IN speaking of a vessel as moored, we may refer to the use of fixed moorings in a harbor or alongside of a wharf; or the ship may be “moored” head and stern. But the expression, as generally understood, means (when her own ground-tackle is used) that the ship has two anchors down in opposite directions from the vessel, one cable having been made rather taut before the second anchor was let go, and there being an equal scope on each chain.

If a ship lets go her single anchor (say in 5 fathoms), in the very centre of a harbor, which we will call about 200 fathoms wide, and “steep to,” all around, and then veers 100 fathoms of cable, she would occupy every part of the harbor, as the wind or current happened to move her.

If it be desired to keep her stationary in the centre, shortening the cable in to 5 fathoms would not effect it, for the first puff of wind would cause her to start her anchor.

But let us ascertain from what quarter the prevailing heaviest wind blows; weigh, haul over, and let go an anchor in that direction, 60 fathoms from the centre; then, with a warp, haul the ship over in the very opposite direction, veering the cable 120 fathoms from the last position, and then let go the second anchor. Now heave in 60 fathoms of the first cable, veering 60 fathoms on the last, and we shall have the ship moored in a stationary position in the centre of the harbor; and many other ships (suppose room on each side) may share the harbor by similar means, as shown by the full-lined ships in Fig. 456, Plate 101.

Whether we moor with a whole, or merely half a cable each way, or lay the anchors out in any direction (so long as they are in opposite ones, and one cable is moderately taut before we let go the second anchor), is of no consequence as far as concerns the principle we are considering.

Now with regard to the direction. Say that the prevailing gales are northerly, and one comes on from that quarter so heavy that we should veer cable. If the other ships have attended properly to this contingency, all may veer simultaneously without fouling each other, and the riding cable of each ship will tend straight to their weather anchors; in other words, they will all have open berths and open hawse, as shown by the dotted line ships in Fig. 456.

Plate 101, Fig 456-459.  Mooring ships showing lay of anchor. Chain hook.


It is clear that with a long scope of cable, we have all the additional weight of chain in our favor, that the ship’s bows are less dragged downward than at a short stay, and the pull on the anchor being horizontal, the palm bites all the harder. When we wish to make the best use of our power, we must get as close to the resistance as possible. We do not want to move the anchor; and some officers prefer veering even as much as two cables on end to letting go other anchors.Now suppose that one or both of the other ships had moored without regard to the position of our anchors and the direction of the prevailing gales. As long as the weather was fine, and we did not want to move, it would be of no great consequence, as shown by the full-lined ships in Fig. 457.

But we want to move. B has overlaid our south anchor, and we cannot pick it up. A has overlaid our north anchor, and we cannot pick it up.

Or it comes on to blow hard from the northward, and we want to veer; but B is in our way, and we must hold on until it pleases him to veer, and he, either from neglect or ignorance in thus mooring his ship, sees no distress.

A has swung close to our port bow, as in the dotted line ship, Fig. 457, his starboard cable is sawing at our weather one; both A and B, moreover, are riding on spans, and our ship and A are much embarrassed.

At length we will suppose that B veers cable, and then that we and A veer; our new positions would be as in Fig. 458, and if a sudden lull or shift of wind occurred, the distress would be general. For we, as well as B, would have to wait for A, and B for us, before enough cable could be shortened in to keep the ships clear of each other.

Hence it is, that, when a flag officer desires to have his ships as close together as possible, he orders them to moor; and to prevent collisions while veering or picking up their anchors, he points out the direction of the anchors. To preserve, likewise, an imposing and well-dressed line, he specifies the quantity of cable that is to be veered by each, and also enforces the use of buoys, that each ship may be enabled to ascertain the position of another’s anchors.

These are some, but not all, of the reasons for mooring. For instance, in a river too narrow for a ship to swing in at single anchor without grounding, or too shoal to do so without striking on the upper pee of her anchor, and perhaps settling on it as the tide fell, it would be necessary to make her a fixture. But this also would require consideration. By laying the anchors out in a line with the stream, they would be in the best position for holding, in the event of freshets or gales coming on, in concert with the tide; but, excepting the small distance she could sheer by the action of the helm, her exposure to collisions from an


enemy’s fire-ships or rafts dropping down with the tide, or from vessels navigating the river, would be great; whereas, by having the anchors athwart the stream, either cable could be veered, and the ship quickly moved to one side or other.If the water is shoaler than the ship can reach, one anchor may be carried out in a boat, and a greater scope given in consequence.

