How to Master Boat Docking

Posted on Jun 28, 2017

How to Master Boat Docking

Docking your boat, especially in a crowded area or a complicated dock configuration, is one of the most stressful parts of boating. However, you can take the stress out of it and become a docking pro by following these tips.

  • Practice. Like just about everything in life, the more you practice docking, the better you’ll get. Find an empty or uncrowded dock and hone your skills.
  • Factor in the conditions. Wind, current and momentum can move your boat in unpredictable ways. Factor in conditions as you maneuver toward the dock.
  • Take it slow. If you hit the dock, you don’t want to be moving so fast that you cause any damage. Take it easy and slow as you guide your boat in.
  • Power in short bursts. Short bursts of power will keep you from creating too much momentum and will allow you to correct mistakes quickly.
  • Turn before powering. Turning your wheel before you apply power, rather than during or after, will prevent your boat from moving unpredictably and will keep you aimed at your target.
  • Fender placement matters. Consider where your boat is most likely to contact the dock and pilings. Placing your fenders precisely where they are most effective will make docking a lot easier.
  • Use any available help. Don’t be bashful about asking passengers to help fend off as you come up on the dock.
  • Be willing to start over. There’s no shame in backing out and trying again if you’ve taken a bad approach. Be willing to quit a bad attempt and start again.