It’s nearly impossible to take an active part in any form of pleasure boating without being required to know your ropes, how and where to use them and how to take care of them.
Someone once said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” He obviously wasn’t thinking of a boatman. Though there have been hangings at sea, mutiny on pleasure boats is a rarity and capital punishment for a mutinous crew of passengers is frowned upon. Give a seaman enough rope of the right kind and if it’s used properly it will add to pleasure and safety of crew and craft. A competent boatman is quickly distinguished from a landlubber by a knowledge of marlinspike seamanship, which entails a knowledge of ropes and skill in working with them.
Several times each year you should inspect all of your lines. Rope is deteriorated by mechanical action, surface wear, internal friction, biological action, bacteria and mold, or boring marine organisms. Don’t check only for exterior wear; look below the surface, for the exterior appearance of lines may be deceptive. Twist open sections of the line and check for broken inner I the sailor who has gone overboard mows his lines, he can tie a line athwartships, make up a foot stirrup in an end and pull himself over the gunwale without fear of capsizing the boat.