How to Safely Dock Your Boat
Author: Auger Law | November 2nd, 2015
Knowing how to dock your boat correctly is an important safety tip that not many people think about. It’s not unusual for boaters to attempt to dock their boats, only to crash into a pier or another vessel. While we can’t provide an entire how-to manual for boat docking, we can offer you a few tips that will keep you and everyone on board safe and sound.
- Pay Attention to the Angle
When you decide it is time to pull into a dock, come in at an angle. This gives you a bit more breathing room and prevents scraping your boat down the side of the dock. It is an approach that is easier than coming straight in.
- Coast and Power
Some people think that coasting into the dock is best. It makes sense because coasting allows you to approach at a slower rate of speed. Unfortunately, much of your boat’s power steering will be lost once you cut the engine. This can make it difficult to approach the dock correctly. A better idea is to put the boat in idle and retain your ability to steer.
When you must put your boat in neutral because even idle is too fast, give the boat a shot of power, steer onto course, and then coast in. You won’t have the same accuracy as if you had remained in gear, but it can be a good trade off.
- Know When to Turn
Knowing when to turn will greatly depend on your boat. Not all boats maneuver the same, and it may take you a few tries to pin down the nuances of your vessel. Keep in mind that momentum will keep your boat in motion, even when you put it in reverse.
Propellers thrust more on one side than on the other. This is common, and the effect can be even stronger in reverse. This is called walking. When you first put your boat in reverse, the stern may try to go sideways instead of backwards. You won’t need as much turning momentum if this is the case with your vessel.
Please understand that conditions can affect the way that your boat glides into a slip. What we are talking about here is docking in calm conditions. Docking, like parallel parking in a vehicle, takes practice. The more often you steer into a dock, the better your skills will become.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is here for you. Call today for a free case evaluation. We want to help you put your life back together.