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Over the years I've found that help from strangers on a dock can be more of a problem than help.
Bowlines tied to a mid-dock cleat while entering a slip, knots that don't hold, lines dropped into the water, etc. We do it ourselves, and just say, "Thanks, but we've got it".
You simply ask the good sameritan if they own a boat and what size. If they pass your minimum size perhaps they can handle the bitter end... if not it's, not worth the risks.

Many boats can be "docked" along side with no help ie single handed. Use a mid ship line and tie off to a pile or cleat and that secures the boat. With the bow and stern lines set up over the mid ship position... once on the dock you can grab them one at a time and set the bow and stern. This is probably OK for a quickie stop... longer add spring lines.

Color coded lines help...
 

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You simply ask the good sameritan if they own a boat and what size. If they pass your minimum size perhaps they can handle the bitter end... if not it's, not worth the risks.
Cute. I'm guessing by the time you've had that conversation, most would have been able to get her alongside, secure her and begun their wash down. lol
 
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Cute. I'm guessing by the time you've had that conversation, most would have been able to get her alongside, secure her and begun their wash down. lol
And by the time the washdown is done, the whole marina has been warned about the jerk that just pulled in.

I've had "helpers" who made things worse too. I politely decline help except in special circumstances where I ask for it over the radio. Interrogation not required.
 

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It seems to me that if you need help, you'll accept whatever help you can get. If you don't need help, then you say so, and thank the samaritan for his offer. When I'm on the dock, I usually don't offer to help a docking boat unless the conditions are challenging, and it looks like they need help. In that case, I've never had anyone ask for my qualifications before they allowed me to take a line or fend their boat off from hitting the dock or another boat. Most folks are grateful for the offer.
 

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If Im going to help I pick up a line and say "this is the one you want right"? knowing its the right one for the wind etc. By the time they figure out how to respond they have the lineIi gave them and the Boats tied up.
 

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When offering help, I am always passive. If it's a regular slipholder coming in with his lines already pre-adjusted on the dock cleats, I will offer to hand it to them. If it's a transient, I will offer to take a line from them, and ask instructions on where/how they would like me to attach it. I never take a line off their boat without them instructing me to do so.

One thing that really irks me is when people offer to help me depart and start removing lines from my boat or dock. First, I want them removed in a certain order. Second, and equally importantly, I want them left on the dock in a specific configuration, with the midship spring going to the end of the finger pier so we can grab it as soon as the boat starts to enter the slip. I also want the loop oriented a certain way to facilitate grabbing it with the boat hook.

Occasionally I come back to my slip and someone has moved my lines around. That is particularly annoying, especially when I have to have the boat halfway into the slip before we can reach the spring line. By then it may be too late for it to do any good, because the wind will have blown us away from the finger pier already.
 
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I've heard a lot about monkey fists causing serious injuries.
True, and use is regulated or banned in some places as @Arcb noted. I still keep the first one I tied, more as a souvenir than anything else.

In my experience if you get some practice you can heave a line to it's full extent out to about 70' without a weight. The difference between what you can do by hand and when you need a shotgun line thrower is pretty small. If you are so far off as to need a shotgun you should consider putting a dinghy in the water to run a line ashore.

There is a lot that I disagree with in the video (the lifeline gates should not be dropped, tying a bowline through a cleat guarantees chafe on the line and should only be done for very short stays or until the boat can be tied up properly, I disagree with not doing more than a 270 degree wrap if the line unless the is going to be on the cleat very short time due to chafe, the lines running perpendicular are specifically called breast lines, etc.) but I think that the video is helpful for a novice.
No. Yes. No.

Open lifeline gates are a huge help. They help with line handling and dock access. If you have a lot of freeboard on a floating dock you can sit on the deck edge before easing down to the dock (a tactic I use even single-handed - remember "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" (me)).

The only time I use a bowline in docking is as a temporary measure when I have an overloaded cleat and don't have a dockline with an eye or if I have to get a spring around a piling and don't have a long enough line to double back to the boat.

I completely disagree with what I think your are saying about cleat hitches. From the standing part run to the far side of the cleat and under the horn. Go under the opposite horn and then across the cleat and under the first horn. Put a lock turn on the second horn and you are done. Find something useful and tidy to do with rest of the working part that does NOT include more turns on the cleat. Ever. Not. Don't do it. You're done. There is no place in boating for "if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot." Just stop.

