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Old 02-12-2015, 05:07 AM   #1
BobFromAccounts OP
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Joined: Feb 2015
Location: Dalarna, Sweden
Oddometer: 12
Lashing down your bike on ferries

Many ferry operators just leave a pile of straps on the floor and leave you to lash your own bike down. Normally by the time I'm finished my bike looks like it's been attacked by a huge manic spider and there are no straps left over for other riders.

I once saw a guy lean his bike on the side stand, lock the front brake with a little strap and then compress the front forks with just one tie down. To me with my 1000 straps are better than 1 approach seemed complete and utter folly but his bike was still standing after quite a rough 24 hour crossing of the North Sea.

My question is, does any body know the correct way to secure a bike on a ferry.

If not please send all available tie downs to ....................
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"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a motorcycle beneath one's bum."
The way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:47 AM   #2
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Location: Barrie Ont
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I've been on many ferries with the longest is 15 hrs to Nfld in heavy seas.

If I've seen 100 bikes tied down on ferries, I've seen 97 different ways of it being done. Do whatever you feel comfortable with.

I back the bike to the curb.
Put in gear.
Put on side stand.
Lock steering.
One strap holding gently against the stand.

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Old 02-12-2015, 06:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Maggot12 View Post
I've been on many ferries with the longest is 15 hrs to Nfld in heavy seas.

If I've seen 100 bikes tied down on ferries, I've seen 97 different ways of it being done. Do whatever you feel comfortable with.

I back the bike to the curb.
Put in gear.
Put on side stand.
Lock steering.
One strap holding gently against the stand.
+1 - have never had a truly rough crossing (as in storm force) though - touch wood.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:56 AM   #4
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Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, Pa.
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Tied mine down once on the Alaska ferry, 4 days and 3 nights Mostly calm but got rough once in awhile. Used my own tie downs 4 of them out from each corner to the hook on the boat not the chain. Pic shows only one side but the other is basically the same.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:12 AM   #5
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Location: North of Some, South of a Few
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Ferry I have been on...
Portland Maine to NS
St John NB to NS
Sydney to NL

my bike KTM 990

all ferries supplied plenty of ratchet straps. The ratchet straps have steel hooks but all ferries also made rope loops available to loop around your bike first.

I tied my bike at four points:
2 coming off the crash bars
2 coming off my luggage rack

bike rested on side stand with engine in first gear

we left helmets and riding gear under or draped over bike

super important advice !!! Arrive extra early and hang out with the other bikers because Ferry departure times can be moved up earlier and you may or may not get notified
"To wives and sweethearts, may they never meet!" Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey

Academy screwed with this post 02-12-2015 at 09:28 AM
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:35 PM   #6
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On bigger (longer) ferries, say 300ft and up, if you can get the bike parked sideways on car deck, then normally all you need is two 'stoppers', that they use for trucks, put them front&back, leave bike on 1st gear, that's it.

If that's not possible, or you think the ferry's not long enough, then put on side stand, next to the wall (the stand to the same side where the wall is), leave on 1st gear, use stoppers, then you just need 1 rope attached to the wall, and its other end to your RH side handlebar. Maybe leave a towel or something so that the rope doesn't leave scratches.

Also remember, that especially when windy, sometimes the boats can collide with the pier a bit, and this can rock the boat suddenly, so don't take your securings off before it has docked properly. I've seen bikes tip over this way.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:06 PM   #7
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I've been on probably about fifteen ferries in various places and don't think I've ever seen anyone use more than one strap, and sometimes for short ferries, no straps. I think that more than two would qualify as overkill...
Adventure is just another word for poor planning.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:58 PM   #8
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Two straps just like the back off the truck.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:08 PM   #9
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I always run a rope or strap from the side stand to the front wheel so the bike can't roll forward and fold the side stand.
One tooth sprocket.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:15 PM   #10
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I have to do a ferry to get off this rock and use 4 with the straps extended as far as possible in each direction. I always do an overnight crossing and sleep on the boat.
R1150 GSA, KLR650, K75s, RD350, PS250 (Big Ruckus), R65, 990 Spyder
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:27 PM   #11
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Westside WA
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Most ferries have old rotten pure junk rope for bikes. It's "your" responsibility to secure "your" bike. I strongly suggest you bring your own tie down lines and secure the wee out of it (be it w/ratchet straps or rope). If you're using your own tie-down gear screw the spider web looks. It'll look good later compared to the 1/2 ton poorly secured flopped over billet barge with his handle bar end stuck through the door skin of a Lexus or MB. Even if you can't tie a knot that you can undo and stuck with engineers knots that you have to cut to undo it's cheaper to buy new rope than bike parts or worse some yuppies car parts you damaged.
Regardless of what the radio, tv or weather fax says local weather can change drastically from the time the deck hands throw off the mooring lines and you get outside the harbor.
Couple things "I" do...never ever put a bike on the center stand. Put bike in gear (first or reverse which ever you have and is lower. I carry a homemade double sided velcro strap I wrap around the front brake lever. The later is usually optional since most vehicle ferries have a somewhat greasy vehicle deck anyway.
Bottom line: your bike, your responsibility and your call.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:43 PM   #12
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Carry four and do it just like lazyguy above. Foolproof.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:47 PM   #13
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The crews of the BCferries that run down the Inside Passage of British Columbia had us do what you see below. Note the box under the engine has steps in it to accommodate bikes with different ground clearance. There's also a strap at the back of each bike mirroring the one you see at the front.

In the general case how many straps you use is commensurate with how rough you expect the seas to be.
Originally Posted by Stevie2wheels
Even so I wouldn't sit there like a shag on a rock, waiting to be punched up the arse into next week by the next negligent drongo who happens to come along.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:01 AM   #14
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As has been mentioned most ferries will have adequate tie downs and/or ratchets and floor/wall anchors to secure your bike but the state of those ties can be pretty shabby - I'd suggest you always bring along some sacking or equivalent to protect your bike.
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