Monkey’s Fists on Heaving Lines - Use of Inappropriate Weighting Material
Loss Prevention Bulletin
This practice is no longer acceptable as it increases the risk of serious injury if a linesman, shore worker or a crewmember aboard a tug or mooring boat is struck by such an object during mooring operations, or if the weighted end hits a member of the vessel’s mooring party when the heaving line is thrown back.
The United Kingdom Maritime and
Coastguard Agency (MCA)
publication “Code of Safe Working
Practices for Merchant Seamen”,
Section 25.3.2, states that “Vessel’s
heaving lines should be constructed
with a “monkey’s fist” at one end. To
prevent personal injury, the “fist”
should be made only with rope and
should not contain added weighting
If a weighted heaving line is used, the monkey’s fist or additional weight risks being cut off by the linesmen or the tug crew before the heaving line is returned to the vessel. Moreover, some ports prohibit the use of additional heavy material and vessels may be fined for breaching local regulations if a weighted end is used.
Therefore, when making a monkey’s
fist, it should be borne in mind that
no extra weight should be added. In
view of a recent incident involving an
entered vessel it is also recommended that monkey’s fists in service be
checked to ensure they contain no
additional weights. A monkey’s fist
found to contain such material
should be removed and replaced.
Under no circumstances should
other weights, such as shackles or
other heavy objects, be tied to the
end of heaving lines.
Unacceptable monkey’s fists containing inappropriate weighting material removed from service
Acceptable monkey’s fists made from rope and rags
Prior to throwing a heaving line, the vessel’s mooring party should alert the linesmen, mooring boat and/or tug crew and anyone else in the vicinity that a line is about to be thrown. The operation should only proceed if the area where the heaving line will land is clear of personnel.