Some people are prone to taking unnecessary risks. “Don’t give them too much rope or they might hang themselves,” the old adage warns.
When it comes to operating a boat, that vintage proverb takes on a new, near-literal meaning.
Mishandling lines, particularly when a boat is coming in to dock, can be costly. A poorly tossed line can cause problems for the captain, who might be dealing with wind and current in tight quarters, or even wind up tangled in the prop. I have seen it happen.
And if you are rafting up, one miss could end up leading to a collision with another boat.
A little preparation can go a long way in avoiding a costly mistake.
1. Prepare the line to be tossed
Going in a clockwise motion, wrap the in a coil, approximately 18-21 inches. Then put the top half of the neatly-coiled line into your throwing hand (right hand for right-handed people) and hold the second half of line in the opposite hand. (Be certain the line is untangled and can flow freely when thrown.)
2. Make sure the person receiving the line is prepared
Don’t take for granted that the person responsible for catching the line is alert and ready. There are many potential distractions on a boat dock, which are often loud and active. Make sure you have made eye contact with the person taking the line on the dock and that they are fully paying attention.
3. Prepare to make the throw
While maintaining eye contact with the person on the dock, who is receiving the line, make a warm-up motion with your tossing hand so the “catcher” knows to be fully alert and ready.
4. Let ‘er Go!
Using a strong, underhand motion with your throwing arm, aim for the belt-line of the person on the receiving end. Be sure to allow the remaining line to smoothly follow out of your opposite hand.
Watch a live demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRsFu1ZjKSU