We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Heaving Line?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A heaving line is a lightweight line which is used on board ship to establish a connection with people in another ship, people on the shore, or shipmates who have gone overboard. These lightweight ropes are typically weighted at one end, classically with a monkey's fist knot, and they are very easy to throw across long distances. Once the line has been tossed, one end of it can be attached to a heavier rope or object.

The advantage to a heaving line is that it is very easy to throw, and less dangerous for someone on the other end of the line. For example, when a ship docks, it is attached to the dock with heavy hawsers which keep it from moving. These hawsers could be extremely dangerous if they were just hurled from the ship to workers on the docks; instead, a heaving line is thrown and caught by a dock workers, and then a hawser is attached on the ship, allowing the dock worker to easily pull the hawser to the dock and make it fast.

A heaving line can also be attached to something like a lifesaving buoy and thrown to someone overboard, and these lines are often used to establish contact between two ships. A line may be attached to a tow rope, for example. Most sailors learn to handle these ropes very early in their training, since there are times when being able to throw one quickly and accurately can be vital.

Several companies make specialized heaving lines, which come complete with weights and anti-kinking materials to ensure that they will not snarl while in storage or in active use. It is also perfectly possible to make a heaving line from existing lightweight, strong rope, and it can be useful to know how to do this in a hurry. To make a heaving line, a knot is tied in one end of the line to weight it, or a weight is tied onto the line for people who cannot make a knot of the right weight.

Along with the wide assortment of ropes and lines on a ship, heaving lines are typically checked regularly. When the lines are checked, sailors make sure that they are not knotted, twisted, or kinked, and they confirm that the line is capable of bearing weight. Lines which have started to fray or rot are discarded to ensure that they are not used by accident.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By sobeit — On Jun 19, 2011

@Jester39 - Another good thing to teach new boaters is how to tie a bowline knot if you're planning to get their help when you dock.

Sometimes you'll dock more than once if you're stopping for lunch at an island restaurant or dropping anchor at a remote island. Either way, it's always nice to tell your passengers before you get started exactly what you'll need them to do to help you.

I would also teach them the difference between port, starboard, bow and stern before getting out on the open water. And last but not least, show them where the emergency equipment is stowed. That should be a given!

By Jester39 — On Jun 17, 2011

This is exactly why you should never take inexperienced landlubbers on your boat and expect them to know how to help you if you need them. And sometimes it is a necessity to have an extra hand, and a quick response, too.

Can't you just see the look on their faces when you say, "Hand me that heaving line, quick." Learning some nautical vocabulary is one way to really get a handle on what happens on a typical day of boating.

And if you are hosting some friends on your boat, give them a little heads-up about how to tie the rope when you dock, and the difference between a rope and a line. Little things can make a big difference on the water.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.