Proper prior planning for boat manoeuvres at Hermitage
1. Proper attire
- Sensible shoes; tight clothes; life jacket; optional gloves*
- Make ready, oiled and tested and crew know how to operate.
- Use thinner ropes, 1 1/4 inch best. (Do NOT use heavy permanent mooring ropes). Ensure that the only knot is in the loop with a bowline. NB Every barge should have a heaving line with a monkey fist.
- Don’t use large ones that are too big to handle.**
5. Briefing (1/2 hour before manoeuvre begins). Allocate places:
- Skipper at stern, on wheel
- Sternline person
- Bowline person
- Fender person with small fender, skipper makes clear hand signals so minimal shouting. Crew watching skipper when manoeuvring
- Discuss how to mix skill levels/experience (e.g. buddying up, using manoeuvres as an opportunity to teach—where possible—and ensuring we have a good spread of experience on each vessel)
- If in doubt, ask!
- Single up. Heavy long-term lines possibly left on pontoon. All ropes ‘flaked down’ i.e. piled, not coiled, with the loop on top
- On return: Be ready to throw the loop end onto the pontoon or have it refastened to a heaving-line for long throw. Alternatively, use a long boat hook to drop a line over a bollard.
- To ‘make fast’ just use a couple of turns, NOT a locking turn, i.e. twice round the bollard and once around each ear; if it doesn’t hold then do another turn (NB this won’t work with an overly large rope). Watch the skipper for instructions on whether to surge, take in or make fast.
- Skippers may use rope as a brake or when being surged as part of manoeuvres. So you must watch for signals. A rope made fast rather than surged can make a difference between sliding into the berth professionally or ‘doing a Charlie’ and clouting something.
- Heavy Mooring lines on only when all is calm.
7. Ongoing precautions
- Hands no closer than 2-3 feet from bollard when possible. Ropes under load can amputate!!
- No running
- No yelling
- Use hand gestures for ‘keep going’ and ‘make fast’
- Have a 2+ m boat hook handy, every boat should have one.
Finally, beers are on the skipper, with optional debrief afterwards to flag what went well and where we had any near misses/learning points
* Gloves are fiddly: you might get them caught but might save your hand by removing them…
* * Note that there are bright red fenders on the visitor pontoon.
* * * HCM to provide 2x20m lighter ropes for manoeuvres.