With our on-the-water events having arrived for the year, it is time to review some of the essentials of safe and damage-free rafting-up. Rafting has other applications in addition to social events. One is tying up to a willing boat at crowded anchorages or marinas.
The centrally anchored boat should be the largest or heaviest displacement boat. It should have a large anchor and all-chain rode. For large raft-ups, two anchors should be set from the central boat, with equal lengths of rode at a 60-degree angle. Later arriving boats should be alert for wind shifts causing the anchored boat to swing unexpectedly. When positioned correctly, the arriving boat should secure bow and stern lines first, then spring lines.
No undersized fenders should be used. Special rafting fenders should be brought to raft-ups to prevent raft-up rash. Numerous styles are available; some are inflatable. Always mount the fenders using the shortest possible line length so that they cannot swing away or ride up and out of position.
The skipper of the central boat should always remain on board. This is important in the case of wind or tidal shifts. All boats should be ready to leave on short notice should conditions deteriorate.
When departing, make sure the engine is idling and warmed up. Loosen the bow line first, letting wind, current or fending off carry the bow away first. Then release spring lines and finally the stern lines, and power away.
- Always ask permission to raft up.
- When visiting, be sure to check your shoes for mud or dirt before boarding.
- Respect privacy.
Want to learn more about the finer points of anchoring and rafting up? There are many equipment and procedural necessities connected with this critical part of boating. Why not take the USPS online Anchoring With Assurance seminar, part of the Boat Handling course. Whether you’re a new skipper or an old salt, you’re sure to learn something new or be reminded of something you have forgotten…or neglected!
The seminar’s anchoring topics begin with how to select an anchorage and how to anchor depending on conditions. After learning how anchors should be used, you will know if yours are satisfactory or what kind(s) to buy. The seminar covers useful anchoring tips and tricks and concludes by discussing how to moor and raft safely. Also included is how to use and tie the two knots most often used when anchoring: the anchor bend and the figure-eight knot.
This self-study seminar consists of a comprehensive 38-page PDF Student Guide and a fully narrated online learning module that gives the student total control of the pace and sequence of the slides. The cost of the online seminar is $24.95.
On-the-water coaching by club members is available to help you practice your skills with assurance. If there is a group of members interested in a classroom seminar, this is also available. For more information, submit a contact form referencing the anchoring seminar.