Docking A Boat? 5 Tips For Beginners

So, you've finally purchased that boat that you have been looking at for years. Unfortunately, you have no idea how to dock it. You are stressed beyond measure. This is understandable, but with the following five tips, you should feel a lot more comfortable when you take your boat out on the water and come back to put it in the slip:

Tip #1: Take Things Slow.

When it comes to docking a boat, the one thing that you need to know is that anything can happen. Therefore, when approaching the pier, you don't want to go faster than you are truly willing to hit the pier should something happen. If you approach slowly, if things don't go according to plan and you end up ramming into the pier, the damage to your boat (and pier) will be minimal as opposed to if you were approaching at full speed.

Tip #2: Always Keep Your Eyes Open.

As a beginner, you have probably never docked a boat before, but even if you have and maybe it's been a while, it is crucial that you keep an eye on your slip. The important thing that you are wanting to pay attention to here is the mooring lines. While it probably won't happen often, it is possible that your lines or a neighboring one fell into the water. If this happened, the current in the water could cause it to be stretched directly into your path. If the mooring line were to get tangled into your boat's propeller, it would turn your docking into a very different situation.

Tip #3: Avoid Steady Power.

When backing into the slip, you want to avoid giving the engine steady power. You don't want to have too much momentum because you will find that things can get out of control and damage can occur. Instead, simply give a little bit of gas here and there to keep things moving along.   

Tip #4: Circle Back When Needed.

As a newbie to docking, there's a good chance that you aren't going to successfully get your boat into the slip the first time you back up to it. But that's okay. Don't try to force it because you could cause damage to your boat in doing so. Instead, simple abort the docking this time, go back out in the water and come back for a second try.

Tip #5: Leave Your Engines on.

As you are docking your boat, it is a good idea to leave your engines on even after you have successfully gotten the boat into the slip. You never know what is going to happen. For instance, a piling may get out of your reach or a line could get dropped. So, it is important to keep your engines powered up so you can maneuver the boat as necessary if and when needed.

For more information, visit South Park Marina.