Barletta Content Manager, 7+ years Manufacturer Marketing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Customer Experience
June 15, 2021
My boat docking situation is less than favorable. Let me set the scene. My pontoon boat, including the motor, comes in around 29’ in total length. Our dock is located in a narrow channel and the pier itself runs parallel to the seawall.
That means, no matter how I come in, I have to park my boat sideways unlike at a dock that runs perpendicular to the seawall. To make things interesting, I prefer to turn the boat around before docking.
This way, I’m facing the right direction the next time I plan to take off from the dock. What takes this to the next level is the fact that there are two boats parked across the channel from me. So, when I swing the boat around to park, I have to be careful not to hit the boats that are sitting across from my house.
It’s a process, but I’ve been doing it this way for years and have it nailed down to near perfection. In the beginning, I would watch my neighbors cringe in fear for their boats; however, years later, they don’t even think twice about my parking skills.
I tell you this because I know the parking scaries all too well. A majority of the process is mentally preparing yourself so that you’re not so nervous you hit the throttle hard and ram into the dock or a neighboring boat.
Once you’ve conquered the nerves, there’s four steps to parking bliss. I’ve listed each step in detail below. Remember, stay calm, go slow, and practice as much as you can.
While you’re on the water, before approaching the docking area, prepare the boat for landing. Make sure the gear you need is in place such as dock lines and fenders. Doing so will prevent you from scrambling last minute while at the dock.
Whether you’re cruising mid-lake or approaching the dock, it’s important to know what the water is like in that area. What is in your path while trying to park? Do you need to use the trim function? Knowing what’s around you will help you prepare mentally for the docking process.
This is when you start to feel the nerves kick in. The pier is in site and it’s time to make your move towards docking the boat. Remember to stay calm and go slow, let the boat do all of the work.
You did it! You have successfully made it to the pier and now it’s time to secure the boat. Tie off and assess the situation, you can easily make small changes by hand instead of going through the docking process all over again.
See, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! Don’t forget to shut down the boat and make sure it’s protected from the elements. I usually make sure everything is off including the lights and radio.
Next I go a step further and turn the battery switch to off because a healthy battery makes for a healthy boat. Once the boat is completely shut down, I make sure to clear off the lake gear and any food items that were brought on board.
Lastly it’s time to put on the mooring cover and get ready for the next boat outing so we can do it all over again. Docking may seem like a daunting task, but once you shake the nerves, take your time, and get a feel for your docking process, you won’t think twice about it.