Congratulations on buying your first boat! You have probably watched dozens of videos by now to know how to dock your boat, and we are sure you went down the rabbit hole called docking fails. Aren’t those videos addictive? Stay a few hours long on the marina, and you might see a docking disaster. Now that you own a boat, how do you avoid being the guy who crashed his pontoon?
Docking can be a challenging task. Notice how we didn’t say impossible? That’s because you can try a couple of tricks to make your parking smooth.
Before we talk about how to dock your boat, let’s take a look at an essential factor of steering:
Understanding Speed and Gear Position
There’s a popular saying in the docking world, “Never approach a dock at full speed if you don’t want to hit it.” So, it would be best to always dock your boat in neutral. Going full-throttle makes the boat more likely to get out of control and bump into the pier or another boat.
So, what should one do? The trick to docking without damaging your boat is pushing the throttle with breaks to maintain the momentum; this will allow you to guide your boat gently into the dock. As a result, your boat will glide itself.
How to Dock Your Boat in 4 Steps
1. Prepare the Boat
Before you approach the dock, it’s essential to prepare your boat. First, make sure that the gear is neutral and the fenders and dock lines are ready.
- Make sure the fenders are placed at an optimal height
- The stern lines and bow should be tied to the cleats so that your preferred side attaches to the dock
*If you own a pontoon boat, open the gates to see the dock’s edge.
2. Check Your Surroundings
Always keep an eye on your surroundings and the water. After cruising, when you plan to return to the marina, decide on what path you will take, and will the weather allow you to stick to your plan?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Check the water current and wind conditions to know what gear you should drive-in
- If you plan to turn around your boat, make sure there’s enough space to do so
- Decide whether you will tie your boat to a post or a cleat
- If the docking area is shallow, trim up
Depending on whether you are docking your boat or easing into a slip, you will have to maneuver it accordingly.
3. Easing Into the Slip
When you approach the pier, slow down your boat and let it slide into the slip. Come at a 45° angle and drift in. When the boat reaches the dock, reverse it and move backward until the stern touches the dock.
4. Tie Your Boat
Once your boat is docked, you need to secure your boat. Ties off the mooring immediately and then assess the situation to make any changes. Before you exit the help, remove your safety lanyard and check if the boat’s gear is in neutral or not. Don’t turn off the engine yet. Once the bow has been tied, only then turn off the engine. This precautionary step allows you to take the wheel and steady the boat quickly when there is a change in the current.
And your boat is docked! Wasn’t that easy? The only movement you might find challenging is reversing the boat because you have to make sure you don’t hit anything.
If you are looking for a quality floating dock or plastic docks in Saskatchewan, visit the Nor Col EZ Dock website. The company offers different types of docks, as well as docking accessories. To request a quote, email them here. For more information, call (800) 654-8168.