onto the dock from the stern, then head for the helm and give the admiral the signal to remove the bow line and get ready to put it on the hook as we depart (we back in).

When coming into our home slip, the admiral grabs and attaches the bow line as we come in, then one of us walks to the stern (can be either of us depending on timing, wind, etc.) and grabs the first spring line and stern line. Then we can take our time with the rest of the lines.

When traveling, if the dock cleats can't be reached from the boat, we'll often remove most of the lines, then re-rig 1 or 2 for easy departure (such as from the boat, around 1 horn of a cleat and back to the boat). Depending on the wind, one of us will either release the last lines near the stern from the boat and step aboard with them while the other slips the final spring line (or holds it for use while departing). Or we may release all of the final lines from on board (such as in high winds).
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Old 28-11-2022, 14:58   #4
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

I cast off all lines except one spring line. With engine running idle forward and rudder turned away the dock, the boat is pinned to the dock and will stay there as long as you need to neatly stow the rest of the lines. When ready I go to neutral and release the spring, hanging it on its hook on a piling. Same process in reverse when returning, hook up the spring line motoring against it with rudder away from the dock then calmly go around and connect the rest of the lines. Boat is always under control and no jumping off onto the dock required. I use the genoa cleat in the cockpit for that spring line, I can reach it from the wheel so I can do this as easily single handed as with crew.
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Old 28-11-2022, 15:05   #5
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
neatly laid on the dock (parallel to the edge to avoid trip hazards).
This is what we do for those laid on the dock as well. Though if we're gone for long periods we find them all in the water anyway. When we're gone for weeks our slip becomes the dinghy dock for a handful of people. The lines get kicked into the water and forgotten.

They get theirs in the end. These are the same people that fish the slimy lines out of the water to handle them when we come back into the dock. I still have to clean the lines and the make the boat filthy, so nobody gets the last laugh here.
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Old 28-11-2022, 18:24   #6
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

If the wind requires it, we'll add two double-backed lines (aka slip lines) for the active bow and stern lines. Then we can take care of the normal dock lines neatly and still be held in place. As we leave, my wife will pull in the bow slip line and I'll do the same at the stern.
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Old 28-11-2022, 18:32   #7
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

I'm guessing you are a beginner.

I sail single handed and have no problem keeping lines out of the water.

I unhook all lines from the boat except one depending on the wind.

Then back out.
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Old 28-11-2022, 18:45   #8
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

I rig a "hanger" between the dolphin and the dock. The spring lines are laid out on the hanger, the bow line is placed at the far end of the hanger by the dolphin.

When I back in, grab the springs, and back down on them. With the engine in reverse/idle the boat just sits there while I get the bow and stern lines rigged.
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Old 28-11-2022, 21:47   #9
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

Another way you can do what's needed is to take the dock lines with you, as you would when entering an unfamiliar marina.

When we do this, we use a line from the midship cleat, and I step off the boat with it and cleat hitch it on the outermost cleat, then Jim holds the boat in place in the manner described in which captjgw described: engine in dead slow fwd, water flow over the rudder pushing the boat to the dock. Then I put on the stern line, and then the windward bow line, followed by the leeward bow line. An aft spring line can be added forward.

To leave, set it so the boat is pinned to the dock, toss lines aboard (or fix them on the pontoon, if you're coming back), and do the spring last. It's right there by the gait where you board. Flip it on board and step to the tiller or wheel.

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Old 29-11-2022, 10:37   #10
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Dock line management when leaving dock

When I leave I take in all fenders and all dock lines coiled and stored in a locker
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Old 29-11-2022, 11:25   #11
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuChante View Post
How do yall keep your lines out of the water when you go out for the day? I haven't found a good way of doing it when there's just two of us.

Like others upthread, I start the motor and use it to gently keep the boat against the dock by pulling on an aft springline. Smaller boats (under 30 feet) often don't have an amidships cleat but using the aftmost cleat can work or sometimes the winch works, depending on the way the dock is set up. Once the boat is pinned by the motor and one line, I remove the other lines and stow them at my leisure.


When it's time to leave the slip then I shift into reverse and remove the springline. On one boat I used a continuous loop that I had spliced up for this, which worked really well, easy to control by hand, easy to grab with a boathook, easy to get over a cleat when returning.


More recently I've been using a short dockline with an eye splice in one end. I use the eye to attach it to a cleat on the boat, then put it around the dockside cleat, and then cleat it off back on the boat. When I back out I can release it from the cockpit, and if I can't flick it off the dockside cleat for some reason, I can just let go the end and it will pull through the dockside cleat and I can pull the other end back to the boat.


