These suggestions are only the opinion of the author based on 4 decades of experience

1. Be wary of the wind direction and speed*, this will affect your positioning when you pull up the spreader/sand line

2. If you have a person on the bow, after they signal you that the bow hawser is secured (and their fingers are clear) you may want to put the boat in LIGHT reverse; this will help your alignment and load up the bow hawser so that it is less likely to come loose when the spreader line is pulled back.  NOTE: reverse thrust varies from boat to boat

a. Sailboats with folding props will have less thrust than boats with fixed props and frequently can be left in reverse while the spreader line is being in pulling up the aft hawser.  The person pulling up the spreader line must be wary, in all cases, of getting the line around the keel, rotating (or stopped) propeller and the rudder.

b. Power boats using reverse should use the engine on the side opposite the proposed aft hawser cleat connection. Since a power boat has substantially more thrust than a sailboat, the driver needs to be aware of that thrust, and if it is seems too much, “bump” into, reverse gear only as needed.

c. Once you have the aft hawser in control and in hand, use a separate piece of line, of reasonable strength, to loop through the hawser and fasten both ends to your stern/mooring cleat. This is called a “release line”; it’s purpose is to allow to get your stern off when the mooring lines are loaded up by cross winds or current. If you place the aft hawser on the cleat and it loads up, you’ll be hard pressed to get it off the cleat. NOTE, many people put release lines on both bow and stern hawsers. 

Wind direction and speed can be determined by looking at the flags around the harbor or most sailboats have wind instruments at the top of their masts with direction and anemometer cups.


1. It’s not a bad idea to turnoff you DC main when leaving the boat, unless it’s connected to your refrigeration system, as things like bilge or sump pumps, electric toilets (especially vacuflush), etc, may come on in your absence, and no one wants to burn out these motors or come back to a dead battery.

2. Be polite to your neighbors; a. keep your music to yourselves, and turn your sound system off when leaving the boat b. when running your generator, only run it when you need it. If you have a portable generator aim as much away from the surrounding boats as possible and put a cushion in front of the discharge when prudent.