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Line Handling

Getting underway for the first time can be a stressful experience. However, with lots of pre-planning, passenger orientation and preparation, stress can be kept at a minimum and a safe voyage can be expected.

Once the boat has been checked out, passengers and equipment are aboard, and the engine has been started and has been allowed to run until it has come to operating temperature, you are ready to cast off. But before casting off let’s take a look at how to tie and untie the boat properly.

Line Handling  


When aboard a boat, ropes are no longer called ropes, they are called lines. At least three and preferably four lines should be carried aboard for docking:

  • A bow line to secure the bow.
  • A stern line to secure the stern.
  • At least one spring line to reduce fore-and-aft movement.

The diagram below shows four lines used. Although the stern line will keep the boat from moving forward too much, to be safe a fourth spring line running from the dock cleat forward could be used.

Docking line

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