The 5 Quick Tips of berthing

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1 The Obvious
Ensure there is sufficient depth of water at all tides in an environment that is without waves or swell.  In fact if there is wave action in excess of 300mm the location is most unsuitable for the permanent berth.

2 The Limit
To ensure the vessel is well secured a berth such as a fixed or floating structure should be at least 80% of the length of the vessel.  If this is not possible then the distance can be augmented by a mooring pile that supports the vessel in association with the berth.

3 The Wind
The primary thought is always the safety of the vessel and to this end the owner will always wonder what forces can impact this safe harbour.  In all of the calculations of current or berthing impacts it is the power of the wind upon the sail area of the vessel that must be resisted by the lines and cleats.

4 The Spring Line 
This is the diagonal one running longitudinally bow to stern.  This should be as long as possible.  It will prevent the vessel moving forward and aft along the dock face.

5 Ropes

Lines should be used to their maximum length wherever possible as this allows more stretch to be applied initially as well as less chance of breaking under strain.  In poor weather double lines is done before a storm, and even direct to piles if in doubt about the cleat strength.


The berth of a new marina finger

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We have always looked for ways to make marine berthing easier for boaties. I love being on the water and remember my early attempts at boating when I really thought I had learned a lot about how to handle the vessel except when it came time to berth. I always loved the fact that the fuel dock had massive fenders, so even if I stuffed up a bit, the crash could not be heard by the punters up at Fishos pub. In fact like all boaties, the berthing task proved worrisome at first. I had to learn fast as my good friend Ron D’Albora had assigned me berth B23 right in front of a packed bar spilling over with judgemental gazes as we returned on a Sunday afternoon. Add to that a boatlift to navigate into as well, with 300mm on each side and the challenge and stress rose yet again.

As is usual your mates will always assist. I had good advice from my son Ryan ( the skipper) who said “just drive it as you can’t steer if you aren’t moving.”. The other great tip was from my mate Matt, who said, don’ t worry too much if you ding it, as it is only gelcoat and it’s fixable.

Over the years you do improve with practice. However sometimes wind and current conspire to still place your boat in an awkward spot, one in which you never intended to be. One of the worst of these is half way into a finger when you realize that contact is going to occur, whether you keep going in or out!

After being caught before we decided that our marine berths should be naturally soft on the vessel berthing surface and be somewhat forgiving of life’s nautical nuances. Therefore we added the Superior fender that makes the whole surface a shock absorber. However we still had the end of the finger that was an exposed risk area, with an angular shape just waiting to record every error with a sharp groove in your hull.

Therefore the FINGERTIP was born, and berths got better. Marinas now have arms, fingers and at last, fingertips. On the new project in progress at Capri on Via Roma we have featured all the fingers with beautifully moulded ends ready to guide boats into their berthing position. Darren, Dan and Steve in our factory have been crafting these Fingertips and they add a functional stylish statement to the facility.

This is design evolution with a need leading to better outcomes. Let me know if you want a set of Superior Fingertips at your marine berth.