Watch your lines
Keep your docking lines in order
Recently I looked into my rode locker. Instead of the neat, orderly docking lines I thought I had stowed, I found what looked like an explosion in a spaghetti factory. I don’t know what force of nature turns any rope into a tangled mess, but I have come to believe that if left to itself, any line will become foul and knotted beyond human understanding.
Tangled lines can be dangerous. In addition to docking and spring lines, every berth also has electrical lines and water hoses. When taken together, they can present a serious hazard. The marina where my boat, Melodic, spends the winter has finger slips that are more akin to rocking horses than walkways—treacherous even at the best of times. The other evening, my sidestepping a minefield of lines and hoses turned into a high-wire act as I tried to avoid losing my balance and falling into the drink. So, for safety’s sake, be mindful of the lines that attach to your boat.
The bitter ends of dock lines should be neatly formed into a Flemish coil. Aside from presenting a handsome appearance at the dock, this prevents the lines from running wild. Electrical cords should be plugged in and coiled twice around the outlet at the dockside then strung to the boat, leaving no excess cord on the dock. Water hoses are a particular hazard because they’re long. Now you can buy inexpensive hoses that coil themselves into a tight, manageable circle, leaving a less hazardous footprint on the dock.
If we watch our lines, the docks in our marinas will be safer for everyone.