Docking & Mooring

Docking & Mooring

Docking and mooring are some of the most challenging aspects of boating. The task is difficult in calm water, but when high traffic, adverse weather and rough waters are added, it can become nearly impossible.

Improper docking and mooring of boats in marinas and boat ramp areas, especially in bad weather, causes many accidents, injuries, and significant boat and property damage each year. There are several factors that should be taken into account when deciding upon a proper docking technique, including:

·        Type and size of the boat

·        Amount of boat traffic in the harbor

·        Wind and current

·        Abilities and skill of the boat operator

The following are proper techniques for docking and mooring a boat.

Proper Docking and Mooring Procedures

As boat operators approach the dock, they should slow speed significantly. The fenders on the dock-facing side of the vessel should be secured, and the docking lines should be prepared for use.

The direction in which the wind is blowing, and the current, should be taken into consideration when docking. These factors have a significant effect on docking. It is always better to dock a boat against the wind, if possible.

If a boater is able to dock the boat with the wind in his face, he should approach the dock at a steep angle and swing the boat around quickly. If the boat must be docked while moving in the same direction as the wind (at the back), the boater should approach the dock at a shallow angle and let the current slowly move the boat into place.

Boat showing the steps for a correct docking procedure.Boat showing the steps for a correct docking procedure

In marinas with heavy traffic, boat operators should remain patient and respectful of others. There may be a wait period before one of the docking stations is available. Boaters should only approach the area when a docking station is open and when they have indicated to other boaters around them that they are proceeding.

Boaters must always be aware of the type and size of the boat they are operating. These factors can alter how a boat handles while docking and mooring. A much larger boat, for example, is less maneuverable than a smaller, more nimble boat. This means that the larger boat needs more space and time to adjust a course heading. Similarly, the steering capability can be difference. Your boat may steer with a rudder, or it may be steered with a propeller. Each steering method has its differences that must be taken into consideration when adjusting your direction while mooring or docking.