Boat Safety - Line Handling


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Most new boaters will approach a dock and try to throw a line to someone on land. Usually they bunch up the line and try throwing it. And usually it is a disaster. To handle a line effectively, you need to know how to coil line properly and that depends on the type of line you have.


Laid Line

This type of line has a natural twist built into it. Therefore, you should always coil this line clockwise, the way it was laid. Otherwise it will kink, buckle and tangle. Always start with the secured end and work toward the free end of the line. By doing so, any twists will go out the end.


Start by holding the line in your left hand and with an even sweep with your right hand feed the line to your left and hold the coil with your left. If you use an even sweep of the same length the coil will be nice and even.


Braided Line

Unlike Laid Line there is no built in twist, so you must add a twist when you do your sweep. With your fingers you simply add a clockwise twist to the braided line. Do not let the coil start to develop a figure 8. And don't try to wind up the line over your elbow!


For both types of line you should get in the habit of coiling clockwise, no matter what type of line you are using.


Stowing Lines that are Coiled

The most universal way to stow a coiled line is to take an arm's length of the end and wrap it around the coil with four or five wraps. Using the rest of the free end of the line, make a loop, pass it through the entire length of the coil, then take the loop up and over the entire end of the coil. This will lock the coil tightly. Now it can be hung up and allowed to dry.

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