… for the Max from your sailing!

Short handed pontoon mooring – without grief

With only two persons on board, mooring alongside our berth is made easy by adding an extra mooring line and repositioning a fender. All we do is……. position a fender on the bow so it does not hit the pontoon, if the bow springs in, and use a fixed-length bow-spring to prevent our bow hitting the pontoon. When we come in to our berth we drop the bow-spring loop over the center pontoon cleat and tie up the stern line. If the the wind is blowing the bow off the pontoon we use forward engine power to spring the bow onto the pontoon.


First we make a fixed-spring……
With the boat alongside, we take an extra mooring line with a loop at one end and attach the loop to the boat’s bow cleat. we make sure the fixed-spring is as long as your normal lines. We tie a bowline to make another loop to fit over the pontoon center cleat. We make the loop large enough to fit over the center cleat (but not too large, else it may jump off the cleat), we position the loop so that the line stops the boat’s bow from hitting the pontoon when the rope stretches under load caused by forward motion of the boat.

fixed spring



Now we test the fixed-length spring…….
We make sure that the boat is moored with bow and stern lines to the pontoon, we have the lines slack to enable the stretch of the fixed-spring to be tested. We hang a fender on the pontoon side of the boat’s bow to prevent the bow springing in and touching the pontoon. We use the boats engine to gently stretch the spring, ensuring the spring does it’s job under estimated maximum load (caused when the fixed spring stops the boat when coming along side). In practice we stop the boat with the boats engine.

We practice…..
with helmsman and  1 crew. Before coming along side we fit fenders, bow and stern lines as normal, and the bow-fixed-spring. Coiling stern line for helmsman to pass/throw. The bow-line is lead back to shrouds and tail is hung over life-lines. Bringing the boat alongside, our crew is at the shrouds ready to step off with the fixed-length-spring. The crew steps on to pontoon, drops the loop on the fixed-spring over the pontoon center cleat, then walks back to take the stern line from the helmsman. By now the helmsman has stopped the boat using the engine. Crew ties up stern line, helmsman can use the engine to keep the bow sprung on too the pontoon if required. Crew takes bow line hanging over rail and ties up the bow.

No dent’s in our bow!