Technical Circular No. 38 | 2016

Subject: AMSA – Danger with the use of weighted heaving lines.

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  • The "Code for Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen" issued by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, states that "Vessels heaving lines should be constructed with a monkey's fist at one end. To prevent personal injury, the fist should not contain any added weighting material."
  • Some ports prohibit the use of additional heavy material and vessels may be fined for breaching local regulations if a weighted end is used.
  • Recently, AMSA has received a number of complaints about the use of monkey fists on heaving lines that contain weights. These weights can cause serious injury or a fatality to crew members and linespersons and/or damage to the vessel when transferring mooring lines to tugs and shore linespersons.
  • Highlighting the above concern, AMSA has issued Marine Notice 18/2016 (copy attached).
  • When making a monkey’s fist, it should be borne in mind that no extra weight should be added. It is also recommended that monkey’s fists in service be checked to ensure they contain no additional weights. A monkey’s fist found to contain such material should be removed and replaced. Under no circumstances should other weights, such as shackles or other heavy objects, be tied.
  • AMSA recommends that all ships crews are cautioned about the dangers of inappropriately weighting heaving lines. Owners and Operators are advised to ensure proper procedures for heaving lines are included in the Safety Management System.
  • Ship owners/ operators and masters are advised to be guided by above.


  1. AMSA Marine Notice No. 18 of 2016 Reg “Danger with the use of weighted heaving lines”.


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.


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