Proper prior planning for boat manoeuvres at Hermitage

1. Proper attire

  1. Sensible shoes; tight clothes; life jacket; optional gloves*

2. Anchor

  1. Make ready, oiled and tested and crew know how to operate.

3. Ropes

  1. 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.

4. Fenders

  1. Don’t use large ones that are too big to handle.**

5. Briefing (1/2 hour before manoeuvre begins). Allocate places:

  1. Skipper at stern, on wheel
  2. Sternline person
  3. Bowline person
  4. Fender person with small fender, skipper makes clear hand signals so minimal shouting. Crew watching skipper when manoeuvring
  5. 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)
  6. If in doubt, ask!

6. Procedure

  1. Single up. Heavy long-term lines possibly left on pontoon. All ropes ‘flaked down’ i.e. piled, not coiled, with the loop on top
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Heavy Mooring lines on only when all is calm.

7. Ongoing precautions

  1. Hands no closer than 2-3 feet from bollard when possible. Ropes under load can amputate!!
  2. No running
  3. No yelling
  4. Use hand gestures for ‘keep going’ and ‘make fast’
  5. 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.