The following is a short list of items to remember when rafting 2 or more boats.
First, what to bring: 1. Plenty of fenders for both sides of your boat. Fenders can never be too big or too many. 2. Plenty of dock and spring line. At least, as much as you would need to tie up at a dock. 3. A good anchor. If the raft has to break-up unexpectedly, make sure you are ready to deploy your anchor.
Procedure: 1. The biggest boat is generally the anchor boat. Usually, only one anchor is set as multiple anchors can get tangled. The captain of the anchor boat should have enough experience with his anchor and should also remember to let out plenty of rode with a minimum scope of 7:1. 2. Communicate (by VHF radio – FTGC uses 72) with the raft-up boat and ask which side the captain wants you. Generally, the anchor boat captain will want to balance out the raft-up and will have a preference on what side you come up on. Usually you want the bigger boats in the middle and the smaller boats on the sides so that the height of the boats gunnels is nearly the same. 3. Have your fenders deployed on the proper side at the beamiest part of your boat and lines ready to hand to the boat you will be coming up along side. Normally, the boat that is already tied up should deploy its fenders for the next boat joining the raft. 4. Set your stern and bow lines so that the boat is straight and even alongside the boat next to you. You want to balance the distance of your stern and bow with the boat next to you, allowing the beamiest part of your boat (usually amidships) to touch with the boat next to you (this is where the fenders come in handy). Make sure these lines are tied tight. 5.You need to tie your boat as tightly as possible to the others; as slack will allow excessive movement in a wake. 6. Repeat these steps if someone is rafting up on the other side of you.
Raft-up etiquette: 1. Be respectful of the boats next to you. 2.. If you are in a large raft-up, getting from boat to boat can be cumbersome. Take your time. 3.Normally the “party or gathering” is on the larger boat(s) in the center of the raft. Please be considerate when crossing other boats and ask permission. Boat shoes are a must. 4. Make sure you have plenty of lines and fenders! No one likes a boat whose captain doesn't come prepared. 5. Loud noise/music may offend other boaters nearby.