Technical maintenance

Successful anchoring on a long mooring line (part 1)

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March 3, 2023

NauticEd is the #1 in nautical e-learning. Based in the United States, they specialize in boater training and navigation certification which is internationally recognized, not only by federations but also by charter companies! Today, this Wikipedia of online nautical training, gives us some tips on what is called the Mediterranean mooring.


A long warp passed ashore is a very practical method of mooring. Mainly used in the Mediterranean as the standard system, the method allows for several boats to moor in a short stretch of space. But it can also be useful anywhere, especially when there’s no dock or marina but only a bare undeveloped shoreline.

To sum up, this maneuver, known as “Med mooring”, consists of anchoring close to the shoreline, and after backing down on the anchor, securing one or more mooring lines from the stern of the boat to a fixed point ashore.

Here are some tips and techniques that will make your Med mooring, using long warps, more efficient.


Setting up

As with everything, preparation is the most important element to ensure success. First of all, you need to select a suitable location. And there are a few things to consider when choosing your anchorage position.



You must do a quick reconnaissance to assess the depth where you want to drop anchor, as well as close inshore. You can’t anchor too deep and you can’t anchor too shallow either, as your rudders might touch the bottom as you go astern towards the shore.


Then look for a specific point ashore that you’ll be able to tie to. It could be a well-placed tree, or a rock of a suitable shape, so that you can tie the mooring line to it without risk of it slipping off.



Ideally, it’s best to use floating mooring lines, but they’re not mandatory. They are easier to send ashore, and because they float, there’s less risk of them getting caught in your propellers. The mooring lines must be long – longer than you’d think at first sight – because the final position you choose could be anywhere between 6 and 45 meters (20 to 150 feet) from the shoreline.

You can attach mooring lines together to increase the overall length, but even then, they must be long. A pair of docklines probably won’t be enough. If you’re sailing a charter boat, make sure that the charter company provides you with at least two long warps.

Most likely, your long mooring lines will be deployed from the boat to the shore at an angle, so be careful not to secure the them on the wrong side of the pushpit or a stanchion, otherwise you might run the risk of ripping them out of the deck.

Two long mooring lines are the best solution to prevent the boat from swinging in the event of a wind shift. If you have the wind on the beam, the first line you run ashore must be the windward one.

When using very long mooring lines, you’re recommended to attach a series of floats to them to make them more visible to other boaters.




Prepare the maneuver with the crew and communicate precisely what each person’s role is. There are a few important points to consider:

  • Will the mooring line be swum ashore or will it be taken in the tender?
  • What is the shoreline like? If the shore is rocky, shoes will be required for the person responsible for the mooring lines. Beware of sea urchins!
  • Who will be the most suitable and competent person to undertake this operation?
  • Will the chosen person be able to make a bowline or a round turn and two half hitches without making any mistakes?
  • Who will be in charge of anchoring and do they know all the relevant procedures?
  • What are the wind conditions? Winds from fore or aft are easy to detect, but if the wind is on the beam, you require a certain level of boat handling experience. If the wind is blowing at more than 7 knots, you won’t have much time to perform your maneuver, especially in crosswind conditions.
  • Catamarans are easier to handle than monohulls when you have to keep a stationary position.


There are two ways to get the mooring lines ashore: by swimming or using the tender.



Although swimming is fun and enjoyable from the beach, the wind is still a decisive factor (not to mention the water temperature). Swimming on the coast can take time and it can be difficult for the helmsman to remain stationary in the intended location if the wind is on the beam. Make sure your person is a competent swimmer who can also tie an effective knot. Remember to protect your feet once on the shoreline.


In the event of crosswinds, once the boat has backed down on the rode, and got the anchor dug in to its final position, the swimmer can take the end of the windward mooring line, which has previously been cleated off outside the pushpit, and then swim it to shore. A crew member will assist the swimmer by uncoiling the mooring line, reporting to the helmsman on the progress of the maneuver, and keeping the line away from the propeller. Once tied off ashore, the crew member back on board will take up his end on the cleat.

The swimmer can then return to the boat and take the leeward mooring line (in the case of a crosswind) ashore and secure it.


Even in the absence of crosswinds, you should consider that wind conditions can change. Also, it’s always wise to have your two mooring lines set at an angle.

In the dinghy:

If you plan to use the tender to pass a long mooring line ashore, you’re going to have a bit more flexibility in relation to the wind. You can either pass the entire mooring line (not cleated-off) using the tender once the boat is in position, or in the case of trickier wind conditions, you can first use the tender (again with the entire mooring line on board and not cleated-off on the boat) before dropping the anchor.


In difficult wind conditions (wind on the beam), start by choosing an appropriate anchorage position and the right points for mooring to. Stop the boat a way off the chosen location, then send the tender ashore and both mooring lines, with the appropriate crew. The crew on board the tender will secure the windward line to the selected point ashore and bring it back to your intended anchorage position. Once this operation is completed, the helmsman can give the order to anchor, bringing the boat astern, and back to the tender, and attach the windward mooring line onto a cleat. Then, the crew in the tender will perform the same maneuver with the leeward mooring line.


See this tutorial detailing how to use the tender to get a long mooring line ashore.


If the wind is favorable, the conditions are good for anchoring, set the boat to its final position and perform the line-handling maneuvers using the tender. As a reminder, a catamaran is easier to maintain in a stationary position because of its maneuverability under engine.


Once the long mooring lines and anchor are set, it is advisable to tension everything up, in order to prevent the wind from pushing the boat against neighboring boats that have done the same thing as you. To do this, using the engine, back down on the anchor, take up the slack from the mooring lines and cleat them off. Or, move ahead on your anchor by taking the slack in the anchor line to the windlass, which will put more tension in your mooring lines.


Finally, if possible, it’s always a good idea to dive on the anchor to ensure that it is dug in and to check that the length of your mooring lines is sufficient.


We hope you found this article useful! This information doesn’t constitute strict rules and the responsibility for maneuvering a boat remains with the captain. Only the person in command can and should make decisions to maintain the integrity of the safety of his boat and crew.


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