Docking your boat can be stressful. Wind, currents and other watercraft can make docking difficult, but if you follow these four easy steps, the process can be swift, simple and successful.
1. ANALYZE YOUR APPROACH
Approach the dock at a 30- to 45-degree angle with your bow aimed at the center of your landing point. If the wind and current will be pushing you toward the dock, approach at a shallower angle. If the wind and current are pushing you away, consider a steeper approach.
2. SLOW DOWN
Don’t be afraid to creep into position. Any hits will be minimized the slower you’re going. Get to know your boat’s acceleration sensitivity and practice a slow and steady, controlled approach. This may require bumping the boat in and out of gear to maintain the correct speed.
3. SWING IN
When you’re within a half a boat length, turn the wheel hard away from the dock and add a final bump to the engine.
4. LINE UP
Finally, turn the wheel back toward the dock and put the engine in reverse to bring yourself parallel. This should put you right where you need to be.
Remember, there’s no shame in a missed dock that needs a second, or third, attempt. The first rule of any boat operation is safety, so stay calm and know that each time you pull in, you’re building essential skills that will soon make you a docking expert.