Monday, June 8, 2009

Tips on Docking your Boat

Before docking:
Reduce your speed to the minimum, just enough to maintain steerage.
Use your reverse gear to bring the boat to a stop well away from the dock.
Determine the wind and current direction while stopped by observing which way your boat drifts.
If possible, make your approach into the wind or current, whichever is stronger. This will give you more control.
Have bow and stern lines ready, and put boat fenders in place. Do not stop a moving boat with your arms or legs.
When the area is clear of traffic, continue your approach.

If there is no wind or current:
Approach the dock slow at a narrow angle of about 20 degrees.
When close enough, have a passenger step on shore and secure the bow line.
Swing the stern in with a line or boat hook, and secure it.

If the wind or current direction is toward the dock:
Approach slowly, parallel to the dock.
Let the wind or current carry your boat to the dock. Shift into gear briefly if you need to adjust position.
Secure the bow and stern lines.

If the wind or current direction is away from the dock:
Approach the dock slowly at a sharp angle about 40 degrees.
Use reverse to stop when close to the dock. Secure the bow line.
Put the boat in forward gear briefly, and slowly turn the steering wheel hard away from the dock, this will swing in the stern.
Secure the stern line.

These procedures are for small, single-engine boats, procedures for large boats, sailboats, or boats with twin engines will vary.