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Clothesline Mooring

A tide-beating tie-up.
Boating Safety

Step 2
Head out deep enough to drop the seaward anchor in a spot that will still carry your boat’s draft at low tide. Reeve the line to its midpoint through the block or ring shackled to this anchor. Pay out the doubled line off the stern until the anchor is set, and cleat it off with one leg of the loop. Scope should be appropriate to the circumstance.

Step 3
Motor to shore, paying out the other leg of the line as you go. On the beach, reeve the line through the block or ring of this anchor; bring it back to the boat, and cleat it off at the bow.

Step 4
Heave on one end of the line to pull the boat out to the seaward anchor; heave on the other leg to bring it back in to the beach. Now dine ashore, hike in the woods or camp for the night without fear of returning to the boat and finding it high and dry.

As with any technique, the first time trying the outhaul or clothesline moor may be rough. After that, you’ll nail it and adapt the process to best fit your specific circumstance. After all, most of us aren’t long-range cruisers landing in vastly different terrain every week. But even if you are, the outhaul is a great technique to stow in your bag of tricks.

Tweak the system to refine your outhaul.

1. Attach floats to the line fore and aft of the boat, to keep the two legs separated so current doesn’t twist them together under the water. The floats can be attached by any method, but tying a bowline-on-the-bight makes quick work of it.

2. You can also add snaps to the ends of the line to make hook-up quick.

3. For a dinghy or other small boat, you can drive a post in offshore and attach a block to its top. Reeve the line through this block and through another anchored ashore. Tie the dink's painter to the outhaul with a rolling hitch. Voila! Dinghy Outhaul.

4. If you want to move the boat from your "spot" temporarily, for an hours skiing perhaps, tie a buoy or fender to your outhaul line (using that trusty bowline-on-the-bight again) to make it easy to pick up when you return.

* * * * *

The U.S. Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. Essential steps include: wearing a life jacket at all times and requiring passengers to do the same; never boating under the influence (BUI); successfully completing a boating safety course; and getting a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) annually from local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons(r), or your state boating agency's Vessel Examiners. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to "Boat Responsibly!" For more tips on boating safety, visit

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