When’s the last time you checked your spring line? If your boat is properly sprung (tied so it does not move forward) your bow (or stern) should not touch the dock when you move it toward the central walkway of the dock. If it isn’t, you’re not only wrecking the dock, you’re wrecking your boat.
If you see markings on the dock that were made by your boat, your spring line isn’t tied tight enough to keep your boat from bashing into the dock.
Once you tie up, check your spring – Move the boat forward (or aft if you backed in) and make sure your boat doesn’t touch the dock. If your bow doesn’t move forward enough to hit the dock , but angles in toward the dock corner, your stern line needs to be tighter.
On our dock, a spring line should go from the aft dock cleat (or forward dock cleat if you backed in) to beyond the middle of the boat..
The Golden Rules for Mooring Lines
1. Spring Lines should have no slack
2. A Spring Line should not be more than 450 from horizontal
Your stern line will keep the stern from drifting away from the dock, but shouldn’t be as tight as your spring line. Keep just enough slack in bow and stern lines to give the boat some play in case of a boat wake or heavy winds. Otherwise it will chafe your boat and the dock – even with fenders.
There are other ways to tie up to a dock, but this set up works best for our unique situation