Top 10 Tips to Make Docking Less Stressful for New Boaters

As a novice captain there will be many daunting chapters in boating but none as challenging as docking in a marina, especially if it is chocker block full. Here below are some tips to help you navigate successfully:

1. Speed control
Become one with your boat and understand how she handles, especially at bare steerageway. It’s crucial to understand the correct speed at which you need to travel in order to avoid ramming into anything. Just remember the cardinal rule of docking – ‘Never approach the pier any faster than you’re willing to hit it.’

2.Wind & Current
It’s imperative to understand the effects of the wind and currents on your boat whilst docking. Be prepared to counter and control the momentum change caused by this dynamic duo. Take control of the vessel otherwise, these external factors will cause real problems for you.

3. Double check
Always look before your dock. Make sure that there aren’t any mooring lines obstructing your path as it’ll be a nightmare trying to untangle them from your propeller; it won’t make docking any easier either.

4. Reverse
Just like parking a car, reversing into a slip may just simplify your life. Master the reverse technique and make life a lot less stressful.

5. Stop flapping
If it’s windy try to limit your exposure, as this will have an effect on your docking especially on a small boat. A Bimini top can act as a sail on a powerboat and throw you off –track.

6. Secure lines
Don’t make the mistake of cutting the engine before you have secured all the lines. As soon as you are in the slip does not mean you can close shop and go home; anything can happen. Keep the engine running so you can get out of any tricky situation.

7. Abort
Be the bigger person and abort when necessary. You will look like a right idiot if you botch the whole docking process, so analyse the approach and if it isn’t going to plan then circle back for another try.

8. Fender action
Learn how to use the fenders to your advantage. If you position the fenders properly when docking then you will find that they will help you do a better job and protect strategic points of the vessel.

9. Not too tight not too loose
Make allowance for the rise and fall of the water when securing the lines.

10. Short bursts of power
Use enough throttle to advance and continue with small bursts of power; wait for a reaction before adding any more.

February 21, 2018