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Boat Docking Tips

All eyes of the marina will be on you when you come in to dock your powerboat – so the question is – will you look like a Gilligan or a competent captain? It all depends on whether you know these basic docking tips:

  • It’s always best to prep your bow and stern lines as well as your fenders ahead of time. The reason it’s important to get all of this ready before you approach is because you might run out of time and get flustered in the process.
  • Remember the cardinal rule of docking: The faster you come in – the harder you will hit so never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it. Even if you do everything right, mechanical mishaps can easily ruin the experience; the steering cable could snap, your engine could stall. These are just a few things that fall under the Murphy’s Law that plaques boaters so make sure to plan ahead.
  • To slow your approach, you will have to shift out of gear so BEFORE shifting back into forward, turn the wheel to make course corrections. If you don’t, you will apply power with the drive pointing the wrong way. You will end up making additional corrections that shouldn’t have been necessary – even if it’s just for a second or two.
  • Ask for help! If you see someone standing on the dock, ask them to help with your lines or fend off.
  • Never yell at a crew member. It’s your job as the captain to make sure they have a clear understanding of what their job is BEFORE you go out on the water. If they mess it up – it’s the captain’s fault!

Here is a video by The Coastal Channel that shows you how to properly dock a boat. Your boat is your ticket to the ocean, so take care with it. Randy from Route Six Marine in New Bedford Massachusetts USA is your host.

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