When it is optional, moor in northern latitudes with reference to the chances being strongly in favor of gales beginning at southwest, and ending at northwest.

For the same reason, in northern latitudes lie at single anchor with the port bower; if you have to let go the starboard anchor, you will then have open hawse.

If safety is the only consideration, and there is plenty of room to swing, a ship is obviously better off when riding at single anchor than when moored. For upon the appearance of a gale, you can veer at pleasure and be certain of having your second anchor in line with the wind when let go, with a long scope on each chain. A vessel which has been moored never has both cables in line with the wind, except when the ship is just between them, and therefore only riding by one, or after veering, when she lays with a very long scope on one chain, and a correspondingly short scope on the other.

When moored and veering in a gale, the anchors being in the direction of the wind, the lee cable must be shortened in to prevent dragging it over its anchor; for there is some risk of tripping the lee anchor as the weather cable is veered.

A ship should never be girt by her moorings. At such a place as Panama, for example, where the rise and fall of the tide are very great, suppose a ship were to be moored and both chains hove taut at low water. The great strain brought on her by the rising tide, provided the anchors held, may be imagined; and if, in addition to this, she should swing around several times and foul her hawse, the effect on her copper and fastenings would soon tell.


All hands having been called to “moor ship,” the first lieutenant takes the deck, and the other officers repair to their stations as in “bringing ship to anchor.” The officer of the forecastle will see hands by the anchor to be let go, and will give directions to those on the main deck as to veering, &c.*

* In many ships it is customary for the navigator to take charge on the forecastle, the senior watch officer superintending the ground-tackle on the gun-deck.


The navigator will see the second anchor ready for letting go, and the chain clear. Let us suppose that the starboard anchor was first let go, the port one must then be ready. He will see all clear for veering on the starboard cable, and men at their stations as in “coming to.” When the starboard cable is veered as far as necessary, he will “bring to” on it, and unbitt the port one, for convenience in veering, unless in very deep water. The boatswain attends on the forecastle, and pipes as directed by the lieutenant in charge of the forecastle. The carpenter, with his crew, will ship and swifter in the capstan bars, put on gratings, knock up stanchions, &c., and report to the lieutenant in charge of main deck when ready.The principal stations of the crew are, to man both capstans, to veer cable, on deck at the wheel, the lead, signals, by the anchor, two men in each top, a man at each mast to attend gear. Tierers below, compressor-men on berth-deck.


The first anchor having been let go in the proper position, and with reference to the state of the hawse to prevailing winds, the first lieutenant will inform the navigator as to the scope he wishes on each chain. The navigator will veer away to double this range (supposing an equal scope on each), keeping the last shackle abaft the bitts, for otherwise, supposing the chain well laid out, it would be mooring too taut. The mizzen topsail may be set, if necessary, and the ship sheered with it, and the helm, to the position of the second anchor. The chain must be laid well out before the second anchor is let go; when that is done (the second anchor let go), the first lieutenant directs the boatswain to call “furl sail,” and having furled them, will direct him to call “moor ship.” The navigator will “bring to,” and the first lieutenant then commands, “HEAVE ROUND!” the stoppers are taken off (if any have been put on), when the cable is hove taut, and the chain is unbitted as it comes in, and payed below, if clean. Let us suppose that the port anchor was first let go, and that we veered ninety fathoms on it. The navigator is guided in veering the starboard cable by the amount hove in on the port; observing never to check her. Finally, veer the forty-five-fathom shackle half way between the hawse-hole and bitts, and heave in the forty-five-fathom shackle on the port chain, to the same place. They will then be convenient for clearing hawse.

If the swivel is to be put on immediately, the shackles had better be kept just outside of the hawse-holes, unless the swivel is so small that it can be passed through the


hawse-pipe, in which case keep the shackle of the riding cable (the port one in this case) inside the hawse-hole. In regard to the position of the shackles, it may be well to bear in mind, if in any doubt, that it is much better to keep them too far inside than the other way, as cable can be veered by two or three hands; but to heave it in, requires a deck tackle and all hands.When intending to put the swivel on, the weather cable may be veered a fathom or so more than otherwise before the lee anchor is let go, as putting it on slacks the chain.

If a ship is moored too taut she may trip her anchors in case of a foul hawse, and the cables chafe the cut-water. If moored too slack, the swivel will not turn. The navigator should look at the state of the hawse every morning, in order to assure himself that the swivel is in good order.

