Boat Docking Techniques Made Easy

Posted by on June 9, 2012 | No Comments

Each year, the waterways are flocked by thousands of people wanting to enjoy a day of boating. While many are experienced boaters, there are plenty of first time boaters hitting the water (and the docks).

Docking techniques are always going to be dependent upon the weather and wind conditions, but there are a few simple things you can keep in mind. Practice makes perfect, especially in this case. Tips can be provided to you, but boating docking techniques is something you have to personalize to your experience, boat, and the dock itself.

Many boaters make the common mistake of attempting to dock their boats by approaching the dock in a straight line. It is much easier to get close to the dock and improve the accuracy of your approach by approaching the dock at an angle. When you come in to the dock, you should also control your speed.

You’re wrong to think this is as easy as it sounds. Even idle speed on a boat is often too fast and steering capability is reduced by coasting, so accurately lining up with the dock is even more difficult. To counter this problem, the best way to do so would be alternating between coasting for speed control and power for steering or short shots of forward gear.

Over and over, you’re going to have to practice this. Getting closer to the dock means starting to turn the boat and decelerating to a stop with the use of reverse. Steering capability is reduced by deceleration. Relying on the boat’s momentum is what you have to do in order to get you over this obstacle.

When it comes to momentum and speed, they’re not the same thing. The forward motion of the boat that will carry you into the dock is momentum. You’ll be allowed to make the shift to reverse to stop and need just enough momentum to get you to the dock. You might agree that the best docking technique is the one you learned by trial and error once you’ve actually mastered this task. Nothing will be a better teacher than practice, practice, practice.

It will be a little easier the next time you try it, so the best advice would be to take it slow and don’t get nervous or discouraged.

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