How to Dock Your Boat. Congratulations! You are finally a boat owner. We know what you are going to do next ― take out the boat for a long cruise to test its speed and feel the wind in your hair.
While driving a boat is not that hard, it’s docking that has the potential to embarrass you. There’s not much difference between a car and a boat. However, you can’t Mission Impossible park it into the boat docks. The good news is, we will teach you how to dock your precious vessel in a few easy steps.
But first, there’s something important that you need to know:
The Cardinal Rule of Docking
Always slow down when you are backing your boat into the slip. It often happens that when boaters see no traffic surrounding their slip, they rush in. This causes the boat to bump hard against the dock, which can damage your boat. Whether you are parking on a drive-on dock or easing into a floating dock, remember to go slow.
Following is a step-by-step guide on how to dock your boat properly:
Remove Any Hurdles
As you approach your slip, make sure that the fenders are removed from the side and the lines are prepared for tying. This is a 2-man job, so don’t try to drive and then jump to secure the lines. This could be a recipe for disaster.
Remember the Steering Directions
A boat swivels on its axes. Meaning ― when you turn the wheel to the right, the rear of the boat will turn to the left. This can be a little confusing so make sure to apply less power when steering the boat.
Take the Current and Wind Into Account
In heavy winds, the windage should be reduced. You need to take into account whether the current is pulling you or pushing you. This is an important step of docking as it determines how quickly your boat will ease into the slip. Try to lasso the lines so that if the wind is with you, you will easily gravitate towards the dock.
Ease the Boat in With the Bow Sticking Out
It can be quite difficult to climb on board if the bow of the boat is facing the dock. When easing your boat into the slip, think of it as reverse parking. This way, if the water current rises at some point, the bow of the boat will not get caved in.
Tie Off the Boat
Once the boat is in the slip, tie it off to the pilings or posts on the dock. Make sure that your boat is right in the middle and not haphazardly parked. A change in the water tide might displace it and cause it to hit the finger docks.
And that’s how you dock your boat. Pretty simple, right? It’s all in the power and how you steer it back into the spot. It might take a few tries, which is why we recommend that you practice on an open lake or with floating docks to get the hang of it.