Here are 12 tips that will not only make you better at close-quarters maneuvering and docking, but will also make you a better all-around boater. Remember, the cardinal rule of docking is never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it.

  1. Come Up With a Plan
    First and foremost, you must be aware of how your boat handles, particularly at bare steerage-way. The more comfortable you become, the more confident you’ll be when trying to slip it into a tight space in a jammed marina.
  2. Learn How to Use Wind and Current to Your Advantage
    When docking in a tough spot, wind and current — coupled with knowledge of how they affect your boat — plus situational awareness can serve you better than an army of deck hands.
  3. Dockmaster Docking Tip
    The first line to toss is your spring line, with loop fed through your boat’s cleat.
  4. Warped Thinking
    Perfect the technique of “warping” to help you get out of tight docking situations.
  5. Leeward Lines First
    Remove the lines on the downward side first, since only the lines to weather are holding your boat in position.
  6. Using Reverse
    Learn how to make a reversing propeller your best friend and minimize stress and aggravation when docking.