Select Page

Mooring lines are used when arriving or leaving a berth. One of the most important competent crew skills is to know how to handle and tie mooring lines securely and safely.

Mooring lines may be tied to a variety of purpose made objects ashore, including cleats, rings and posts. It is best to tie the end of a line to the shore and feed back the rest of it to the boat where any excess can be stowed neatly. The knots used will depend on the type of object the line is tied to. They include:

  • Cleat hitch – used for tying to a cleat.
  • Round turn and two half hitches – used for a ring or a post.
  • Bowline – a secure loop that can be used for a cleat or ring. 

Fairleads

Mooring lines are susceptible to chafe where they rub against cleats and various parts of the boat, a pontoon or a harbour wall. In order to protect against chafe, ropes are fed through devices called fairleads fixed to the boat. Some lines may be fed through thick plastic tubing to protect them. 

Berthed alongside

A number of lines are used to secure a boat alongside a pontoon or jetty.  The side of the boat is protected by fenders tied to the rail.

The bow line runs forward from the bows to the pontoon, the stern line runs back from the stern. Other lines, called “springs” run backwards from the bow and forwards from the stern. These lines stop the boat from moving backwards and forwards along the pontoon, holding it steady alongside.

Berthed stern-to

If a boat is berthed stern-to, where the stern is backed up to the pontoon or quay, it will have two stern lines holding it in place. The bow will be held by an anchor or mooring buoy ahead of the boat.

Allowing for tide

Allowance needs to be made for the rise and fall of the tide when a boat is berthed alongside a quay in tidal waters.  This means either the mooring lines will need to be adjusted by the crew as the tide rises or falls, or sufficient slack needs to be left in the lines to allow for the rise and fall of the tide.

No adjustments to the lines need to be made when tied up alongside a pontoon. This is because pontoons are floating and are designed to rise and fall with the tide. 

Tips:

  • Spring lines stop a boat from moving forwards and backwards when alongside.
  • Learn the best knots to use to secure lines to cleats, rings or posts.
  • Don’t leave excess line on the pontoon, stow it neatly on the boat.

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 4

Applying antifouling. Antifouling is best applied on a dry, calm day. It is best to apply the antifouling in the middle of the day to ensure the hull is dry and as warm as possible.

Medical Emergency at Sea

How to deal with a medical emergency afloat   If you are planning a boating trip, it is important to have at least one...

Sector lights, directional lights, leading lights – how do they differ?

Sector lights, directional lights and leading lights guide vessels safely through hazardous waters or narrow channels at...

Weather forecasting tips

Most weather forecasts present a general picture of what to expect in your area over a given period of time. We rely on such...

Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

Rig check – how to prevent failure at sea

Regular rig checks prevent the risk of mast and rigging failure at sea. This includes regular rig inspections of the spars, ...

Boat ownership

Owning a boat is a big commitment that should bring no end of satisfaction for the owner as well as the owner's family and friends. In...

Understanding marine sealants & adhesives

Sealants, adhesives and adhesive sealantsThere is a bewildering variety of sealants, adhesives and even adhesive sealants available for...

You Need To Understand The IRPCS ColRegs To Pass Your Yachtmaster, Master of Yachts and Coxswain Certificate of Competence

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations...

Passage Planning Advice & Safety for skippers

Passage planning helps you to: • Decide where to go • Calculate how long it will take to get there • Avoid bad weather •...

Boat Engine Failure – what to check

Engine failure If your engine fails or is overheating there are a number of things to check immediately: • Air filter...

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

      Every Skipper Needs Accurate Knowledge of the IRPCS ColRegs As a responsible skipper it is every skipper’s duty to learn and apply the IRPCS...

Sailing & Motoring in Fog

Sailing & Motoring in Fog You can only measure the visibility accurately if sailing & motoring in fog when you have...

Boat engine basics

Boat engines come in all shapes and sizes and include inboards, outboards, petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid systems. Some engines are...

Boating emergency – how to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call

How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call   How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call if a vessel or person is in grave...

Fire prevention on boats

  Fire prevention on boats - common causes of fire: • Smoking below decks • Galley cookers • Build-up of butane or...

Cleaning & polishing painted topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches

Essential Knots: Round turn and two half hitches Use: Tying a rope to a pole or a ring. Step 1. Pass the end around the object. Step 2....

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

First Aid Afloat – how to deal with a fracture at sea

First Aid Afloat A closed fracture does not break through the skin. An open fracture is when the bone punctures it. A...

Man Overboard Drill

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the...

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

  Wherever you are boating in the world I am sure you will be using a pilot guide to aid your navigation. Often in the...

Understanding tides

If you are used to sailing in tidal waters, you will know that tides can be both a benefit and a hindrance to the sailor. In many ways,...

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor...

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Colregs Boating Rules Of The Road Skippers struggle to learn and remember the ColRegs Yachtmaster and Day Skipper course...