Stemming, Crabbing, and Warping


The skills of stemming, warping, and crabbing are nothing to be taken lightly. It is quite difficult to learn and put these type of concepts into perspective in an ordinary classroom. Fortunately enough our classroom consist of New York Harbor. The class and I were asked  “how can we dock the Indy 7 when current is doing this and you have this much space”. All students attempted the question but could not get the answer correctly alone. We worked to together to finally answer correctly, then Aaron told us to grab our bags and gear; a familiar phrase to start the second part of class.

Loaded and prepared to depart, we were told to head towards Pier 15 and were ready to learn. We dropped two students on the dock to catch lines for the first docking while I was the helmsman. Aaron told me to balance out the current using the throttle so we wouldn't be moving forward or in reserve but holding my position; in other words stemming. I was told to stay straight, grow a feel, and realize what the vessel is doing. It is amazing to learn in a classroom environment then apply what you have learned to real life scenarios. When I began making my approach towards the dock I was bringing my bow towards port. While using the current, Indy moved towards port close enough to send lines and dock; this is crabbing. Having two lines on (Bow line and Stern spring) I was able to swing the stern around the pier while backing on the Spring and easing the bow line the boat was about to dock; this is called warping. Just another normal day at Vessel Operations.