Q2. As a boat passenger, you should obey the orders
of what person(s)?
Q3. If a boat capsizes while youre a passenger, you
shouldnt panic for what reason?
What does the term athwartships mean?
Learning Objectives: When you finish this chapter,
you will be able to
Identify the purpose of various types of line and
Recognize the procedures used to tie knots,
bends and hitches, and to make splices.
Identify the procedures for securing at sea.
Marlinespike seamanship is the art of handling and
working all kinds of fiber and wire rope. Rope is a
general term and can include both fiber and wire rope. In
the Navy, Sailors generally refer to fiber rope as line,
and wire rope is referred to as rope, wire rope, or wire. A
better definition of a line is as follows: A line is a length
of rope, either fiber or wire, that is in use or has been cut
for a specific purpose, such as a lifeline, heaving line, or
lead line. A few such lines have the word rope in their
names, such as wheel rope, foot rope, and bell rope.
In sailing ships, the fiber ropes that gave
athwartship support for the masts were so numerous that
they actually shrouded the tops of the masts from the
view of an observer on deck, hence, the name shroud.
Stays, the fore and aft supports, were not so numerous,
but there were several on each ship. Running rigging,
tackles used to hoist and trim (adjust) the sails and
handle cargo and other heavy weights, spanned the
areas between sails, yards and decks, and yards and
bulwarks. Lines secured the guns to the ships sides and
prevented them from rolling or recoiling across the gun
decks. Gun tackles were used to haul the guns back into
battery (firing position) after the guns were fired. Even
the anchor cable was made of line. Obviously, line
played a vital role in those ships.
In todays Navy, line isnt used as much as on
sailing ships; however, its still an important and
expensive item. Therefore, every Sailor needs to learn
the proper use and care of all kinds of line and wire rope.
Todays Navy uses line made of fiber (natural and
artificial); wire rope made of steel, phosphor bronze,
and other metal; and a combination of wire and fiber
Lines made from a variety of natural fibers have
seen service in the Navy, but most have been replaced by
lines made of synthetic fibers. The two most commonly
used lines made of natural fibers are marline (tarred
hemp fibers) and manila (abaca plant fibers). Manila
line was formerly authorized for use only where great
strength was required, such as mooring lines, towing
lines, personnel transfers at sea and boatfalls. Fiber
ropes made of tarred hemp are used in seizing,
worming, serving ropes, and lashing. For most
applications, nylon line (synthetic fiber) has replaced
manila. Nylon line is about 2 1/2 times as strong as
manila of the same size, has a greater strength and
elasticity, and has a higher resistance to weather.
Wire rope usually is substituted for line where the
line is subjected to a great deal of wear, weathering, or
heat, and where greater strength is required. Spring lay
is used for mooring lines, particularly at the bow and
Any rope that is not wire is fiber rope. Except in a
few instances where it has special uses, fiber rope is
never called anything but line aboard ship.
Lines are classified by both their construction and
their material. Nearly all line used in the Navy is
Line is made by twisting fibers into threads (or
yarns), threads into strands, and strands into rope.
Taking the process further, ropes twisted together form
a cablean item seldom seen nowadays. Most of our
lines are three-strand and right-laid; that is, as you look