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VOL. 9 NO. 8
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Leaving the dock

Learn how to depart the dock like a pro

Leaving the dock

In the absence of wind or current and with plenty of room ahead, docking your boat is pretty straightforward: Simply ease forward and away from the dock, turning gently so as not to clip it with your stern quarter.

If the wind or current is ahead of you or off the dock, untie the bow and let it swing clear. Then apply forward power steering to keep your stern quarter clear.

When the wind or current is directly on the dock, pinning you to it, cast off all dock lines except your after-bow spring line. Make sure you have fenders in place. Turn your helm toward the dock and apply gentle forward power against the spring line, and your stern should swing away from the dock. Now release the spring, and you should be able to back clear. This method also works when the wind or current is pushing you from behind.

(Hint: If you double the spring line around a dock cleat or bollard with both ends aboard the boat, you can recover it from the boat simply by releasing one end and pulling in the other.)

To clear a tight berth going ahead rather than astern, back down on a forward quarter spring line with your helm centered. The forces working against the restraining line will swing your bow out. Then apply forward power, recover your spring line and proceed.
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