Docking your boat for the first time can be a challenge. Many things can go wrong because water is unpredictable, unlike the road your car drives on. It would be best to consider a few factors: wind, water current, fenders, lines, etc. However, none of this should distract you from relaxing on your boat and having a good time with your family.
With that being said, always keep your cool when approaching the marina. The public platform is mostly crowded, which can distract you from doing what you should do. Remember: Coming in fast is a recipe for disaster, and your boat will hit the dock.
Now that you know the Golden Rule of docking, let’s take a look at some basics to help you secure your boat to the dock:
Untangle the Lines
When docking, the first order of business is to untangle your lines to make them easily accessible. Nothing ruins a perfect docking move like untangled lines while holding your boat steady close to the dock. The more you wait, the more likely the chances of your boat bumping into the dock.
Lower the Fenders
Fenders are inflatable cushions that are hung on both sides of your boat. They form a barrier between your boat and the dock. When you are about to approach the dock, lower the fenders so that if you accidentally bump into the platform, your boat won’t be damaged.
Steer the Right Way
Boat controls work the opposite way. If the dock is on your left, you must steer right. If the dock is on your right, steer to the left. Keep steering until your boat is parallel to the dock with space in between.
Be Aware of the Current and Wind
The two factors that ruin docking are wind and current. You must adjust your boat’s speed accordingly, so the vessel does not pull or push you with the wind.
Apply Short Bursts
While going slow is the most important docking rule, you might need to apply short bursts of power to get ahead of the wind. Turn the steering wheel in the right direction before the burst so that you don’t go in the wrong direction.
Don’t Be Afraid to Shift to Neutral
When the boat is parallel to the dock, shift the gear into neutral. This will allow you to tie the line to a cleat and secure a steady position.
Though docking for first-time boaters can be a bit intimidating, all you have to remember when you are on the water is to go slow. They say, “Slow and steady wins the race.” In the case of docking, it allows you to easily maneuver your boat into the slip, ensuring you don’t bump into other boats or the pier.
You have two options for docking your boat: Book a slip at the marina or build a personal floating dock with the help of Nor Col EZ Dock experts. They offer plastic docks in Ontario, available in different materials. Browse the company’s website for dock accessories like boat tenders, lifts, etc. For more information, call (800) 654-8168.