Rafting up is the practice of mooring alongside another boat. There are usually two situations when you’d want to do this. First when you’re sailing with friends and want to make a lunch stop and second, when you come into a busy marina.

Whilst rafting up isn’t in practice all that different from coming alongside a pontoon, there are a couple of additional things to consider. Especially in a marina it’s likely you’ll be coming alongside someone you don’t know, so knowing how best to engage with your neighbour can make the difference between a pleasant stay and an awkward one.

In a marina: This nicely written Practical Boat Owner article covers all the essentials, including how to identify and make friends with a partner, organize your lines and make a clean getaway.

Making a lunch stop isn’t all that different, however since you’re in open water there are some other considerations…

  • The heaviest boat should set the anchor (noting that the heaviest might not necessarily be the longest).
  • If more than two boats are rafting up, the anchored boat should stay in the middle. If more boats continue to tie up, alternate each one arriving so that the numbers remain the same on each side of the anchored boat.
  • Be aware of the swinging room your raft would need should wind or current direction change. Don’t end up on the beach 🙂

Lastly, a quick tip from sailing expert, Tom Cunliffe.

😖 When rafting up goes (badly) wrong: What happens when rafted-up boats break free? Watch this video to find out. It’s not pretty.


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