Tie Those Boats Down: Strap Etiquette for Boat Safety

What is the correct way to tie boats down? This a question many people may have but never ask. Sometimes it’s quicker to just get it on the rack, throw the strap at the boat and run to your car. Would you leave all your car doors open over night on a city street? Probably not! Care of the boat in all aspects of its use – unstrapping it, getting it to the dock, rowing a safe course, docking and reracking it ensure its longevity and use for all club members for years to come.  Equipment at any club should be treated as if it was your own but from time to time wether out of haste or lack of training I’m sure we have all found boats tied down like the Aria here,

These situations can be avoided with a simple review of proper strapping techniques and making sure situations like this are immediately addressed with anyone who recently rowed the boat in question.






Some general guidelines for boat re-racking:

  1. Make sure the boat is completely wiped down so any debris or oil you may have picked up has been removed
  2. Make sure the boat is positioned correctly on the rack on each end, double checking that the strap will not be around the skeg (as seen in photo)
  3. The strap goes over the top of the boat, underneath the other side of the rack and back over the top of the boat so each side of the strap is parallel and has no twists in it
  4. Strap buckles should never rest on the boat if they are unpadded. If they are padded they should rest against the surface of the boat about 6 inches up from the gunwale
  5. On a stationary rack the strap should be tightened to a point that the boat cannot slide but at the same time don’t yank it down forcefully especially with sculling boats that have much more sensitive decks that may collapse. For trailers get the help of a coach to ensure that the boat has been tied down to a safe tension to keep it from falling off the trailer while it travels.

Its up to all club members to be able to be able to recognize bad strapping and pass along good techniques. This will help all of your equipment from every day rowing to a cross country trailer trip.

This is what happens when you fail to adequately tie your boat down,

Here is a brief video review on correct strapping technique,

For additional tips check out, https://readyallrow.org/how-to-strap-a-boat-down/