Photo by Rick Austin

life vest icon Boating Safety



Marine Communications and Traffic Services

March 31, 2015: Mariners are advised that effective 1900 UTC March 31, 2015 all marine communications and traffic services provided from St. John’s will consolidate into Placentia.

Vessels previously calling St. John’s coast guard radio should now call Placentia coast guard radio. The MMSI for St. John’s coast guard radio will be discontinued. Vessels using VHF dsc should now use the Placentia MMSI number 00 316 0019. Any vessel operating in the St. John’s traffic zone will continue to report to St. John’s traffic on VHF channel 11, in accordance with the vessel traffic services zone regulations.

Dockside Power Poles

During the recent storm it was noted that several boats, on both wharves, had the lines attached to power poles adjacent to berths. This is a risky practice and must not take place...

SAFETY REMINDER... Re: “Proper Mooring Lines” for boats in the Marina

It was noted that on recently during a strong windstorm, that was actually forecast... there were several boats in their slips only tied on with bow and stern lines, there were no spring lines on these boats to stop surging fore and aft in the slips, potential for damage to both boat and wharf. Also many lines were woefully undersized for the vessels being secured.

We would like to remind members that when leaving boats for any time, however short, the boat must be properly secured with bow lines, stern lines and most importantly Bow and Stern Spring lines of adequate length and strength. If your boat breaks it's moorings it could cause major damage to your boat and others, be sure you are tied up properly and then check again!!!


rope coil dock cleat

Increasing the number of dock lines means decreasing the chances that a boat will break loose. In the case of Hurricane Fran in 1996, a BoatU.S. catastrophe team that visited the landfall site in North Carolina estimated that as many as 50 percent of the boats damaged could have been saved by using more and better dock lines.

“...the best storm strategy regarding dock lines is to make sure you keep new lines on hand for heavy-weather applications...”

back to top


Preparing your boat for adverse to extreme weather and sea conditions will prevent injury and damage to boats and docks.

  1. Be aware of forecast weather and sea conditions. Check the RNYC Weather Page regularly for local forecasts.
  2. DO NOT STAY ON BOARD during a storm.
  3. Wear a life jacket and go with a buddy when on the wharf to check mooring.
  4. Secure your boat with adequate dock lines. Lines should be doubled up and of sufficient size. For example, for a 30 foot boat, use at least 1/2" or 9/16”. A 40 foot boat, use 5/8” or 3/4" diameter lines.
  5. Use nylon rope to allow 5% to 10% stretch and reduce shock loads on cleats.
  6. Do not use polypropylene. This material is not able to handle chafe and UV. When it fails it explodes and has much less strength for its diameter than nylon.
  7. Use chafe protection wherever a rope passes through a chock or over a rail. Leather is best, but heavy rags are also good. Flexible hose can work but in extreme cases the hose can melt from the heat of constant chafe.
  8. Use lines long enough to accommodate higher tide or storm surge. See attached diagram for the recommended configuration.
  9. Ensure that attachment points on the boat are up to the task. Cleats should be of sufficient size and have proper backing plates. When securing a rope to a cleat, use the correct knot as shown.
  10. When securing a line to the dock, use a clove hitch finished off with a half hitch. If you are securing a line to the main wharf, run it through the deck boards and around the longitudinal beams underneath. The toe rails could be pulled away from the dock in a storm.
  11. When tying off lines to cleats, make sure that the ropes can be easily adjusted from the boat later if necessary. The cleat hitch will allow for this. On other points a bowline is also a useful knot.
  12. Set fenders, but dock lines should be the first line of defense and prevent contact in the first place. If necessary, add additional fenders and secure them to a toe rail or stanchion base on the boat if possible. Do not tie them to life lines.
  13. Remove all canvas from the boat such as dodgers and biminis.
  14. Drop the boom and lash mainsail covers. Better yet, remove the sail completely.
  15. Remove headsails or at least wrap a spare halyard around a furling headsail to prevent it from unwrapping.
  16. Remove or secure any extra deck gear such as BBQ's, radio antennas, dinghies, dorades, side canvas, deck boxes.
  17. Ensure all sea cocks are closed
  18. Secure all hatches and portholes
  19. Lash the rudder or wheel to prevent rudder damage
  20. Ensure there is sufficient slack in power cords if they are left in service. Do not tie them off to cleats or pilings.
  21. Turn off any non critical DC loads such as refrigerators and lights. Shore power could be lost during a storm and your batteries will need to be up for the bilge pump.

Ted Laurentius
Safety Officer


ASA: 3 Important Sailing Knots
RNSYS Hurricane Check Sheet PDF

back to top


Cold Water Survival

The Smart Boater website is managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council in partnership with National Search and Rescue Secretariat, boating organizations, associations and the marine industry. The site offers free high quality boat safety and cold water survival instruction videos.

back to top
more than a marina graphic