Heaving line rigging


Silly question that has been bugging me, this seemed like the best topic available to post it under:

On larger ships, there is often a large opening or even a balcony on which a crew member stands to through the heaving line. This platform is often rather far from the fairlead/chock from which the mooring line originates. This is often the case at the bow and sometimes for the stern line running to the center chock or offshore at the stern.

The question is, how do they run the heaving line outboard from the crew position to the chock to connect with the main mooring line? Do they drape the line down from the weather deck and hook it?

Hopefully this image uploads, it is a decent example, some cases I’ve seen are even more extreme.

Such a silly question, probably a simple answer. Thanks!

Another decent example

I never worked on a vessel with an enclosed bow but would imagine a messenger is rigged which remains in place between the various stations. You could always rig it each time by lowering it from the weather deck as well.

I’d always thought the platforms main function was for the Mate to keep an eye on the lines as they are coming in.

We had continuous messenger lines that ran from the chocks to where we could tie the heaving line to them at the platform. Had to replace them fairly often due to wear and tear, but it worked. Not sure how they do it on a “pretty” cruise ship where semi-permanent loops of line at the bow would probably be frowned on though.

You can see them here along with the liferaft painter lines.

There are messenger lines visible in your third image.

And here they are on QE2.

This is as they are approaching port. It does not show whether the lines were left in place during passage, or how they got the line in place in preparation for docking.

That big orange thing is a LIFEBOAT, not a LIFE RAFT.

Perhaps they called it a raft on days when the engine wouldn’t start?

Slip of the pen, I expect.

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Not just any port, either. This is QE2 on the approach to her final resting place in Dubai as a floating hotel. A sad end for the last purpose-built ocean liner.

I expect so too.

That picture appears to be one of the new queens and not the QE2. Cunard built two more after the Queen Mary 2 which, if I’m not mistaken, was designed more as an ocean liner than a cruise ship. This looks like the Queen Elisabeth and I believe there is also the Queen Victoria.

Yea, I noticed those too, which answered half the question. The other half being how the messengers got there- must’ve been from the weather deck, I suppose.

No this is not QE2 but the present one (without a number)

Thanks for the insight. Replacement was probably pretty easy, but if the line ever properly chaffed through, you’d have to drape each end down from the weather deck, yes?

That is correct. Watch them together in Liverpool for the 175th anniversary of Cunard Line:

The Brits know how to make a show.

Here is a picture of P&O’s Britannia as she leaves from Aalesund, 12.07.18:

No messenger or heaving lines left outside the fairleads.

One trick is to stick a boat hook (or similar) out the opening where the end of the heaving line is needed. Then from the deck above or from close by on the same deck toss the bitter end of the heaving line over it. The crew holding the boat hook pulls it in and retrieves the end of the line.

If the line is being passed from directly above just dangle the line down and the crew with the boat hook snags it.

Some ports use a line boat. The crew lowers the line to the boat and they tow one end to the pier. No heaving lines needed.

They all use these short tag lines at the eye of the ropes: