Have a pair of short lines for the stern. Long enough to go from a stern cleat to the pontoon and back. When on our home berth a pontoon cleat is adjacent to the stern cleat, so the line in at right angles to the boat. The stern lines are just long enough for this, with a little to spare in case were are visiting and can't quite get square to the pontoon cleat. Very rare we can't get more or less square, on the odd occasion we can't, we use one of the longer lines. We have two so that when approaching a mooring we have lines attached to both stern cleats. Don't always know which side we need them when visiting and i think it's good practice to have both ready and both sides fendered, in case things go pear shaped. This can then be "slipped" from onboard when departing the pontoon.
A pair of bow lines a bit longer, just short of the prop would work OK. I always tie these so they can be slipped from oboard when departing. If the bow cleat is roughly adjacent a pontoon cleat, i usually swap this for the spare stern line, keeps the lines tidy.
Cut the remainder in half.
I don't like running the spring from the bow cleat aft, as the line is against the hull too much. Same with running the stern line forward. We have midships cleats, so i run two spring lines from the midships cleat, fore and aft. These are tied to the pontoon cleats, which only have the spliced eyes from the bow and stern lines over them.
When we leave, we take the springs off, get onboard and slip the bow and stern lines.
Regarding your son being at the bow, i also don't like anyone at the bow. As we have midships cleats, we generally don't bother too much with the bow line initially. We use a stern line and one from the midships cleat to get alongside, then sort out the rest at our leisure. If you don't have midships cleats, i'd have him run a line from the stern back to the cockpit (remembering to keep the line outside of the rails ) As you come alongside, someone gets the stern line and he can step out of the cockpit and leg it along the pontoon with his bow line.
Not wishing to give any egg sucking lessons, but it's handy to know that once the stern line is attached, if things get a little pear shaped or the wind starts to blow the bow off the pontoon, you can just engage forward gear and the boat will stick to the pontoon, no matter what.
thanks for all the useful info Paul, appreciated.. re the above, I've now got whomever on the swim platform to ensure the stern line is long enough to do as you say... there was a time when the crew member was keen to get a tight line on the stern but as you know, that doesn't allow the bow to be brought in as it pivots acutely against the stern most fender... berthing stern to, now that's another story, having fun at present with it being a single engined sterdrive boat with no bow thruster.. getting better though
Originally Posted by PaulGooch
We berth stern to Gary, single engine with a prop. We found a good trick is to have SWMB on the swim platform with a long line. Reverse up the finger as best we can without getting to worried about the angle. Soon as the boat is close enough she steps off with the line, taking it to the farthest pontoon cleat, she has the line around the cleat once, taking the slack as she can. I reverse back as far as i can before it starts to get a bit out of shape (which it usually does with the prop walk and windage), at which point i engage forward and she holds the line tight. The line pulls the boat square to the pontoon and i drop it back into reverse. If it's windy, it might take 3 or 4 "shunts" to get there, but it works well.
Originally Posted by oGaryo
Easier now we've moved the boat to a fast flowing tidal river. Very easy to ferry glide into the mooring. Either backwards, or if the tide is going the wrong way, come in forwards, loosely tie a stern line, then let the tide swing the bow around, whilst changing the stern line to the other side.