I cut my bow and amidships lines so that they are not long enough to reach the prop, as a precaution.
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:03   #12
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

As Ann sez: Take your lines with you!

The first step in a seamanlike procedure for departing is to "single up".

That gets you to where you can, as Jammer sez, hold the boat against the dock by going slow ahead against a forrard after spring line with the helm laid AWAY from the dock.

The term "singling up" comes from the fact that while you are going ahead against the spring line, you take ALL other lines aboard so the spring line is the single line twixt the boat and the dock. You stow the other lines in their appointed places aboard, of course, while you are holding the boat on the spring line prior to slipping.

What you do next is the stuff we didn't get to talk about some time ago when you asked for advice.

In this part of the world, we have "bull rails" on all pontoons, although sometimes, in places other than yacht harbors, you may still come across horn cleats, mainly dimensioned for bigger boats than any you are likely to get to handle.

Eyes at the end of mooring lines are an abomination in the sight of Neptune! Eyes at the end of mooring lines can only result in snags occurring and making you look inept. Ends of mooring lines, which are tools and should be respected as such, should be neatly whipped. It is essential that they can "run free" around bull rails and cleats. This is true particularly of the spring lines because you handle them FROM ON BOARD, NOT from the dock.

The two essential knots for handling dock lines are the "cleat hitch" and the "round turn and two half hitches". Practice them till you can tie them with one hand. In the dark. Under water :-)! If you are very lucky - or knowledgeable - your boat may have a "samson post". In that case add a "bollard hitch" to the other two knots.

Since we already know your docking arrangements from the last time we talked, we can, if you would like, press on with a blow-by-blow "manual" of how to depart and arrive gracefully.

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Old 29-11-2022, 12:06   #13
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

For a home slip you regularly return to, taking your lines with you isn't always a good option. Depending on the slip layout, having lines pre-set allows you to get at least a spring line on sooner in the docking process. And for a challenging slip, that can increase the wind limits where you can safely get the boat in.
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:46   #14
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
In this part of the world, we have "bull rails" on all pontoons, although sometimes, in places other than yacht harbors, you may still come across horn cleats

Bull rails are an abomination in the sight of Neptune. News of the invention of the horn cleat has not reached certain parts of the world. I think it is somehow related to the popularity of ice hockey. The main problem with bull rails is splinters. Or that they aren't that strong. Or that people trip over them. Or that you can't lasso them from the boat the way you can a cleat. Or that your dockline can slip up and down the bull rails until it gets to the next support.



Quote:

Eyes at the end of mooring lines are an abomination in the sight of Neptune! Eyes at the end of mooring lines can only result in snags occurring and making you look inept. Ends of mooring lines, which are tools and should be respected as such, should be neatly whipped.
Eyes at the end of mooing lines are often a convenience and are occasionally necessary when arriving at a dock where the cleats are too large for a cleat hitch to hold properly. They are also useful when trying to lasso a cleat, because it is possible to drop the eye over the cleat with a boathook without having to hold the bight in shape. I suppose none of that matters much in those cultural backwaters where they still use bull rails.

The eye also allows you to tie it to an open-bottomed cleat on the boat (which is most of them) using a lark's head and still leave the cleat uncluttered enough to tie a cleat hitch with the other end of the line.

Quote:
The two essential knots for handling dock lines are the "cleat hitch" and the "round turn and two half hitches".
I've switched to using a midshipman's hitch because they are more secure and can be adjusted more readily.
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Old 29-11-2022, 12:55   #15
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Re: Dock line management when leaving dock

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
For a home slip you regularly return to, taking your lines with you isn't always a good option. Depending on the slip layout, having lines pre-set allows you to get at least a spring line on sooner in the docking process. And for a challenging slip, that can increase the wind limits where you can safely get the boat in.

It really depends on your situation. If it's your slip and no one else is going to use it, and you'll be back in a day or less, it's a convenience to leave the lines on the dock. And if you're someplace with bull rails (not to beat a dead horse...) or rings, you can leave the lines tied to the bull rails or rings, and pick up the lines with a boat hook if you don't have shoreside assistance and it's windy.


Depending on the dock layout and whether the marina will allow such modifications you can put hooks on the pilings or affix a flexible fiberglass pole or something to hold the lines where you can reach them when coming alongside.
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