Guide to Flawless Docking

The best way to enjoy your 321 Boat Club membership is to enjoy a bit to eat or a quick drink at one of the many riverfront restaurants that line the Indian River Lagoon. However before you can sit down to enjoy the catch of the day, you’re going to have to dock the boat. If you’re just beginning to enjoy #boatlife, you may not be extremely comfortable with docking. Don’t worry, flawless docking takes time and practice. We will do everything we can to help you feel comfortable in the water no matter what dock you choose to tie too, no matter which boat you pick out for the day!

Docking In 4 Simple Steps

When learning how to dock your boat it’s important to choose a day where the weather is nice and easy. Once you get the hang of pulling up next to a dock, you’ll be better suited to deal with strong winds and currents. It’s easier to think of docking in terms of four steps.

Step 1: Line up your Approach

This first step seems pretty obvious, but it’s no less important. When you’re coming up to a dock, it’s crucial that you line up your approach. Your judgement comes into play here. You’ll want to make sure that you’re not coming in too close to the dock so you don’t hit it, but also not so far away that you’ll have to back up and try again.

Step 2: Come in Slow

A wise man once said, “You never want to come at a dock any faster than you’re willing to hit it.” boats aren’t like cars their movement is not based solely on the speed of the motor, the current of the water and speed of the wind also play a huge role. Slamming into a dock is not only embarrassing, but dangerous for you, your passengers, others on the dock, and can cause damage to the dock. You can manage your speed by pumping the engine off to stop and on again to give you just a bit of headway

Step 3: Time Your Swing

As in parallel parking you need to time your major wheel turn just perfectly to pull up perfectly to a dock. When you’re a bout one boat length away from the dock you’re going to crank your wheel as tight as you can in the opposite direction. If you’re docking on the port side, crank your wheel starboard. If you’re docking starboard, crank port side. When you’re parallel with the dock quickly straighten out your wheel.

Step 4: Finish in Style

Part of finishing in style is attached to timing your swing, but the grand finale is when you throw the boat in reverse to stop yourself from  forward. This will stop the boat and you’ll just need to grab a piling and tie off.

These four steps are for parallel docking, but you may find that the restaurant you wish to dock at only has pull in docking. Thankfully this is a bit easier you won’t have to time your swing, but making sure that you are pulling in straight and going very slow. Slowing down can be achieved by throttling down entirely and pushing it just enough to get you moving. Then throwing the boat in reverse once you get to your desired position will stop you entirely – current notwithstanding.

Docking is a skill that every boat aficionado in training should master. If you have questions about docking your rental boat, we can certainly help you! Happy Docking!