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  • Landlubbers' Question...

    While on a walk down by the docks I was asked a question by my girlfriend and it hurt my male pride not to have answer. Basically, how do ships move away from the quay? I assumed they just started up their propellers and scooted away, but we saw one ship move, crab-like, sideways out without displaying any forward movement at all. I’ve tried all my theories out on her but she wants a definitive answer so can anyone explain?

    I know it’s a question with an obvious answer but for the sake of peace…..
    "Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper"
    Gen. Robert E. Lee

  • #2
    hmm, ill take a pot shot with my belief that a lot of them use a thruster type system mounted either side of the vessel, to move the ship?
    "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
    "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."

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    • #3
      Some ships have thrusters (i think thats the term) These are litte movable propellers that enable the ship to steer sideways for getting into away from dock.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Duffer View Post
        Some ships have thrusters (i think thats the term) These are litte movable propellers that enable the ship to steer sideways for getting into away from dock.
        Bow and Stern Thrusters are common on ships as well as many big small craft. They can be either through hull type or can by hydrauliclly lowered out of a comparment in the hull and retracted again. THe latter type even being in "Pod" form providing thrust through 360 degrees. Try google for some more images. "Vetus" are one of the main design and manufacturing companies that specialise in thrusters for small craft.

        "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"

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        • #5
          If you look above the water line at the bow on some vessels you may see the warning sign for a bow thruster painted onto the side. Looks similar to a radiation sign in a circle.

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          • #6
            Sometimes, with gentle use of the engine and rudder controls, it is possible to ease the ship out from the quay wall, if currents are favourable. A short burst of prop in the right direction, and it will act as a paddlewheel, pushing the stern out from the quay wall. If your current is coming from the bow, and you have full rudder, and you are very careful, the vessel can move away effortlessly. But it takes practice.

            Thrusters are the usual answer though.
            That and a bit of black magic.


            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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            • #7
              You can 'spring' off: motor slow ahead against the fore spring - line from bows running aft to bollard or whatever on the quay - and the stern swings out, then reverse out. Or go astern against an aft spring to swing the bows out and then go ahead. Good fendering on the quarter or bows is essential, of course.


              Or you can just call a tug....

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              • #8
                Oh dear...actually the use of the lines is most important..especially in the case of those not fitted with bow thrusters.

                Springs and breasts come to mind....basically a ship is moved against its mooring lines as a fulcrum in which ever direction..in the case of a spring from midships..power on against the line..relase all lines fore an aft and she will turn out ward of the wall with applied rudder.

                Moving forward or astern with applied rudder reduces the chances of being caught by tides or currens so most ships like to drift out a lttle using springs or breast before taking full power off the wall.

                Now the crux..if a ship moves out under springs or breast without using power..she is maintained by these lines and may not be in a position to move back and remove them due to tidal consideration..accidents happen when you land a 1000 tons of ship on a nylon line and it either breaks or has to be cut....some will know what I am reffering to,, long and the short of it..the don't just float away..done under control
                Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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                • #9
                  And to top it all off, this can only be done if the freeboard of the vessel is not acting like a giant sail and pushing it against the berth. All the bow thrusters and tugs will do feck all if you dont have enough power to over come this little nuggget.
                  "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"

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                  • #10
                    http://gallery.irishmilitaryonline.c...g2_itemId=2759

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                    • #11
                      Hi all
                      I saw an expert do this once. The ship was, at the time, the largest freighter to dock upriver in Cork. He manouvered the ship out into the centre of the channel by use of thrusters and, ever so slowly, turned the ship about it's length. He had literally inches to spare, with the tip of the bow and stern passing over the quay wall. He was only able to do this with the ship unloaded, to allow the ends to clear the walls. A brilliant bit of handling.
                      regards
                      GttC

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                      • #12
                        On some ships the crew ties ropes to the side of the ship and jump overboard with ropes in their mouths and swim out thus pulling the boat away from the quay. Honest, tell your girlfriend this she will probably believe you!!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gunner75 View Post
                          On some ships the crew ties ropes to the side of the ship and jump overboard with ropes in their mouths and swim out thus pulling the boat away from the quay. Honest, tell your girlfriend this she will probably believe you!!
                          i think it is medication time for you again

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                          • #14
                            Funniest one I ever saw was along side on Rogersons Quay in Dublin. Huge car transporter turning mid stream and was coming uncomfortable close to the port quarter of Eithne..when this brilliant officer orders a young O/Sea to stand and the point of iminenet collision with a hand fender.....luckily enough the guy in the other ship had timed it perfectly...and missed by mere feet. It took some time for the colour to return to the face of the guy with the hand fender.
                            Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hptmurphy View Post
                              Funniest one I ever saw was along side on Rogersons Quay in Dublin. Huge car transporter turning mid stream and was coming uncomfortable close to the port quarter of Eithne..when this brilliant officer orders a young O/Sea to stand and the point of iminenet collision with a hand fender.....luckily enough the guy in the other ship had timed it perfectly...and missed by mere feet. It took some time for the colour to return to the face of the guy with the hand fender.
                              Um... how far did this ossifer get up the chain?
                              Meh.

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