Docking a boat can be difficult for many operators. It is a skill that is honed by boaters over time. There is, however, no reason to let this cause you stress. There are things any boater, even the newest, can do to make docking a boat a cinch.
4 Steps for Docking a Boat
- Check your boat’s minimum water depth – The first thing you will want to do is to determine the minimum water depth for your boat. To do this, you must measure from the place where the water reaches the side of the boat to the tip of the underside of the boat. This measurement tells you how much of the bottom of the boat will be submerged, or sink. Thus, you can see what the minimum water depth for the boat is.
- Find out the water depth where you plan to dock – Then you will want to measure the depth of the water where you plan to be docking a boat. To do this, lower a rope with an anchor into the water and bring it up to measure the amount of rope that was underwater. The depth of water needs to exceed the minimum water depth for your boat.
- Be aware and prepared – Chances are, you will most commonly be docking your boat in a private slip or at a public marina. Be aware of your surroundings, and always proceed slowly when docking a boat. It is a best practice to have your docking lines and fenders ready ahead of time on both sides of the boat. As always, keep a keen eye out for nearby boats, and pay attention to wind, water, and current conditions.
- Center and back in slowly – As you know, when you have a boat slip, you don’t have much room to make a mistake. You will position your boat so you can back into the slip. Always center your wheel before you begin backing in. Keep it slow and steady as you back in. Ensure your passengers aren’t moving around at this time.