No matter how experienced you are at docking boats, approaching the dock can be nerve-racking. This is especially true in front of a crowded marina. Environmental factors like wind and current or unfamiliarity can make docking that much more difficult. But now you can avoid damage and embarrassment with 10 easy tips that will not only make you better at close-quarters maneuvering and docking, but will also make you an all-around better boater. Dock your boat with ease using these top 10 docking tips from Dock Boxes Unlimited.
Always put safety first. Be sure to look around before docking and make sure that no hands are between bulkheads, seawalls or pilings. You’ll also need to make sure that mooring lines aren’t wrapped around hands, legs or feet.
Never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it. A slower speed will usually give you plenty of time to make corrections and cause less damage.
Always communicate to the crew how you intend to dock. Managing the crew and its assigned tasks prior to and during docking is one of the most important and simplest way to make docking as easy as possible.
Never kill the engines until all the lines are secure. Keep the engine on so you can maneuver as necessary.
Always reduce your windage in heavy winds. Particularly in a small boat, this can have a dramatic effect on how easy or how hard it is to dock.
Never touch the wheel with twin inboards. If you do turn the wheel, the boat may take an unexpected path when you try to use the engines.
Always turn the wheel before applying power when docking a single-engine boat – not during or after.
Never be afraid to stop and start over. If the approach doesn’t seem to be going well don’t be afraid to abort; instead, circle back for another try.
Always apply short bursts of power, instead of steady power. This allows you to maneuver without building up a lot of momentum, which can quickly get out of control.
Never wait for a slip to open by blocking other thru-traffic. Instead, find a place to drop anchor or temporarily tie up.