Docking a Boat

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Each time you take your boat out on the water, you’ll eventually need to dock it. This process is easier than many people think, especially when you use these tips! We’ve created the following guide to stress-free boat docking. If you have any questions or want to look at boats for sale. visit Tom-N-Jerry’s Boat Center in Mount Vernon.

Approaching the Dock

When you dock your boat, adopt the same mindset that you do when parking your car. You wouldn’t zip into a parking lot going at high speeds or cruise through the area without looking for hazards. It’s the same with a marine vessel. You’ll want to start by scoping out the area for debris, such as large chunks of driftwood or stray fishing lines that could get caught in your propeller. You’ll also want to make sure the area is clear of other boats and swimmers.

Next, you’ll want to approach the dock at a reasonable pace. This isn’t the time to take advantage of your boat’s high-speed capacity! A good rule of thumb is you don’t want to approach the dock any faster than you’re willing to hit it.

Finding the Right Speed

It’s important to avoid approaching too quickly, but you’ll also want to avoid approaching too slowly. If you aren’t going fast enough, you may end up floating too far from the dock. This can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience as you’ll have to make multiple attempts to get in the right direction. Instead, you’ll want to shoot for a good middle ground of your speed capacity.

A good approach is to start off with the lowest setting and utilize small bursts of power. It’s much easier to increase your speed than it is to slow down when you’re trying to dock. If you own a single-engine model, maneuver the wheel before applying power. This helps prevent the vessel from swinging in the wrong direction. If you own a twin-inboard craft, you can skip the wheel altogether. Instead, you’ll alternate the inboards to control your vessel.

As you find the right angle, you’ll be relying on guided floating. In some cases, you won’t even need to look at your throttle. If you find yourself approaching at the wrong speed or angle, remember that you can always reverse and circle back to try again.

Handling the Wind

Odds are, you will end up docking with at least a little bit of wind affecting the situation. Your first step is to reduce how much of your boat is exposed to wind by furling sails and lowering any tops you have.

It the wind is blowing towards the dock, you can rely on it to do most of the work. Get as parallel and close to the pier as you can and let the wind do the rest. If the wind is blowing away from the dock, you’ll need to come in at a sharp angle to try to cut through. In some cases, your angle of approach may need to be as sharp as 30°.

We hope this article helps you! If you have any questions about docking or want to look at boats for sale, head on over to Tom-N-Jerry’s Boat Center in Mount Vernon. Our friendly staff is happy to chat with you about what types of boats best suit your unique needs. We can find you models that fit your budget, experience level, and lifestyle, so stop by today! We proudly serve those in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue, Washington.