Here's how to put a loop on a piling 8 to 10 feet away...

This page shows the so-called Magic Stick we use when we approach a dock where there're no dockhands ashore to secure our lines to pilings.

Here's my Admiral showing how to hold the Magic Stick when loaded with a docking line. She can drop the loop over a piling up to about 10 feet away from the boat by extending the boathook to its full length.

THe Admiral at the ready

The following photos show how I constructed my version of the Magic Stick. I used some heavy, single-conductor copper electrical wire -- thin enough to bend but strong enough to hold a 1/2" nylon docking line.

Side view of the Magic Stick

The device is attached to the end of a long boathook and consists of two clamps, like big clothes pins, one at the tip of the boathook and one about 18" from the tip. Each consists of two loops of wire -- each circle bowed outward and then back together to hold the docking line securely. The tip clamp is wired to the tip of the boat hook to keep the tip clamp in place and the second clamp is kept in place by a loop over the boathook and a piece of wire that keeps it at the proper distance from the tip clamp. The following photos show several views of the clamps.

Endview with focus on tip clampEndview with focus on mid clamp
Sideview of th tip clamp
Other side of the tip clamp

Sideview of the mid clamp

Here's the loop ready to be dropped over a distant piling! Once the loop is over the piling a quick "jerk" on the stick pulls it free of the line.

The loop ready to deploy

After we built ours in 1994, I was told the original idea came from a device called a "C-Hook" built by Captain Edward H. Collic of E & C Charter Service, 3706 Marmon Ave, Baltimore, MD 21207, phone (410) 466-9236.. At the time he was selling these for about $15 plus S & H (YOU supply the boathook). His look a LOT better than mine, but they work the same.