Line handling

Line handling doesn't require any training or studies, you only need ability; because you will have to catch the leader line when the other workers throw it to you and you need to know about basics topics of the boat, that we will specify below. As you might know, lines are nothing more than ropes, but we call them lines when abroad the boat.

The most important lines for a boat, when docking are: The bow line and the stern line that are used to secure the bow and the stern respectively, then the spring line to reduce the movement and help to stabilize the boat.

To be a great line handler, you must know also some basic knots that essentially every boater knows in advance; these knots are easy to tie, difficult to strain and easy to untie, the most common knots are:

  • Cleat hitch: Used to secure a boat to a dock, or a line to a boat.
  • Bowline: You can use this knot for several situations because it's very versatile, that's why it's known as the king of the knots.
  • Square knot: It's used for light stuffs, it's simple to make.
  • Round turn and two half hitches: It's a very safe knot, used for permanent ties, for piling, mooring, etc.
  • And finally the clove Hitch is used to tie a piling generally.

A line is a piece of rope used for a specific function on the boat, for example:

Back line Backing line Breast line Bunker line Check line Fore and All line Handy line Head line Heaving line Jockey line Lashing Lead Line Leaving line Lock line Peg line Quarter line Side line Spring line Stern line Tow line Work line


  • Don't walk on the border of the boat while carrying a line because if you lose your balance you could lose the line or make yourself fall.
  • Never drag a line because if there's something that could interrupt in the way of the line it could end dragging you.
  • Work smart: If you're transporting a line, try to keep any excess line off the way.
  • Inspect lines regularly: If you find a damaged line inform your supervisors to replace it.
  • Keep feet clear of the line, because if you get trapped by a knot, it could be the cause you get injured.
  • In order to provide safe access for handling lines, cargo or material shall not be stowed or vehicles placed where they obstruct the work surface to be used.
  • Get the habit to coil your lines when they're not being used, it not only will help you make look your boat better, but it'll also help you to conserve the good state of the ropes.
  • These recommendations will help you avoid accidents and boat correctly, and are important for line handling knowledge.