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'Bow hauling' a boat along a dock, pier or canal

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What is the issue?
If you have to move a boat that is being serviced alongside a pier or do not wish to start the engine it is a difficult challenge. If you pull from the pier the applied energy tends to draw the boat towards the shore as opposed to parallel to it making it a challenge.

Why address this?
This makes a simple boat move, particularly single-handed, very difficult to achieve.

How to address this?
Use 'bow hauling' lines set up as presented below. Towing the boat with this traditional canal boat approach makes the vessel move in a straight line parallel to the quay or canal edge.

Bow hauling a boat along a dock
Photo: Michael Harpur

As illustrated in the header image, at the top of the page, the historical practice of 'bow hauling' was a common means of moving boats where sailing was impractical due to tunnels and bridges, unfavourable winds, or the narrowness of a channel or canal. The Industrial Revolution's engines and, to the larger part, the coming of the railways consigned the practice of boat towing to history. Although long since converted to multi-use trails, the towpaths remain and are still named towpaths. They are now only occasionally used for the purpose of towing boats. But the line arrangement can still be useful for the ad hoc move of a boat along a dock.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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