Navigating the Murray River is half the fun of houseboating. These vessels move gracefully and slowly through the water where you’ll enjoy the 360 degree views.
Finding your own mooring site on the river to tied down securely for the night is where you’ll spend the majority of your houseboat holiday. Choosing the right spot for your group is all part of the ritual of houseboating. Since your vessel is quite long – the ropes are already tied to the aft (rear) cleats.
Houseboater’s Tip – A speedboat, tinny or personal watercraft comes in handy for scouting locations and finding just the right spot to tie up since they are more nimble near the banks than the larger houseboat.
When mooring your houseboat, you will first choose a spot, out of the main channel and high-traffic areas, where there are no underwater hazards. A nice wide area – with plenty of room and no overhanging branches.
Once you’ve found the right spot to moor – you will prepare the houseboat for mooring by turning off the generator (to avoid sucking mud or matter into the cooling intake). Then, from the helm (not the top deck helm if your houseboat is so equipped) you’ll approach the riverbank with your motors running typically at 800 to 1000 rpms. At this low speed, you’ll then ease your houseboat up to the riverbank – watching for any underwater hazards or unexpected shallow areas.
Once you have slid onto the bank, you will keep your motors running at low speed until you have completed securing the houseboat. It is important that the houseboat driver stays at the helm until the boat is secured, and that passengers are not on or around the back deck of the boat when the motors are running and the boat is parked.
Start securing your houseboat by first throwing the ropes to the riverbank. Sturdy work gloves are a good idea – bring your own to be sure you have them handy. If it is windy, start from the prevailing side – the direction from which the wind is coming from. This will help keep the houseboat in position during mooring. If the wind pushed the houseboat out of position, during tie-down, the driver can steer the motors and apply a slight amount of throttle to straighten the boat.
Tie the rope to the tree. When all the ropes are set, retie them as tightly as possible. Very long ropes will have some slack from the weight of the rope. You can use the houseboat motors to further tighten the ropes by swinging the rear of the boat slightly toward the rope being tightened. Using your boat motors to do the work for you makes rope tightening easy and ensures your boat is secure. Only after all ropes are secure should you turn the motors off.
If it becomes windy and you become concerned that your houseboat may come loose, remember you can use the houseboats’ motors to provide additional resistance to the wind. Again, be sure no one is on or near the rear deck of the houseboat when the motors are in operation on the shore. Trust the ropes are strong and secure.