How To Dock A Boat
Learning how to dock a boat can be easy or hard, depending on a number of factors. These factors include boat size, dock accessibility, water depth, strength of current and strength of wind. It also is a huge help to have at least one person to help you when you dock a boat.
- Pick a spot. Depending on the dock, you might have several spots or one spot to choose from. Boat ramps and waterfront restaurants typically have several dock spots to choose from, while private houses might only have one. Choose a spot that will be easiest to get into, taking into consideration all the factors listed above. For example, if you have a big boat, you might want to choose to dock a boat in the spot with the deepest water, or the spot that the current and wind will ease you into the best.
- Have the ropes ready. It's a very good idea to have all the ropes ready beforehand. Some docks have ropes already attached, but more often than not you will have to attach your boat ropes to the dock. Have the bow and stern ropes tied to the cleats on the side you intend to dock on. This is where your second person, if you have one, will really come in handy. They can stand ready with the rope, to jump onto the dock when you get close, or they can be standing ashore ready for you to toss your rope to them. It is possible to dock a boat without two people, having a second person just proves beneficial.
- Ease in. Note the word ease. When you dock a boat, it's particularly important to take it nice and slow. If you rush it, you can cause serious damage to both your boat and the dock, as well as people on either. If you feel you're approaching too fast you can put the boat in reverse to slow down, or do a circle and try docking again. Current and wind can make easing in particularly difficult. Your second person will also come in handy here, because if you are approaching the dock a little too fast, they can push off the pilings and keep you from colliding. Always take caution when docking, be careful that no hands get crushed between a piling and the boat or no one falls in the water.
- Tie off. The final step when you dock a boat is to tie off the ropes. Once you're near enough to the dock, the second person can jump out and tie you off to the cleats, or you could toss the ropes to a second person ashore, or you can grab your own ropes and jump out and tie yourself off. Whichever way you do it, just keep safety in mind. Make sure you tie your boat to the dock cleats well, or your boat might drift away!