Moving A Nested Fishboat: Local Knowledge

by John MacFarlane 2016

Nested Vessels

Fish boats berthed three deep at Campbell River BC 2016. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

On a visit to Campbell River recently it occurred to me that when the fishing fleet gathers for an opening that the harbour gets really crowded. Boats are usually berthed nested two deep on the wharf fingers. I’ve seen photographs of some harbours in the past where boats are nested five deep (or more). How do owners get their boat out when its time to leave? What is the protocol? A number of members of the British Columbia Nautical History Facebook Group shared their local knowledge with me and I felt it was important to consolidate it into one source.

Anthony Paul stated: "We used to make arrangements before hand, often rearranging the day before so that the occupants of the inner boats did not have to wake up at "o’dark thirty". Usually there was lots of help around to move the boats. French Creek Marina is a good example of local co–operation.".

Don Mancha stated: "My understanding of any dock is that if you tie outside someone you understand that they could be leaving at some point (obv, some vessels look like they have been there a while) so you try to keep an eye on your boat so you can run down and do the move should that time come, or realize that your boat may be moved upon return. Typically a wharf rat or two would be around who could provide helpful tips as who is leaving/best place to tie, etc.".

Alan Haig Brown stated: "I have seen a similar thing with seiners. The departing boat lets the lines for from the dock, or the boat inside it, then, using the engine, swings the boats outside until they are back alongside where his crew can re affix the lines. In Ocean Falls the boats would be up to ten deep. It could be a chore to get one out and you needed someone outside of you to fire up also.".

Al Jack stated: "if there are two people I put a long rope to the float from the bow of the out side boat ... then untie the inside boat, push out the stern ... back out ... then the other person pulls the outside boat to the float. This was only good for gillnet/troller type boats though. I’ve seen the method described by Alan Haig Brown used with seiners also, but they used their power skiff to push the outside boat back to the float.".

Thomas Sewid stated: "Always been no problem, just slip out and crew of one or more pulls in the outside boat. Use the bow thruster if it’s windy to help push boats in (with fenders of course). Tie the other boat up properly with two spring lines and make sure shore power is plugged in and working. Now having worked with yachties over the years, they have a lot to learn from the commercial fisherman. It almost takes an Act of Parliament/or Congress to even think of double tying, let alone (God forbid) – untie a boat (with the owner not aboard) shouting orders while tripping over their "fi–fi" dog!".

Terry Slack stated: "Make sure the boats being untied have floatable PolyLines. The boat leaving can take a nylon one (which floats) around the prop and that means an expensive diver to fix it!".

Chuck Velie stated: "If you have a maneuverable boat it’s easy. Just pull out and flip around and pin them to the dock and tie them up. If you have a normal boat it's a bitch. In Fourchon we used to stack offshore supply boats three deep. I’ve done a lot of maneuvering with a couple boats hanging off the side of mine. The trick was to do it without waking up the crews of the other boats.".

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2016) Moving A Nested Fishboat: Local Knowledge. 2016.

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