Docking & Undocking
It’s inevitable that when conditions are at their worst, you’ll have an audience. Prior planning and practice will not only keep you and your passengers safe and protect your boat, it will also help you avoid serious personal humiliation.
Prior to getting underway, you should implement an undocking plan with the help of your passengers. You should consider the traffic in the area, the direction of wind and current and the depth of the water.
(A Note from the Crew: Do not assume that your passengers have the same experience that you have or that they can read your mind. Be specific and give direction if you ask for their help. This not only protects their safety but their pride as well.)
When the wind or current is pushing your boat away from the dock the procedure is simple.
1. Cast off lines and pull in fenders as the wind blows you away.
If the wind or current is pushing your boat toward the dock you will have to do some extra planning.
1. Cast off all lines except an after bow spring line. This line will keep you from moving forward and allow the stern to pivot away from the dock. (see illustration)
Once you are clear of the dock, stow lines and fenders so they will not be in the way or pose a tripping hazard. Be sure to control speed when leaving the dock and check for other boats, swimmers or other obstacles.
Before approaching the dock, one end of the docking lines should be secured onboard; fenders readied and speed reduced.
If the wind is onshore (blowing toward the dock), the boat is brought to a position parallel to the dock and about two feet off. The wind will blow the boat in. It can then be secured by bow, stern and spring lines.
If the wind is offshore (blowing away from the dock), you should approach the dock at a 20 to 30 degree angle. A bow line is passed ashore and secured. In boats with an outboard, or inboard/outboard engine, the engine is turned towards the dock and put in reverse. This will bring the stern into the dock. The boat can then be secured with the stern line.
The procedure is different for boats with inboard engines. The rudder will be used to bring the stern in. To push the stern in using the rudder, attach an after bow spring to keep the boat from moving forward. With the engine idling forward, turn the wheel away from the dock as illustrated below. Since the boat cannot move forward and the rudder is pushing the stern in, the boat will pin itself against the dock while you secure the other lines. All maneuvers are more easily accomplished if the boat has twin engines, rather than a single engine.
For additional information on docking check out Docking Tips Continued . . ..