Some time ago, a man-of-war lying at Valparaiso, in some fifteen or twenty fathoms water, and moored with the swivel on, was unable to clear the hawse and get her anchors. The swivel had notturned and no attention had been paid to it. The ship was finally forced to slip her chains and leave the anchors behind, to be weighed by an anchor-hoy.

When the ship is moored with the proper scope, the navigator will put on the stoppers, and report to the first lieutenant, who then directs the boatswain to “pipe down.”

The vessel is now moored with a scope of forty-five fathoms on each cable, and will swing to the wind or tide, forming a sweep within her moorings. No vessel should be moored with cables so slack, or with so little scope out, as to swing over her buoys or beyond her own moorings.

The foregoing example shows the proper course to pursue, when the spot to place the second anchor is directly to leeward of the first; but should that not be the case, she must be, by the use of hawsers taken out to the shore. or to another vessel; or by the use of a kedge, roused over to the proper spot, veering on the first cable while doing so. Then place the second anchor and proceed as just directed.

Should steam be up, of course that would be used.


You may veer to the full scope (ninety or one hundred and twenty fathoms) any time during the tide, and drop the second anchor before slack water; for with a good scope of cable, and the current still running, you may give her a considerable sheer with the helm. After the second


anchor is down, bitt and stopper the cable, and wait the change of tide; when, having swung to the second anchor, you may proceed to moor as before directed.


This manoeuvre is sometimes performed by officers, and with brilliant success, even in single-decked ships; but a satisfactory result is doubtful under such conditions.

There are two methods of making a flying moor; in either case you have first to determine in what direction the two anchors should be placed.

First Method. Have everything in readiness for anchoring and mooring, a range of one hundred and twenty fathoms of one cable, and sixty of the other, on deck; and, having made every preparation for shortening sail, approach the anchorage boldly. Clew up everything, and let go the first anchor while she has headway on sufficient to run out the whole range of one hundred and twenty fathoms. Then luff up into the wind, let go the other anchor, and proceed to heave in to an equal scope on each.

Second Method. Approach the spot where you intend to place the weather anchor, lay everything flat aback, and the moment the headway ceases, let go the first anchor, and veer to as she drops astern. Then clew up everything, and having run out the full scope of one hundred and twenty fathoms, stopper the cable and let go the other anchor. Bring to on the first and equalize the ranges. This is only proper when the places to drop the anchors are directly in the range of the wind.

In a very light air, the first anchor (in the first method) may be let go under all sail, clewing up the moment it is gone; but in a fresh breeze, and having much headway on, you should always clew up first.

As soon as the ship is moored, the bearings should be taken and entered on the log, together with the depth of water in which the anchors were let go, and the scope of cable out.

The state of the hawse may be known by fixing two pieces of silk thread to the compass-card in the direction of the anchors, and fastening their ends to some place above it. For every turn in the cables there will be a corresponding one in the threads.


As there are rarely any fitments for securing stern cables we must take them to the mizzen mast, lash them to breeching


bolts in the bulwarks, or to the cradle bolts, or the mooring shackles outside.Sometimes the ends of the stern cable are secured on shore, the bight being on board; in this case, after veering away on the bowers, and securing the stern fasts, heave ahead until moored taut enough. When using hemp cables or hawsers in this way, put plenty of good parcelling on in the wake of all chafes, and occasionally “freshen the nips,” or use mats instead of parcelling.

Should four anchors be required, ascertain the ship’s berth when moored, and mark the intended position of each anchor by small temporary buoys. Make every preparation for mooring.

Suppose the ship riding by the port bower. Plant a heavy kedge in the proper direction and haul over, or by means of a steam-tug, get the ship over to the berth of the starboard quarter anchor (starboard sheet), and let it go. This lays out in a straight line the port bower. Bring to on the latter, and heave in to the proper scope, veering carefully on the starboard quarter chain. The work is now half done. The other two anchors may be planted by either of the following methods:

First. Send them out from the ship, one at a time, by means of a lighter, steam-tug, or boats (the latter method will be given hereafter), and let go in the proper positions. When both are so planted, clap deck tackles on the cables, get them suitably taut, and secure.

Second. Having the work half accomplished, as before described, put a good buoy and buoy-rope on both chains (port bower and starboard sheet), unshackle inboard, slip them both, and haul over by kedge or otherwise to the berth of the starboard bower, let it go, and haul over to the berth of the port quarter anchor, let it go, bring to on the starboard bower, and heave in to the proper scope-or, in other words, repeat with the remaining two anchors, the first half of the operation. The ship being now in her central berth, she may, by means of the buoy-ropes, pick up her port bower and starboard sheet, and heave all taut to liking.


