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Old 10-18-2012
svzephyr44 svzephyr44 is offline
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Re: Boarding and rafting to stranger's boats.

There are three kinds of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.

That said, this thread nets out to two groups: rafting is OK, and its my boat and you can't raft to it. I would suggest that local custom is mostly a result of necessity. In areas with lots of boats and not much dockage rafting becomes a custom. In the (paid) marina in Horta, Faisal, Azores every (paid) boat in the marina is rafted usually 3 deep. Getting the inside boat out of the nest with a three raft in front and behind is quite a trick. That is why everyone on the dock helps out. For those who say "they should anchor out" the anchorage is far to small to accommodate the boats that are rafted. When it gets a little dicey the inside boat gets pressed up against a concrete seawall. Not fun but it is the way it is. Usually the outside boats will contribute fenders for the inside boat but not always.

In Europe "med mooring" is common. One backs (or goes bow in) to a wall or pontoon with the other end of the boat (normally the bow) being held by an anchor. You are side by side with two other boats with no place to put lines and no dock. Although not the same as rafting many of the same concerns hold - what if he swings into me, what if our masts hit each other, etc. Med mooring has been a fact of life in Europe forever, most boats carry far more and bigger fenders than you would see in the US.

IMHO rafting at public docks is usually controlled by the dockmaster. In Jacksonville FL it is mandatory. In Savannah, GA it is prohibited (I believe to protect the docks which are not that strong and sit in a strong current.) Like others have noted I have a tag with my phone number on the boat so that people can call me. But not only have I come back from a provisioning trip to find someone rafted to my boat, I have come back to find my boat in a different place on the dock! I have been on board inside and heard footsteps on my boat only to discover that people from the next boat already docked are climbing on to make sure that someone rafting to me has a safe and damage free landing believing my boat to be unattended.

Custom can also override common sense. It has been noted that the custom is to cross the bow. On Reboot usually the bow has a dinghy, fuel tanks, etc. making crossing difficult. So I invite the people who are rafted to me to cross the cockpit. Do they? No, of course not. That would be rude. So they climb over all my shite on the bow!

Many have pointed out that they would raft with friends but not with strangers. I have solved this problem both as the rafter and the raftee. After we get the lines over, with particular emphasis on the spring lines to protect the spreaders and masts I say "do you want a beer?" Voila - now we are friends!

My two cents.
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