Docking kits are a helpful solution for new boat owners. Knowing what you need to properly dock your boat and having everything handy is vital. Having a good docking kit is a great idea however it is not a complete one. There are many factors that are a part of docking successfully. Every boat owner should still know fundamental concepts about docking their boat. Since docking your boat can vary from dock to dock you need to be prepared for any situation.
If you have just developed the love for boating and purchased a new boat, there are some boating basics you must become familiar with right away. Docking your new boat properly is one of them. Below are some tips to consider in docking your boat the right way:
1. Go slow as you approach the dock.
Even with proper fenders in the right place, you can still damage your boat, even the dock, if you come in too fast. There is nothing better than being one with your boat and the only way to do that is to be behind the helm as much as you can.
2. Analyze and guide your boat.
Docking your boat needs just enough power to be able to steer and control your boat. Insufficient speed is just as bad as too much. Take the time to calculate the current, the boat’s momentum, and the wind. This way, you can tell your boat exactly what to do with enough assertiveness.
3. Become familiar with the harbor.
If you are approaching a new dock or marina take the time to plan your docking. Share this plan with your guests or crew. Determine the wind strength, wind direction, and the type of dock (fixed finger docks, concrete wall docks, etc.) you’re approaching. Know what it is so that you can put in place the right people, fenders and docking lines.
4. Have your docking lines and fenders ready.
If one of your docking lines is tangled you may not have enough protection against the dock. Or if a docking line falls into the water, it could get caught in your propeller causing a disaster. In the case of using inflatable fenders, they should be inflated properly well before getting ready to dock your boat.
5. Do not be distracted.
The only one who can dock your boat the safe way is you. Make sure everyone on board knows what to do when before you dock your boat. Plan ahead for people to be in the right positions and even on the dock to assist you docking safely.
6. Kill the engines only when the dock lines are secure.
You cannot predict what’s going to happen before you dock successfully. It is wise to keep your engines running, so you can make necessary adjustments during mooring.
7. Don’t be embarrassed to stop.
If your boat has limitations when you maneuver, and the docking doesn’t look good, stop and turn around. Try again. It is better to do it again than get yourself in a situation where you could cause damage to your boat.
New boat owners usually neglect the fact that coming back to your dock or docking to a new dock is just as important as having fun on the water. Docking and undocking are boating skills you must master to maximize your experience on the water. It may take time but there is nothing better than getting to know your boat well through constant practice.