How To Dry Dock A Boat
If you ever have the occasion to ask, "How to dry dock a boat?", there are plenty of people who will tell you. Some of the advice may be whimsical and some of it may be downright ridiculous. The bottom line is that, taking a boat into dry dock is more about following directions from the dry dock crew than it is about "docking" a boat.
- Treat the dry dock like a gunsight. Look through the dry dock and find a point on the horizon that appears to be centered between the walls of the dry dock. Aim the bow of the boat for that point. It also helps, when trying to dry dock a boat, if you think of the process like loading a bullet into a chamber.
- Reduce your speed as you enter the dry dock. You should be moving at walking speed–called "bare steerageway"–by the time your bow is fully confined within the dock. If a random current pushes the stern of your boat around, that's not a problem, since part of the dry docking process involves centering your boat.
- When the dry dock chief tells you to stop, stop. This means moving your throttles to neutral or, if necessary, to reverse, to "take all the way off" the boat. It's a boat; you can't throw it into park and expect it to stay in the same place. That's where the next phase of dry docking comes into play.
Tell your deckhands catch the heaving lines the dry dock crew throws aboard. Tell the deckhands to tie pull the heaving lines aboard, along with the steel cables that will hold you steady in the dock. Tell the hands to put the cables over the deck cleats or bitts.
- Shut down your engines and center your rudder. Your part in the drama of dry docking the boat is over. The dry dock crew will use winches to pull the steel cables your deck crew brought aboard, so that your vessel is centered above the keel supports in the dry dock. After that, you sit back and enjoy the view as your vessel rises from the water.