Rafting Procedures

  1. Rafting begins with one boat who volunteers to be the anchor boat.
    • The anchor boat sets the anchor to allow for more than the usual amount of swing and more than the usual amount of scope.
    • The skipper becomes the “Raft Captain.”
    • The raft captain can permit boats to join or refuse permission.
    • Approaching boats should always check with the raft captain prior to joining.
    • To keep the raft balanced, you will be instructed to tie up to port or starboard.
    • Always approach a raft from the stern.
  2. Before you start to tie up.
    • Be sure to have 4 lines ready (bow, stern and 2 spring lines).
    • Put 2 fenders over the side next to the boat you are rafting next to.
    • Come along side slowly.
    • Important: Pass your bowline (loop end first) to the rafted boat and lead it properly through the chocks.
    • Stop your engine.
    • Next, pass your stern line (loop end first) to the rafted boat.
    • Adjust bow and stern lines until you are parallel, with spreaders 2 feet astern of the other boat.
    • Run a forward spring line (loop end first) from your stern to his bow.
    • Run an aft spring line (loop end first) from your bow to his stern.
    • The longer the spring lines, the safer the raft.
    • Spring lines should be reasonably tight so your boat will not run forward or aft.
    • Loop end first… means you can always adjust all your mooring lines from your own boat whether rafting or tied to a dock. It is a good seamanlike practice all around.
  3. Recommended equipment:
    • Have large fenders (8” x 20”)… hang vertically so they will not roll out if there is wake.
    • Fender covers to quiet those squeaky fenders in the middle of the night.
    • Proper “dedicated” rafting lines
      • Retired sheets are no good.
      • 3-strand dedicated lines are better than braided lines since they have more stretch and will absorb shock better.
      • 1⁄2” or larger for an Alberg 30
      • Long lines, at least long enough to go stem-to-stern, plus some.
      • All lines same length with loops in one end, so you are not having to guess which is stern and which is spring.
  4. Breaking Up.
    • If a storm approaches and the Raft Captain decides to break up the raft or reduce the number of boats (usually in the middle of the night), remember which lines are yours and use caution so no one gets hurt.
    • Avoid yelling, if possible.

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