Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Berthing starboard or port side to a wharf while stemming the current is a straight forward job. With some adjustment for the prevailing wind and current. There is usually some set off the wharf as the ship comes alongside, in a direction contrary to the current in the stream which is running nearly parallel to the ship's heading. This set off the pier is caused by a com­bination of the eddy current that forms along the shore or shoal area, which exists in almost all cases under the wharf, and the hydraulic cushion that is created between the hull and the shallow area under the wharf. This cushion is quite significant when the face of the wharf is solid, or nearly so, as is often the case when a wharf is constructed using a bulkhead to contain the bank behind the stringpiece. This set off the wharf should be planned for so the ship can be brought alongside and held there until made fast. Tools available to the ship handler to accomplish this include tugs, steaming against an anchor, or good breast lines. Do not expect to simply bring the ship alongside and have her lie there without some assistance until the lines are run ashore.