Here is a great way to throw dock lines to a piling or cleat on the dock without having to be a professional cowboy. Often times when docking a boat, getting the first dock line to the dock can be challenging, especially if it is windy or the current is strong. Often in these conditions, your first attempt needs to work or the boat can get in trouble.
I learned this method years ago while traveling and it works great.
Use dock lines that are twice the length you need to reach the dock so that you have enough length to throw it. Grab the two ends using a couple fingers of each hand. One end of the rope needs to have a loop either spliced or with a bowline. These ends will remain in your hand when you throw the line and will be held separately from the coils of rope.
Neatly coil the line up in one hand taking care to make it layered.
Now roughly split the coils into both hands, keeping the grip separate from the ends of the rope.
Now you can throw the weight of the two coils up and over a piling or beyond the cleat on a dock. You should still have both ends of the rope in your hands after you throw. This is a much easier way to hit a target than throwing a lasso.
Now you pass the single end through the loop end and pull the loop down towards the piling or cleat as shown.
Now that you have a loop around the dock, you can use the boat cleat to secure the boat or prepare to stop its momentum in the slip. You can stage the coils in advance and lay them carefully out on the deck so that you can grab the next rope and throw to another piling. This method can save time or save the day!
Check out Capt. Scott’s Offshore Academy Column for many more fishing and boating tips.