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Snap Back Mooring Line Injuries

Actualizado: 6 mar 2023

I would like to introduce myself, Lee Brown and the GROUNDLINE GRAB (GG), and for the rest of this BLOG I will refer to the GROUNDLINE GRAB as GG.

I was lucky enough to work on a variety of boats, including Superyachts and within that time, I recognised that safety for vessels and operatives working on these vessels was of the upmost importance.


I learned that ‘risk assessment’ was an ongoing practice, not only for the Captain but for the crew working on the vessels.

Never be afraid to address the Captains with any of your concerns, whether through a ‘tool box’ talk or an ‘open door’ policy. A good Captain will always be available to listen to your concerns.

One of my earliest concerns was the operation of docking and the hazards which unfold. We all know the dangers of the docking manoeuvres and sadly the statistics show, that are all available on the internet, but for example:

It is stated on WILHELMSEN that a staggering 53% of mooring accidents ae due to ‘snap back’ mooring lines and 1:7 results in death.

In my opinion, this is unacceptable and we have to at least try to eliminate this, in the yachting industry.

It became apparent to me that we needed a safer way to secure these lines and the archaic way of using a stopper line had to stop.

As new synthetic modern lines are now being introduced in to marinas and vessels, we find that the stopper ropes are not adequate to hold these lines under pressure and as for the ground line, the residue which this line picks up from the sea bed, makes it virtually impossible (it’s called a slime line for a reason).

Luckily, I find design fairly easy from my previous career and so it became apparent early on that a tool was needed to grab and hold the line securely and thus eliminating the dangers and stress of the operation and the GG does this job perfectly.

In the operation of the GG, in my opinion, it falls in to the category of ‘Preparation before docking’. This meaning that all equipment in the right area and all operatives knowing their position in the docking procedure in advance and all health and safety requirements met.

Every boat has the cleat(bollards) positioned in different areas of the fore deck. Every Captain has different ways of bringing the ground line in Some Captains prefer the ground line to go straight from the fairlead to the winch. Other Captains will allow the ground line to go through the cleat and then to the winch. I personally prefer the ground line to go through the cleat and is prepared and waiting long before you start to winch the line in.

Once you have winched the line to the adequate tension needed, secure the line firmly to the winch, move across to the cleat , lean forward, close the mouth of the GG, place the spectre line over the protruding centre hook and move away. This operation should take no more than approximately 3 seconds and once you have done this, the line is secure.

This means you are out of danger and no other crew member is in the ‘snap back’ zone. Next you remove the ground line from the winch and secure to the cleat (bollard) and remove the GG.

As you can appreciate, the efficiency and safety of the crew members has moved to a different level just by using a tool (GG), that has been designed to eliminate both stress and danger.

Not only does it eliminate stress and danger, but it is less time consuming and only needs one crew member to operate this, thus saving time and money.

Thanks for reading this and please share so that we can improve the safety on docking.



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Nicola Brown
Nicola Brown
Jul 12, 2022

Not only does this product work but it also looks professional

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