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#572599 - 07/21/19 10:14 AM Single-Engine Docking Tips  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,320
MarkHB Offline
Dressed for dinner
MarkHB  Offline
Dressed for dinner

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,320
Norris Lake, TN

10 tips for successfully docking a single-engine boat.

By John Tiger

July 8, 2013

Chances are you’ve crashed into a dock at least once. Those with years of experience make not crashing look easy most times. It’s like backing a rig down the ramp — hard to explain, but experience makes it seem simple. For boaters with single-engine rigs, here are some tips that make docking easier.

1. Practice docking at a deserted pier, much as you practiced ­driving a car in an empty parking lot. Nothing makes you more confident than repetitive practice.
2. Heed the wind. If it's blowing from the pier, approach at a steep angle, using reverse gear and prop torque to swing the stern toward the dock. If it's blowing toward the dock, plan to come "alongside" a boat width or more away, allowing the wind to push you all the way home.
3. Reduce the sail area. On windy days, consider reducing your "sail area" by taking the Bimini top down, because it will catch the wind and take away away a degree of slow speed control.
4. Go slowly. Coming in fast increases your chances of making mistakes and reduces your reaction time.
5. Turn and burn. Always turn the wheel just before applying power — not during or after. Doing so inhibits the stern from kicking around while keeping the bow aimed at the target.
6. Ascertain pivot point. An outboard or sterndrive will steer from the stern, while many inboards will steer from a point forward of the transom. Learn your boat's pivot point to determine your turning ability in tight quarters.
7. Ask for help. As in navigation, prudent boaters should use all the tools at their disposal. It might not seem macho, but in rough conditions, there's absolutely no shame in asking the crew to fend off. Do warn them about catching hands and feet on the dock as you sidle up.
8. Consider prop torque. Most props are right-handed (they turn clockwise in forward gear when viewed from astern). While reversing, a right-hand prop pushes the stern to starboard and the bow to port. Use this "kick" to gain more control.
9. Turn straight. Backing a single-engine boat straight, or nearly so, requires turning the wheel to offset prop torque with the directional thrust of an outboard or sterndrive, or an inboard's rudder-deflected prop wash.
10. Hot line. In many situations, the use of springlines proves helpful.

Link to article

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#572600 - 07/21/19 10:29 AM Re: Single-Engine Docking Tips [Re: MarkHB]  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,086
Silverbullet Offline
Silverbullet  Offline

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,086
Boise, ID
All good tips.

I prefer just to come in hot while yelling at my wife and kids to grab the dock as we scream by. When you beach it on the ramp it makes retrieval easier.

In all seriousness, the one that is still toughest for me is wind blowing away from the docks.

2002 Cobalt 226 VP 8.1GIDP
2007 Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax
1988 Suburban 3/4 Ton
2000 Subaru Forester

#572613 - 07/22/19 09:27 PM Re: Single-Engine Docking Tips [Re: Silverbullet]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,649
GoFirstClass Offline
Retired Boating Bum
GoFirstClass  Offline
Retired Boating Bum
Grand Poobah

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,649
Pasco, WA
Originally Posted by Silverbullet
All good tips.

In all seriousness, the one that is still toughest for me is wind blowing away from the docks.

SB, that's interesting. That's the easiest for me because the wind is slowing my approach to the slip. I back into the slip so with the wind blowing off the dock I'm backing upwind and can easily control my approach angle and speed.

Backing into the slip with the wind blowing toward the dock is my hardest. I have to keep the bow pointed into the wind and I sort of let it push me downwind into the slip. Sounds like it would be easier but for me, stoopedo that I am, it's harder.

Item #11 to Mark's list: Buy a boat with twins. d roflmao

"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge

Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#572617 - 07/23/19 10:23 AM Re: Single-Engine Docking Tips [Re: MarkHB]  
Joined: Aug 2005
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tpenfield Offline
tpenfield  Offline

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,393
Cape Cod, MA
Step 4B . . . approach the dock only at the speed which you are willing to hit it.


Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

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#572645 - 08/04/19 09:27 PM Re: Single-Engine Docking Tips [Re: MarkHB]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 136
Knotty Buoy Offline
Knotty Buoy  Offline

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 136
Groveland Township, MI
Amen to 4b and1. Over 4th of July week I taught 2 of my kids to dock. By the end of the week, (after much practice) they could “parallel” park and pull out between 2 other boats using spring lines. My 14 and 17 old daughters impressed the nervous owners of some 36 foot boats as they docked our 4 Winn’s 20 foot horizon between them with no fuss or panic. Thank heavens for 4 foots seas on Lake Erie and kids who love to boat that gave us 4-5 hours of practice, on a couple of different days. I have learned I am a better teacher than doer. They listen to advice that I forget as I am doing it,

Knotty Buoy
1999 Four Winns 200 Horizon
2001 Sierra 2500 HD 6600 Duramax/Allison Transmission - sold
2005 E350 Econoline 6.0 - sold
2018 Suburban

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