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A rope made of coir, not particularly strong but which has the useful property of floating on the surface of the water. It had several uses at sea before synthetic rope superseded natural fibre, particularly in cases of rescue and salvage, when a grass-line floated down across the bows of a disabled ship in rough weather could be easily picked up and used to haul across a towing cable. It was also used by naval ships when streaming a fog-buoy. It was also valuable as a drogue to slow down and steady a small sailing boat in a following sea. Similarly, when a small boat approached a shore on which waves were breaking, a grass-line towed astern provided an extra grip on the water and helped prevent the boat being turned broadside on to the breakers, rolled over, and capsized.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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