M&B SHIPCANVAS builds genuine, traditional Heaving Lines in various lengths and configurations. Please select any product below for more pictures, details and specifications -
Heaving Line FAQ's
60' vs. 100' > Which length is better?
It depends on how the heaving line will be used. Smaller craft tend to be more maneuverable in close quarters and may not need the extra length. Large vessels will typically benefit from a longer heaving line, as will vessels that have a relatively high freeboard (height; as measured from waterline to deck).
The thing to keep in mind is that normally a heaving line should be thrown 'past' its target. Sometimes, the advantage of 100-feet vs. 60 feet is not necessarily that the full coil will be thrown; but that there will be less resistance (or snap-back) when the line has fully extended to reach its target.
I've seen heaving lines that float. Is that a good thing?
Over the past 50 years or so, the term "heaving line" has come to mean 2 different things. The more modern interpretation is often meant to describe a line which is affixed to a lifesaving device (USCG Type IV throwable) such as a life ring or horseshoe buoy. For this application the line should definitely float, as is generally required by safety regulations and for inspected vessels.
However the floating-type heaving line is not-good for throwing long distances, as commonly required in docking and mooring situations, ship-to-ship towing and rescue operations, etc. That's because in order to make a heaving line float, it is necessary to use polypropylene (plastic) rope, which creates some problems -
- Polypropylene rope is stiff, and doesn't easily form to a proper coil that will 'pay out' nicely as the heaving line is traveling through the air. When stored in a tight coil, it also forms a 'memory' of that position, which effectively creates soft 'kinks' that shorten the length of travel. These negative characteristics are only amplified by hot and cold temperature extremes.
- Polypropylene rope has a low density, which doesn't carry well in breezy, open water conditions. Compared with most other types of rope, it's like the difference between throwing a hollow "wiffle ball" versus throwing a baseball... on a windy day.
- A good heaving line is strong, but to keep windage down, the diameter shouldn't be too thick. Polypropylene lacks the relative strength of other ropes (nylon, dacron, etc) and must be oversized to compensate.
- A traditional monkey's fist knot, constructed with polypropylene, does not usually create enough density to overcome the inertia of the remaining line. It requires a weighted end, which is a potentially dangerous solution that is frowned upon (and even banned) in many commercial harbors. Besides, a weighted end will sink anyway, and usually take the rest of the heaving line down with it (depending on water depth).
- Using a float as the "weight" is self-defeating... a good float makes for a poor weight, and vice versa.