5 Common Mistakes You Make When Docking Your Boat

If you’re a boating enthusiast, chances are you love nothing more than getting out there on the open water and feeling the wind in your face. However, without the right techniques and a little finesse, docking the boat at the end of the day can be a hassle—or even dangerous. There are many ways to mess up docking a boat: you could come in too quickly and slam the dock, try to dock with the current and wind at full force and underestimate how strong those forces are, over-correct on the throttle, or even fail to tie off on the cleats correctly. Here are five common mistakes people make when docking their boat.

Misjudging the Wind and Current5 Common Mistakes You Make When Docking Your Boat

When you fail to identify exactly how strong the wind is or which way the current is pulling the boat, you can do some serious damage to your boat when trying to pull into the dock. Experienced boaters always try to determine which natural force is the strongest, as heading into it creates a natural brake. Be patient in this process, don’t overwork the throttle, and respect the natural delay between the helm action and the boat’s movement.

Slamming the Dock

Everyone’s on shore watching you bring the boat in, and because the pressure is on you come in too hot and slam the dock. Your boat might come away with some scrapes and your ego with some bruises. Avoid this in the future by judging your approach to the dock cautiously, balancing gentle acceleration with enough juice to get you there safely. Approach the dock slowly, but also know when to apply sufficient power to counter and then overcome the wind, current, momentum and other factors at play.

Leaning on the Throttle

It’s always better to approach the dock in short bursts of power rather than a strong, steady pace. This way, you can maneuver the boat without having to worry about a lot of forward momentum, which can turn a simple docking procedure into a crash course in what not to do. It’s much easier to give the motor a little gas and speed up than it is to slow a boat in motion down.

Not Tying Off on the Cleats Properly

So you’ve got the boat docked but you get preoccupied with something else and forget to make enough wraps or twist the line to finish off the cleat. This one wrong move can send your drifting off and you’ll have to catch it before you can dock all over again. Always make sure to tie off properly before starting the next task.

Over-Correcting on the Throttle

It takes a moment for the corrections you make at the helm to be reflected in the boat’s motion. Be patient—just a little more gas on the throttle will produce more momentum than you might expect. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.

Care and patience are the name of the game when docking your boat. Even if you’ve done this 1,000 times before, always assess the situation carefully. A proper dock can also help with docking. Look through V-Dock’s selection today to find the right dock for your needs!

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