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backcreeksailor 04-16-2009 02:21 PM

Permanent Dock Lines, Tie Up Procecures, & Electrolysis
I'm trying to figure out the lengths of dock line that I need to buy for when I get my boat to my slip.

It's a 30' boat, the slip is 40'x15', It's got 3 pilings on either side of the boat, and I'm assuming I'll be using the 2 closest to shore and the 2 furthest out to tie off to. What size docklines should I buy? And should I get 4 or 6 just for "permanent" tie up? (I plan on tying up stern to shore & bow out)


I see websites online that show usage of spring lines for a boat that's tied to one side of a dock. But nothing for a boat that's in a slip surrounded on all sides by pilings. I've seen boats use spring lines over their primaries, but the vast majority in my marina don't seem to use them at all. For Chesapeake Bay tides, should I use them or no?


And just to make this even longer... I see some boats that run a copper wire with an alligator clip from the dock to someplace on their rigging. I'm assuming this is to help with electrolysis and nothing more. Again, some people do this, but most don't in my marina. If dock power is going to remain connected to my boat to run the charger, does the ground from that cable serve this purpose? Or Do I need the separate wire with an alligator clip setup?

imagine2frolic 04-16-2009 02:45 PM

Will you be backing in?

labatt 04-16-2009 02:54 PM

Just a quick recommendation - if you buy docklines of different lengths, use different colors. This way you'll be able to quickly determine what each line is. I use black for bow and stern and red for springs, plus my extra long lines are green, with my heavy duty lines being white/tan.

backcreeksailor 04-16-2009 02:56 PM

I plan on backing in.

velero 04-16-2009 02:58 PM

West Marine: West Advisor

Check this guide out....

sailortjk1 04-16-2009 03:17 PM

Good info on the West link.


And should I get 4 or 6 just for "permanent" tie up?
To answer this, I personally use 8 for everyday use. Plus we carry an extra set for transient purposes. If we are expecting heavy weather we will add to the 8 as required.

MJBrown 04-16-2009 03:30 PM

We use 6 lines all of the same length. Two stern lines, which we criss cross for better cross wind stability. Four lines on the outer most pilings. Two one each side. One set is for the bow, the other for the spring lines. FYI the spring lines keep the wind from pushing you back into the dock. They have nothing to do to offset the tide. As for the tides on the bay, they vary widely and you'll have to find out what the ranges are in your area. Annapolis has apx a 1 1/2' swing while the head of the Sassafras River in the northern bay can see 3-4' swings. Ask your neighbors what they see and then validate it yourself observing max lows and highs.

I've never seen anyone connect a copper wire from the rigging to the dock. I assume it's to ground the boat in the event of a lightning strike??? I can't imagine it doing anything unless it's attached to something metallic on the dock that leads to a substantial ground plane. Connected directly to the wood isn't going to do anything.

JohnRPollard 04-16-2009 03:30 PM

Like others, I think you'll want 8 total: 2 each at bow and stern, and two spring lines each port and starboard. How long the spring lines are depends whether you have a mid-ships cleat or not. If you have to spring at the bow and stern cleats, you will need longer spring lines.

You might get away with single spring lines, but it will be harder to do in such a big slip.

A 40 foot slip can actually be a bit tricky for tying up a 30 foot boat. We were in a 40 foot slip this past winter, and it was not easy making it work. The forward pilings were almost too far out for tying the bow, and the middle pilings were not in a good spot either.

We have a heavy set of winter dock lines, and then a second set of lighter lines we use when we're in transient slips in the summer (we moor ordinarily). The winter docklines go in the garage during sailing season. If we had a slip, we'd leave those plus-sized lines affixed to the pilings.

backcreeksailor 04-16-2009 03:30 PM

If I only have 2 aft cleats and 2 forward cleats, can I use my primaries as anchors for both the fore and aft spring lines? Or to they HAVE to be cleated off at the fore and aft cleats too to make them functional?

And I was planning on using 1/2" dock lines for both summer and winter as permanent lines. And probably the same for my transient set. Is that adequate?

jorgenl 04-16-2009 03:42 PM

I use a total of 10 permanent lines.

2 on each bow = 4 lines
2 on each stern = 4 lines
1 spring line aft
1 spring line forward

I always double up on bow and stern lines during spring and fall.

I have had one bow line break during a tropical storm (it was doubled up)and seen other boats without double ups hit the dock - not pretty.

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