The most calls I get from boat owners are ones that go “I need some help getting my boat in and out of the marina or boat ramp”. This is the time when you are most likely to hit something or another boat. It is also the time when the most pressure is on you from watching bystanders, family and friends. You want to look like you own the boat and know how it handles.

To start with, visit a marina or boat ramp to observe and learn from others the “do’s and don’ts” of docking. Which skipper best demonstrates vessel control, preparation, good communication and confidence? Watch the deck crew and how they prepare and hold the lines as they approach the dock. A trained and well-instructed crew is what makes the skipper look good!

Rope handling needs to be taught and practiced.
Everyone should know how to tie a Bowline.
Practice a simple figure eight to tie of the mooring lines. Don’t overdo the knot!
Throwing a line is a skill.
Have lines that are “clean” without kinks or any knots along their length.
Always use the cleat or bollard to take the strain.

Communicate to crew how you intend to dock.
What side are you docking to?
Where is your “Aim-Point”?
Where do you want the fenders and what height?
Which line first and which length?
Do you want to tie off to the boat or to the dock?

What are the “natural forces”
Is there a current?
How will the wind affect your approach?
Can you choose a way to let the wind and current to work for you?
Come in slow and easy, less power is best.
Get one line on and the rest is easy!

BoatSchool offers a special 3-hour “Docking Course” on your boat for $295.00. You and up to 3 others will be shown and given practice in: –
“Aiming” your boat into the dock.
Fender and line placement.
Knots – Figure eight, Bowline, Round Turn and two half hitches.
Managing and throwing lines.
How to best secure your boat either as a visitor or in your permanent berth.
Give John a call on 0422002872 or email

The following video by Capt. John Winns is an easy and informative one to watch.

Boating IS meant to be easy!
John Sanders