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How to Raft Up With Other Boats

Tips for rafting up with other boats.

March 8, 2013

Rafting up with other boats is fun. You can relax with other adults while the kids swim themselves to exhaustion. It saves gas and you can even pool food and beverage resources to save money. Here’s how to raft up the right way.

1. The Heaviest Boat Sets the Anchor
This is not necessarily the longest boat. If you have a 24-foot cuddy cruiser, your boat likely outweighs a 27 go-fast. The heaviest boat will have the biggest, heaviest anchor, Or should. When tying up to other boats, use dock lines rated for the biggest boat in the gathering.

2. Ease In
Once the host vessel is in position, deploy fenders and come abeam of it. Heave the bow and stern lines to the other crew. If you can’t do this, approach the bow at a 45-degree angle and toss the bowline, and allow your boat to settle gently back and beside the host by using the wind or current.

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3. Get In Order
If more than two boats are rafting up, the anchored boat should remain in the middle. If more boats continue to tie up, alternate each arriving vessel so that the numbers remain the same on each side of the anchored vessel.

4. Don’t Climb
When possible, try to get the sterns of the boats to line up so people can pass from vessel to vessel on the swim platforms. This is safer and more practical than climbing across gunwales or over bow rails. Use spring lines to adjust fore and aft position relative to the host vessel.

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5. Protect Freeboard
Use plenty of fenders (only cars have bumpers) and make sure they’re big enough to keep the rafted boats from crunching. Using fenders is easier if boats with similar freeboard are tied next to each other, so consider that when organizing a raft-up.

6. Picture Circles
Be aware of the swinging room your raft would need should wind or current direction change.

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