If the stern moorings are made fast to the shore, simply cast off the ends, clap on deck-tackles, and walk them inboard.

If moored with anchors astern, to unmoor, proceed in the following manner:

Let us suppose that we are moored with the two bower anchors ahead, and the two sheet anchors astern. Pass a good hawser out of the sheet hawse-hole, on each side;


take the ends aft, outside of everything, and bend them to the stern cables at the nearest shackles. Have all clear for veering the bowers; unbitt them, and set mizzen topsail (aback), if the wind is light and ahead; stopper the stern cables, unshackle them at the nearest shackle inside the stern-port or pipe, and be ready to slip. Veer away the bower chains roundly, slip the after cables, man the hawsers, and walk the stern cables in through the sheet hawse-holes. Veer away the bowers, clap deck-tackles on the sheet cables, and heave them in. When near the berth of the starboard sheet anchor, slack the port sheet cable, and heave the starboard sheet up and down, with the deck-tackle. Stopper the bower cables, bring to on the starboard sheet, and heave it up with the capstan. Cat it, and then heave up the port sheet in the same way. Cat it, and bring to on the lee bower; put the deck-tackle on the weather one; heave round and walk away. When the lee anchor is up and down, avast heaving, stopper the weather cable, and send all hands on deck to assist in transporting the sheet anchors to their places; when that is done, heave up the lee anchor, cat and fish it; heave in, or veer away, to the required scope on the weather cable, and pipe down.If, when mooring, it was found necessary to drop one (or both) anchors in water too shoal to float the ship, send the launch out to weigh it. Bring to on the cable, and when the launch has lifted the anchor clear of the bottom, heave round slowly, and bring the launch near the bows; she will then slip the anchor, and it will be hove up.


When a ship is moored the sails are generally unbent, with the exception of the jib and spanker. With these two sails, the helm, and a knowledge of the principles of tending ship, an officer can scarcely go amiss. If the stern of the ship must go to starboard to keep the hawse clear, put the helm to starboard at the last of the old tide, and to port at the beginning of the new. This will have the effect of sending the stern to starboard and making her swing as desired. Use the spanker if it can be made effective.

A little attention in this matter on the part of the officer of the deck may save a great deal of work in clearing hawse. Should it be required to swing against the wind, use the jib.


A vessel moored, and riding by either anchor, having


the cables clear of each other, “rides with a clear hawse.” If her head is in a line between the two anchors, so that the cables will each lead out from their respective sides, and clear of the stem, she then “rides to an open hawse.”If, by swinging, she brings the cables to bear upon each other, so as to be chafed by the motion of the vessel, she has “a foul hawse.”

If, from having an open hawse, she has swung half round, or performed a half circle, she brings “a cross in the hawse,” and that cable will be uppermost from which she swung. If it is the starboard cable which is uppermost, she must swing to starboard, if the port, to port, to clear the hawse.

But if she swings the wrong way, that is, continues the same way she swung before, performing another half circle, then there will be “an elbow in the hawse,” the same cable being uppermost. We will suppose that in both instances she has swung to port, then the starboard cable is of course over the port one, and she must swing to starboard to bring the hawse clear. Thus, from an open hawse she has performed a full circle to produce an elbow.

The next half circle in the same direction brings “a round turn” in the hawse.

And the next half circle, “a round turn and elbow,” and so on.

An attentive officer will always endeavor to make his vessel, having a cross in the hawse, swing so as to clear it, by means of the helm or otherwise. But if she swings the wrong way, he should lose no time in resorting to the operation of clearing hawse by the cables.

To Clear Hawse. Get up the clear-hawse gear. This consists of deck-tackles, hook-ropes, the clear-hawse pendant and the hawse-rope.

Deep-Tackles are heavy double purchases, with a hook in each block.

Hook Ropes are single ropes, with a hook in one end, and are used in lighting along the chain, in connection with long-handled chain-hooks. Fig. 459.

The Clear-Hawse Pendant is a heavy hemp rope, tailed with chain and having a shackle, or (better) a pelican hook in the chain end.

The Hawse-Rope is a stout hemp rope tailed with chain, with sister-hooks in the chain end.

If the turns are under water they must first be hove out clear. This is usually done by clapping a deck-tackle on the riding, cable, forward of the bitts, hauling in and stoppering the riding chain forward; light the slack around the bitts and pass the after stoppers afresh.

