Docking without mishap
Tips for getting into the slip
The skipper and crew should come up with a game plan beforehand, such as deciding which side to tie to. Good communication before the approach may prevent a shouting match at the dock.
Before you approach, make sure the boat can shift easily into forward and reverse. You don’t want to find out too late that your transmission is stuck in forward.
When returning to your own slip, leave your spring line attached to the dock so you only have to pick it up and put it around a breast cleat. This will allow you to take your time securing bow and stern lines.
If you are approaching a different slip, have your dock lines and fenders ready for deployment. Approach the dock slowly and at an angle so you can get close without hitting the dock. Coasting in limits your steerage and doesn’t allow you to correct your track.
If you can step off the boat and secure the spring line, fantastic! If a dock person is around to grab your spring line and secure it, great. But not every boater knows how to securely tie a line to a cleat, so check it before leaving the dock.
Finally, attach your bow and stern lines and adjust your fenders. Then congratulate yourself on a job well done.