Out on the water, boating is enjoyable and relaxing. But when you’re coming in to dock—especially if it’s crowded—things can often turn tricky and stressful. It doesn’t need to be, though.
Follow these tips and you’ll soon become a master at docking.
• Practice makes perfect. As with any activity, the more you practice, the better you get. Find an empty or uncrowded dock and spend time sharpening your docking skills.
• Go slow. If you do hit the dock, you don’t want to be moving fast enough to cause any damage. And the faster you go, the less margin for error you have. Take it easy and slow as you guide your boat in.
• Stay safe. It’s important for passengers to keep their hands inside the boat while docking – especially younger boaters. Getting a finger smashed or an arm pinched between the boat and the dock can put a damper on what was a fun day.
• Consider the conditions. Wind, current and momentum can all cause your boat to move in unexpected ways. Factor in the conditions are you maneuver toward the dock.
• Use short bursts. While you want to move slowly, you still need to power your boat toward the dock. Using short bursts of power keeps you from building up too much momentum and allows you to correct mistakes quickly.
• Turn before powering. By turning your wheel before you apply power, rather than during or after, it prevents your boat from moving unpredictably and keeps you aimed at your target.
• Get help. If you have help available onboard, use it. Don’t be bashful about asking passengers to help fend off as you come up on the dock.
• Fender placement matters. Consider where your boat is most likely to contact the dock and pilings. If you can place your fenders precisely where they are most effective, it makes docking a lot easier.
• Be willing to retreat. There’s no shame in backing out and trying again if you’ve taken the wrong approach. Put your ego aside and be willing to quit a bad attempt and give it a fresh go.
• The right boat matters. Having a boat with an intelligent design helps. Crownline’s Fast Tab Hull Design reduces stern wander at low speeds and helps with control and handling – including when docking.
• Talk to a pro. Your Crownline dealer can provide assistance and give you some great pointers during your new boat delivery and demo.