Pass the clear-hawse pendant out of the sheet hawse-hole on the side of the lee cable, shackle it to that cable below the turns, house it taut with a deck-tackle and belay it.

Plate 102, Fig 460-461. Fouled chains.


Now pass the end of the hawse-rope out through the lee hawse-hole, take it around the riding cable in the direction opposite to the turn in the hawse, pass the end in again, Fig. 460, and hook it to the lee cable forward of the shackle. Now unshackle the lee cable, haul away on the hawse-rope and light out the lee cable, using a line from the bowsprit if necessary to assist in hauling it out.When the hawse-rope brings in the end of the cable again, secure the cable end temporarily if need be, and repeat the operation with the hawse-rope from the beginning, if there are more turns to be taken out.

When the lee cable comes in clear, clap on a deck-tackle, walk away and shackle, unhooking the hawse-rope.

Take off finally the clear-hawse pendant, and dry and stow away the clear-hawse gear.

When the clear-hawse pendant is fitted with a pelican hook it can be readily cleared from the chain, even if it gets under water, by a laniard from the upper part of the link.

In small vessels, or with light ground-tackle, the above plan may be slightly modified, to advantage, especially when the hawse-pipes are narrow. Fig. 461.

The turns being hove above water, clap on the clear-hawse pendant as before. It is advisable also to clap a lashing on the two cables below the turns, if the moorings are slack, to keep the turns from sliding down under water again on the riding chain. Now, instead of using the hawse-rope, pay out the nearest shackle of the lee cable into a boat under the bows, unshackle there and use a hook-rope to clear the turns, having the hauling end inboard. When the turns are clear, hook the hawse-rope into the end of the lee chain to rouse it inboard through the hawse-pipe. Shackle, cast off the lashings on the chains, and take off the clear-hawse pendant.

One object is not to have so many parts (two of hawse-rope and one of chain) in the hawse-hole at once. Moreover, when the use of the boat and hook-rope is practicable, the hook-rope can be more readily shifted and the operation performed quicker.

When veering out the end of the lee cable have a good turn with the hawse-rope, so that in case the clear-hawse pendant parts, the hawse-rope may hold the weight of the chain.

Never clear by the riding cable, nor at any other time than at slack water if it can be avoided.

A screw steamship, with steam up, can turn round with her screw and helm, and clear hawse in a short time. But the steam would not be up unless she was about to sail; and in that case she should clear hawse, unmoor, and heave in to a short scope while raising steam.

The hawse is sometimes cleared, when there is no wind and a smooth surface, by towing the stern of the ship round


in the required direction. A long ship should never attempt it, and it is not a very seamanlike way of clearing hawse at any time.In weighing, if there is a cross in the hawse, the undermost cable should be hove in first; the upper anchor, if hove up first, would foul the under cable.

If it is necessary to pick up the upper one first, dip it before weighing.

In unmooring, heave up the lee anchor first to avoid the chance of fouling other ships or your own anchor.


By putting the mooring swivel on, the hawse is more easily kept clear.

The best time to put it on is at slack water, or as near it as possible. To do so, shackle the clear-hawse pendant to the lee cable, as in clearing hawse, and haul it taut. Send a boat under the bows with the swivel. Make fast a bowline from the bowsprit end, rouse out chain and pay the shackle into the boat; the men in the boat unshackle the chain and shackle it to the swivel.

Now put the clear-hawse pendant on the riding cable, haul it well taut, unshackle the riding cable, veer it into the boat, and shackle it there to the swivel as we did the lee one.

If there is any doubt about the clear-hawse pendant being strong enough, we must use a large hawser, or the stream chain, to secure the riding cable, or postpone putting the swivel on the riding cable until the ship has swung.

When the swivel is on, it must be hove up clear of the water.

It is usually hove up close to one hawse-hole, and the other chain is then overhauled clear of the bows, or unshackled altogether. After the swivel is on, the two chains from inboard constitute what is called the bridle.

Finally, take off the clear-hawse pendant.

The swivel should be put on with the cup upward that it may be more effectually lubricated.

If the swivel is so small that we can pass it through the hawse-hole, it can be put on with much less trouble. We have only to stopper the riding cable inboard, unshackle, put the swivel on and veer it outboard. Then send a boat under the bows and put it on the lee cable as just described.

Many seamen object to the use of mooring swivels under any circumstances. They should certainly not be used when bad weather is liable to make veering necessary.

Plate 103, Fig 462-465. Swivel and various means of moving an anchor with a boat.