For the information of all hands not currently assigned to the sea and anchor detail.
When the OD calls away the special sea and anchor detail, one reason is to moore the ship to a pier or another ship. This detail is performed by the deck gang (deck apes).
The ship is secured to the pier or another ship by mooring lines. Naturally, since this is the Navy, all of these lines have names and special purposes. This should give you a general layman's idea of what these lines are and what they do.
We often see the ship arrive at a port and within minutes the deck gang starts throwing lines from the ship to the pier. These are called heaving lines. The little ball at the end is called a monkey fist.
These light-weight lines are then tied to the larger lines called mooring lines. (Although I have been told that in the "old Navy" real Boatswain's Mate could throw the hawser from the ship to the pier.)
1. Bow line: secures the bow to the pier
2. Aft bow spring line: Keeps the ship from drifting forward.
3. Forward bow spring line: Keeps the ship from drifting backward.
4. Aft quarter spring line: Keeps the ship from drifting forward.
5. Forward quarter spring line: Keeps the ship from drifting backward.
6. Stern line: secures the stern to the pier.
1 and 6 are also called breast lines, they control the distance from the ship to the pier.
Often fenders are dropped between the ship and the pier to keep the ship from actually touching the pier and prevent damage to the ship.
You may also hear the deck gang using terms like:
Hawser - a line over 5 inches in circumference.
Heave - to pull in
slack - allow to go out
take a turn - wrap the line one time around a bit to put it under tension
double up - run additional lines for strength.
secure - affix to the ship so it will not slack.
@#$%!@#%)*& - oops, something is bad wrong.
Working the deck while mooring is dangerous work. If you are not part of the detail you must stand clear.
If you want to observe the best location would be the observation deck on the O1 level forward the wheelhouse. Visitors on the pier must likewise stand clear. If one of these lines should part it can snap back to seriously injure or kill someone.