Not mentioned anywhere in this thread is when to put out finders. I rarely put out fenders until I'm tied up. There are too many scenarios where catching a fender will damage life lines or stanchions. If a dock has issues (exposed nails, concrete, steel) that won't let you approach without fenders go somewhere else.

Color coded lines help...
I don't understand. How?

It seems to me that if you need help, you'll accept whatever help you can get.
That depends on whether you stay in charge or the guy on the dock is in charge. I've certainly been "in charge" of dockings from the dock but how do you know if it is me on the dock or the owner of some marina queen? Do you want to take the chance that the person on the dock is more experienced than you? Absolutely do not assume a marina dockhand knows anything.
 

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And by the time the washdown is done, the whole marina has been warned about the jerk that just pulled in.
I'm with you. Much is in the presentation both from the boat and the dock.

From the dock:

"How can I help?"

From the boat:

"Thanks for the offer. We have a plan. Give me a second and we'll hand you this line which you could leave there."
 

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I don't understand. How?
Color codes help when you have a bunch a lines all in the same place.... such as lines under the dodger on the coach roof for reefing, halyards, topping life, outhaul, vang.... all coming thru a stopper...

My dock lines are of different lengths Bow the longest, stern the shorts and mid ship in between. Easier for anyone to set up the line on the right cleat when they know the color!

And for the person who doesn't know the proper name it's easier to say, "the red line"
 

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My dock lines are of different lengths Bow the longest, stern the shorts and mid ship in between. Easier for anyone to set up the line on the right cleat when they know the color!
Ah. I've never seen anyone color code dock lines. Running rigging sure.

Generally I see "regular" dock lines and long ones. Usually bow and stern lines are half a boat length or so and spring lines are a boat length or more.

For myself I buy line in a reel, cut to length, and splice eyes in one end. Obviously all the same color off a reel. I happen to like Navy blue 3-strand but that's just me.
 

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Ah. I've never seen anyone color code dock lines. Running rigging sure.

Generally I see "regular" dock lines and long ones. Usually bow and stern lines are half a boat length or so and spring lines are a boat length or more.

For myself I buy line in a reel, cut to length, and splice eyes in one end. Obviously all the same color off a reel. I happen to like Navy blue 3-strand but that's just me.
I haven't changed my dock lines in ages... I used made up braid on braid dock line... They're earier to handle/tie.... I see no need for keeping a huge heavy roll of line... But if you feel you save money etc... go for it.
 

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I haven't changed my dock lines in ages... I used made up braid on braid dock line... They're earier to handle/tie.... I see no need for keeping a huge heavy roll of line... But if you feel you save money etc... go for it.
Double-braid doesn't have the elasticity of 3-strand. 3-strand makes a much better dock line.

Pre-made 3-strand 1/2" x 25' runs about $40 ($1.60/ft).

Two bow lines, two stern lines, and two springs (which would be longer and more expensive, but set that aside) for each of traveling lines and permanent ones is nearly $500.

A 600' reel of 1/2" 3-strand is just under $175. Two bow lines (25'), two stern lines (25'), two spring lines (40'), two sets is 360'. So for $175 there are two full sets of lines and still have 240' of line and $325. So yes, I feel I save money.

But lets be fair. I have to splice eyes which take about 10 minutes each. That's 80 minutes (I don't use eyes in my spring lines) at $85/hr is about $115. I'm still pretty far ahead.

For those who insist on double-braid dock lines the numbers are different but the relationship is the same even though the splices take longer. You can even throw in a fid or splicing wand and still be ahead.
 

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Frankly I don't spend much time on a dock or float... I do to fill my tanks with water and gas and or perhaps load or unload stuff. Stretch hardly is an issue for me.

My snubber is 1" nylon braid on braid with a heavy mooring compensator... and I get plenty of stretch from that. My spare anchor is on 8 plait 3/4" nylon...

I am fine with my choices!
 

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Color codes help when you have a bunch a lines all in the same place.... such as lines under the dodger on the coach roof for reefing, halyards, topping life, outhaul, vang.... all coming thru a stopper...

My dock lines are of different lengths Bow the longest, stern the shorts and mid ship in between. Easier for anyone to set up the line on the right cleat when they know the color!

And for the person who doesn't know the proper name it's easier to say, "the red line"
\

My permanent bow and stern lines are blue but my spring lines are white. Makes it a lot easier to identify which is the most important one to grab first when returning.
 
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