Frequently, the accommodation ladder is mistakenly
called the gangway. However, gangway actually means
the opening in a bulwark or life rail that gives access to a
brow or an accommodation ladder. An accommodation
ladder (fig. 7-4) consists essentially of an upper and a
lower platform connected by a ladder. The lower end is
supported, raised, and lowered by a block and tackle
(called falls) and is usually suspended from a davit.
Brow is the Navy term for gangplank. Brows are
ramps used between ships and between a ship and pier.
They may be simply two or three wooden planks fastened
together, or they may be elaborate affairs with handrails
and wheels at one or both ends to prevent a ships motion
from unduly affecting the positioning of the brow.
A ship is moored when its made fast to a buoy,
when its between two buoys, when its between two
anchors, or when its secured by lines alongside a pier or
The lines used in mooring a ship alongside a pier are
shown in figure 7-5. Well in advance of mooring, the
lines should be faked down, fore and aft, each near the
chock through which it passes in preparation for passing
the line. You will learn about the procedure for faking a
line and a description of deck fittings later in this
Rat guards are hinged conical metal shields secured
around mooring lines. They are used to prevent rats
from coming aboard ship.
The bowline and forward spring lines prevent the
ship from drifting astern. The stern line and after spring
lines prevent the ship from drifting forward. Look at
figure 7-5. Here, lines 1, 3, and 5 are called forward
lines; lines 2, 4, and 6 are called after lines. When
secured, these lines tend to breast the ship in. The
forward and after spring lines are used to prevent the
ship from drifting forward or aft.
The various types of line and wire rope are
discussed in the Marlinespike Seamanship
section of this chapter.
Teamwork is essential in carrying out the
mooring operation. Lines must not be kinked or
fouled. Keep control of the lines and avoid dipping them
into the water. Remember, observe all safety
If the ship is to remain moored for a long period,
lines are doubled up and bound together with marline
hitches, and rat guards are placed on each line. Look at
figure 7-6. To provide protection to the side of the ship
while it is alongside a pier, camels (large wooden logs or
rectangular structures) (views B and C) are often placed
between the pier and the ship. Fenders (large cylindrical
objects of rubber or fibrous material) (views A and D)
are swung over the side of the ship to give bumper
support against damage whenever a ship lies alongside
another ship or a pier.
Figure 7-4.A rigged accommodation ladder.
Figure 7-5.Ships mooring lines.