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Click here for pdf    How to moor a yacht

Briefing - always brief your crew on the procedure before starting.

Coming alongside

Tide is King – always moor into tide. 

The wind has to be VERY strong for this not to apply.

Know which way your prop ‘kicks’ when in reverse. This can help to bring in the stern – or conversely it will kick the stern away from the pontoon.

Tell your crew not to jump, wait till the boat is alongside and stopped

Prepare fenders at the right height, a clove hitch on the rail makes it easy to adjust height. Prepare forward and stern shore lines, and a centre spring is essential if you are shorthanded. Your crew steps ashore with the centre line, puts it on a cleat, steer to bring the bow off the pontoon, with engine at low power and the boat will come alongside and stop.

The Ferry Glide - The most effective method. Bring the boat to a stop relative to the pontoon - look sideways to check you have stopped and maintain engine revs to stay stopped relative to the shore.. If the tide is running you still have speed through the water and can steer to put the bows slightly across the tide. The boat will travel sideways and gently touch the pontoon opposite your first stop. Just before you stop, straighten up the boat. 

With practice you can do this in reverse.

Very useful for entering or leaving a narrow gap between boats


Mooring alongside

Alongside a pontoon

Adequate fenders

Springs are as important as shore lines – they stop the boat moving fore and aft.

Use separate lines for each attachment

Alongside a boat - Rafting up

Adequate fenders inside and outside

If short handed get a spring on first.

Springs, breast and shore lines – take the strain off other boats' lines

Masts should not be in line to avoid clashing.

Smaller boats outside.

Go ashore forward of the mast.

See rafting etiquette below.

Alongside a tidal wall

Springs and warps 4 times the range of tide.

Tend the lines as tide rises and falls.



Coming alongside - Wind off the mooring

With the wind blowing off the mooring, you have to get the bows in enough to put a crew ashore or lasso a cleat on the pontoon.

Take a warp from the centre cleat of the boat, lasso the cleat from the boat or get ashore and cleat off.

The helm then applies some power and applies rudder to steer the boat alongside. Leave the rudder over and enough power on and the boat will lie comfortably alongside by itself.

This technique is also very useful when you are short handed and the crew can only get one warp ashore – use the centre cleat.



Springing off

With the wind or current pressing you on to the mooring, or when you have other boats close fore and aft, you have to ‘Spring off’ in ahead or reverse – into the tide.

This example is for a reverse off. 

Put the fenders forward. Cleat off a warp on the foredeck, pass it round the pontoon cleat or bollard, and take it back to the boat cleat so that it is secure but easily released by the foredeck crew. Just one or two turns will do. This warp is the Spring.

Motor ahead gently, steering to bring the bows in. The boat will pivot on the spring, the stern will come out and the tide will catch the stern to help the process. The crew on the foredeck maintains tension on the spring

When the angle is OK, centre the rudder and reverse out, applying power as necessary to clear other boats. The foredeck crew releases the spring and pulls the free end back on board.

The opposite process applies if leaving bows first - the boat pivots on a stern spring.



Locking In

Observe lock traffic signals see  INTERNATIONAL PORT TRAFFIC SIGNALS

Have fenders and boat hook ready.

When short handed, bring the boat to a halt alongside and get a short warp at the mid cleat round a vertical chain or line.

With a strong wind astern get the stern line on first. 

The boat is now secure and you can get the bow and stern lines on at your leisure. 

Locking out is usually easier, but remember not to cleat off your lines as the water level drops!

Some locks will have floating pontoons, others may have bollards which rise and fall as at Honfleur.

At St Malo, the rise is so great that lock men will throw you a line for you to attach your own line.



Leaving a raft between other boats

Adequate fenders

n this case assume you are the green boat, leaving in reverse, into tide.

Pass a long line from the stern of the outer boat around your bow, outside everything, and cleat off on the stern of the inner boat. 

f the tide is strong, the outer boat should have the engine running, ready to reverse and maintain position.

Take off the outer boat’s stern shore line

Cast off all your lines and reverse out. The outer boat’s stern will swing out, giving you more room.

Once clear, you can ferry glide out if need be.

The other boats must then take in the bow and stern lines to come alongside. You must come alongside and do this yourself if other crews are not present



Rafting etiquette

OXO knot

For a mooring cleat - once round the cleat, one or two figure 8s and once round the cleat.  No need for a locking hitch unless you are leaving it for some time.

Close Quarters

The key to successful close-quarters manoeuvring is to be aware of what the tide and wind are doing, so that you can use the assistance of the wind and tide rather than trying to fight it.

Before you untie the lines, first figure out what the wind and tide are doing - we don’t like surprises!

Every channel has a safe side and a danger side so make sure to keep to the safe side

Before entering a narrow channel, plan ahead how you will turn around and get back out

Keep your speed down when manoeuvring in tight spaces, but don’t spend too much time in neutral as the elements will start to drift you towards your danger side

If you feel it is impossible to avoid hitting another boat STOP and come gently alongside

Remember your boat has a bow and a stern; if your bow goes to starboard, your stern will go to port

By manoeuvring into wind or into tide, either bow first or stern first, you will be able to turn your boat without having to go any great distance forwards or backwards. This will keep the speed of the manoeuvre to a minimum and allow you to stay in control. Importantly, if you turn your stern to the wind it will make it easier to maintain a stationary position whilst your crew prepare fenders and lines, than it would if turn your bow into the wind.

Remember, if your best efforts are not successful and coming into contact with another boat is unavoidable, STOP! Use both engines, either ahead or astern to stop yourself dead in the water and in a straight line. Touching another boat with your fenders deployed is only the same as rafting up and should do minimal, if any damage; whereas trying to drive out of a sticky situation can often lead to a glancing blow which will do a lot of damage!

How to moor a yacht, motor boat, Mooring,  Springs, Warps, Ferry Glide. alongside  pontoon  wall  tide

knots yacht mooring rafting up springs warps breast rope oxo knot fenders  Posted 22nd May 2010