Each year, around
this time, thousands of people start flocking to the waterways to
enjoy a day of boating. While many are experienced boaters, there
are plenty of first time boaters hitting the water... and the docks.
Docking techniques are always going to be dependent upon the weather
and wind conditions, but there are a few simple things you can keep
in mind. First of all, especially in this particular case, practice
makes perfect. Although we can provide tips, docking techniques in
boating are going
to be something you will have to personalize to your experience,
your boat, and the dock itself.
Many boaters make the common mistake of attempting to dock their
boats by approaching the dock in a straight line. It is much easier
to get close to the dock and improve the accuracy of your approach
by approaching the dock at an angle. Also, the speed at which you
come in to the dock must be controlled.
This is not as easy as it sounds. Often, even idle speed on a boat
is too fast and coasting reduces steering capability, making it even
more difficult to accurately line up with the dock. The best way to
counter this problem is to alternate between power for steering
(short shots of forward gear) and coasting for speed control.
You'll have to practice this one over and over. As you get closer to
the dock start to turn the boat and decelerate to a stop by using
reverse. Again, the deceleration reduces steering capability. You
are going to have to rely on the momentum of the boat to get you
over this obstacle.
Momentum and speed are not the same thing. Momentum is simply the
forward motion of the boat that will actually carry you into the
dock. You will need just enough momentum to get you to the dock and
allow you to smoothly make the shift to reverse to stop. Once you've
actually mastered this task, you'll probably agree that the best
docking technique is the one that you learn by trial and error.
Nothing will be a better teacher than practice, practice, practice.
The best advice would be to take it slow, don't get nervous or
discouraged and most importantly, remember that every time you try
it, will make it a little easier the next time.
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