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On a yacht a good yachtsman or boatswain must always be engaged in the maintenance of it's equipment. Storing rope properly will protect it from the elements. Rope should always be dry before storing and should have no contact with the floor of the room it is in. The boatswain's job is not easy. He must inspect all the ropes from one end to the other. If the rope is used for heavy things it should be inspected constantly. A rope should never be used over it's breaking capacity (75%) as it could be damaged irreversibly. Also a rope should never be kinked as that can bend the fibers and cause weakening of the rope. Rope should never be exposed to paints, acids, oil or even fumes.

A boatswain's skills are not limited of maintaining rope, it may include cargo rigging, winch operations, deck maintenance, working aloft, and other duties required during deck operations. The boatswain is well versed in the care and handling of rope, and has knowledge of knots, hitches, bends, whipping, and splices as needed to perform tasks such as mooring a vessel. The boatswain typically operates the ship's windlasses when letting go and heaving up anchors. Moreover, a boatswain may be called upon to lead firefighting efforts or other emergency procedures encountered on board. Effective boatswains are able to integrate their seafarer skills into supervising and communicating with members of deck crew with often diverse backgrounds. A large seafaring vessel such as a yacht needs more than rope and winches, it needs a caretaker and a crew that works 24 hours a day from one end to the other to maintain it.

Rope Care

  • Ensure ropes are correctly sized. If the rope is too big, you can decrease it, but mind that there is a special procedure for doing that, you must not just cut it and leave it like that. Most of the times it is advisable that you don't cut it, but decrease the size with a knot. You never know when a longer rope will be necessary.

  • Make regular checks of the ropes along their whole length.

  • Beware of sharp edges on blocks, cheats, winches and other hardware.

  • A rope should be periodically washed with mild soap to prevent the effects of the salt crystals.

  • damaged rope must be completely replaced - no compromise about that! Where possible, you can cut out the broken part and splice the place with a new section.

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