Docking Boat

Docking boat is a process that must be done carefully, because when you have to return to the dock the situations require more planning than when you're undocking (leaving the dock); remember that using your boat is not the same as using a car or other transport media, due to the investment and potential risks.

The process most common of docking is as follow:

Before any other procedure, you need to hang over the fenders at a height necessary to protect the hull, for this you can use the lines and use a knot like the clove hitch.

Then you must select carefully the place where to dock, in order to start the approach to it; for this it's necessary to reduce the speed to the minimum unit so that you'll be able to steer the boat. Then you can use reverse to help you stop a safe distance from the dock, the initial approach can be done at an angle of 20 degrees. At this point of the process we must consider the winds and currents for next step, we will detail these cases below.

However, in normal conditions, when you get close enough to the dock make a passenger to step on shore to secure the stern of the boat first, then you can do the same with the bow line to secure the boat completely.


Be sure that the docking lines are secured onboard.

Never use your legs or arms to approach the boat to the dock; it could put you in danger.

What to do in not calm weather conditions:

  • When the winds or current pushes the boat toward the doc, you need to reduce the speed also, and approach slowly and parallel to the dock, when you're close to the dock, you can secure it by bow, stern and spring lines.
  • When the winds or current is blowing the boat away from the boat, be careful and approach the dock slowly at a sharp angle (20-30 degrees), use reverse to stop the boat near the dock and make a passenger secure the bow line first. Then shift towards the dock slowly and put in reverse, in that way the stern will approach the dock and you can secure it with the stern line.

What do you need for docking?

Dock lines, which are lines (ropes), prepared especially for this task, and the most popular material for these lines is nylon. Nylon lines are very useful when docking for a couple of reasons such as strength, elasticity that facilitates the movement of the boat when docking; to construct dock lines there are two types:

Three strand dock lines, which are more resistant and braided nylon, which are stronger and generally feel more substantial; if you wonder on the long and size of lines, it depends on the size of the boat. Remember that it's important to use the best and of great quality materials to protect and conserve your boat, due to the huge inversion it requires.

Remember that docking boat is not something you can learn by reading about it, you must be on the water, in your boat to get the knowledge and experience; although reading will give you some tips and will give you clear idea of the method so in practice you'll know what to do.