Dock Side

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jimh
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Dock Side

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:42 pm

A long finger pier projects due East from land for 50-feet. You approach the dock from seaward. You read some advice about docking. The advice says: "Tie only to the Port side of the dock."

What side of the dock is the "Port" side?

Jefecinco
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Re: Dock Side

Postby Jefecinco » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:15 am

Good question. Perhaps only one side has cleats or is fendered? Are other boats tied to the finger pier? Is a launch ramp associated with the finger pier? Generally visiting boats or boats tied up preparatory to retrieving are encouraged to tie up on the side opposite any ramp. Lacking any clear instructions or evidence as to whether the east or west side is the preferred side I would probably tie up to the side with the larger body of water. A far better instruction would be to tie up on the east or west side.
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Phil T
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Re: Dock Side

Postby Phil T » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:29 am

Given that the port side of a boat or ship is that of the left side when facing forward, I would suggest it is the left side (facing North) of the pier when standing at the base and looking ahead.

I would consider wind, waves and current when deciding as well.
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ConB
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Re: Dock Side

Postby ConB » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:38 am

My numb winter brain is thinking that that is ambiguous and improper instruction. Boats have port and starboard sides but I don't think docks do.
Tie port side to make sense to me. Or tie to the north or south side of the dock.

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jimp
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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimp » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:19 am

For starters - the "advice" is specific - "tie only to the port side of the dock". Where was the advice written? Waterway guide? Sign on the dock? A buddy's Posit-note on your windshield?

Traditionally, sea-going directions are given in reference to the vessel such as "Red, Right, Returning". In this case with the dock projecting east from the shore and a vessel approaching from the east (heading west) the south side, or left side (port) of the dock is the one to use.

Waterway guides are usually professional enough to state, "Tie only to the south side of the dock."

Knowing how people write now-a-days, who knows? Did a landlubber looking offshore writes the note? Obviously moor to the north side.

Proceed with caution.

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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:01 pm

The advice was given in an Active Captain report. I don't mean to imply that readers should infer that Active Captain endorses this use of Port and Starboard. The report was likely submitted by an individual. Whether it was reviewed for consistent use of common terms for navigation is unknown to me.

This advice was given regarding use of a dock in a national park. The Active Captain report says, verbatim:

This dock is next to the area campground and the park boats have priority on the starboard side but the port side is available for transients.


I found use of Port and Starboard to describe side of a dock to be confusing. I cannot find any definition for Port or Starboard that applies to anything but a vessel.

Regarding a possible interpretation as being intended to mean to refer to which side of the boat should be put alongside the dock, this is not in any way defining, as the orientation of the boat affects this. If the boat is bow towards land, then mooring to the Port-side of the boat means using the north side of the dock. But if the boat is tied to the dock with its stern towards land, then a Port-side mooring means using the south side of the dock.

The most reasonable interpretation would seem to be to use Port and Starboard as being in reference to how the dock will appear to a boat approaching the dock from the East and heading due West, directly in line with the dock. The "Port side" of the dock would then be interpreted to mean the side as seen to be toward the Port side of the vessel when approaching in line with the dock. With the vessel heading due West, the dock side that would be toward the Port side of the vessel would be the South side. However, in this particular situation, one approaches the dock from the North, and there is very limited room to maneuver to approach the dock from due East.

ASIDE: this advice is also misleading in that it asserts that there is an open side of the dock. The actual park regulations say:

The following docks are closed to accommodate passenger ferry operations according to
the following schedule. Times listed in Eastern Daylight Time...McCargoe Cove: Mon/Wed/Sat 2:30 p.m.


Which I interpret to mean the whole dock is off limits at those times, and the ferry has exclusive use of the dock when it arrives. I don't know which side of the dock the ferry prefers to use. The ferry might prefer the North side of the dock, but I have no idea what side it actually normally ties to when visiting.

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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:06 pm

ALSO: the actual park regulations refers to sides of a dock by using their orientation with respect to the compass. For example (from the previously cited regulations--see link above):

The following docks are closed to public use:...North side of the Malone Bay Dock...

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jimp
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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimp » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:17 pm

JimH -

Good for the park service.

Your observation on the Active Captain writer are likely valid - submitted by an individual, using nautical terminology that doesn't apply to shore structures.

For accommodating the passenger ferry, the entire dock looks closed - giving the ferry operator the option of either side depending on weather conditions (wind). It may be that the operator chooses the north side most of the time thus that would appear to be the "closed" side.

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Re: Dock Side

Postby fno » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:36 am

I agree with the comments as well. We are discussing a land based structure and when doing, the points of a compass are the correct way to determine orientation. The fact that the ferry has priority is probably related to the fact the ferry unlike the average boater wants to be up against that dock for ease of boarding and un-boarding of passengers which means the windward side and that could be either one. The average small boater with half a brain doesn't want their boat banged up against said pier so they pick the leeward side and tie up tight for boarding purposes. Given that the wind does not blow in the same direction for very long, it makes sense that the pier is closed for the ferry operation.

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Re: Dock Side

Postby porthole » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:42 pm

My take, since it is not clear, and to add more useless nautical nomenclature.

Finger pier - dock projecting from land:

Part of dock attached to land is the stern, part jutting out to sea, the bow, as you walk from the land towards the water, your left side is port.

As you approach for a bow-in landing, the vessel's port side will tie up on the dock's port side, or the side of the dock on left of the dock as seen from land to water.

But, since the dock is obviously not properly lit or equipped with day shapes , whichever side has enough room and available cleats.
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Re: Dock Side

Postby Wweez » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:35 am

The term port designates the side of the craft opposite the more fragile steering board side or rudder side which was mostly, (but not in every case) attached to the right side of the craft; that left the other side (or left side mostly) of the craft available to snuggle up to the port reducing the risk of damage to the steering board on the right side of the craft. The term "port side" came to be the side of the craft against the port.

Given the origin of the term as applied to a watercraft, it might follow that the dock which does not have a steering board, nor the ability to snuggle its other side up against the port, actually does not and may not have a port or even steering board side.

[Deleted a portion of this reply in which the inappropriate use of port and starboard directions was attributed to the wrong source--jimh]

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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:30 pm

Wweez--The source of the confused use of the terms port and starboard is some anonymous mariner who contributed to a public information sharing site (Active Captain).

There is no disagreement here that the terms port and starboard are athwartship directions on a vessel, not designators for the sides on a pier.

6992WHALER
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Re: Dock Side

Postby 6992WHALER » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:45 pm

Just to have fun with the term Port

Maybe it is not referring to the left side of a boat/dock (port), maybe it is referring to the protected anchorage (port) side of the dock, or marina (port) side of the dock or the harbor (port) side of the dock, as these would all be the port side of the dock according to my interpretation of Chapman.

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Re: Dock Side

Postby jimh » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:15 pm

John--your interpretation would make sense--except in this case the pier comes out from land at 90-degrees to shore, so there really is not a "port" side. In cases were the pier does have a side that is protected, I would refer to that as the "inside" or lee side of the pier, and the side exposed more would be the seaward or windward side.