Slow down! SLOW DOWN!
How often have you heard or read this somewhere regarding docking?
Take parking, for example. You go as slow as possible when you are trying to maneuver your car into a small space. While glancing in the rearview mirror, you play the guessing game to ensure you don’t hit another car.
The same rules apply to boating. Go S-L-O-W.
Reducing your speed is important as this allows you to steer the boat more easily. You get more control over the boat and can dock into your slip without making waves or scratching the boats docked on either side of you.
Now that you know the first rule of docking, let’s take a look at some tips on how to do it like a pro:
Get the Lines Ready
Throwing lines too early in the water, before you have even approached the dock, can be very dangerous. They might get stuck or entangled with other boats’ lines or in the propeller, causing the boat to stop with a jerk. Depending on how close you are to other boats, this might result in a collision.
So, ensure the lines are within grabbing distance and ready to go.
As a docking beginner, you will get great help from fenders. These inflatable bags act like buffers between the dock and your boat. They protect your boat from bumping into anything. Hang them from the side of the boat, the one that will face the dock. Make sure they are not hanging too low, or they will get stuck under the pier.
Switch Between Gears
When approaching the dock, turn the wheel to a 45° angle. This maneuver will allow you to target a specific spot for docking. When you are 100ft away from the dock, turn the wheel in the opposite direction. As a result, the boat’s stern will move towards the dock.
Then, switch to neutral gear and let momentum slide your boat in line with the dock. Now, turn the wheel in the other direction, towards the dock. Switch the gear to reverse and lightly press the throttle to park the boat.
Learning how the current and wind affects docking is important because it can help you maneuver your boat at a slow pace. If you feel the angle at which you are approaching the dock is not right and you might crash into the platform, abort. Reverse your boat and approach the dock with a new plan.
These tips sound simple and make docking look so easy. Well, they are, and it is. You will be in the green if you take it slow and know which way to turn the wheel when approaching the dock.
Having a personal dock allows you to practice docking without fearing you might hit another boat. If you have a lake house, it’s time to get a boat dock. EZ Dock Texas offers decking in different materials and professional services for installing your dock according to your design plans. Some of their top designs include drive-on docks, floating docks, and covered docks. For more information, call (800)654-8168.