How To Dock A Boat: Easy 8 Step Guide2021-08-04T13:18:17-04:00

How To Dock A Boat: Easy 8 Step Guide

How to Dock a boat For Beginners Whether you have a houseboat, speedboat, or fishing boat, boat docking any size or shape can look like a difficult task – it doesn’t matter if you had your skipper’s license for years or only a day.

Luckily for you, our easy step-by-step guide to dock a boat can ease your nerves while maneuvering your vessel in the choppy water. It involves preparation, speed, timing, and securing the boat and more. Read on for details.

How To Dock A Boat

1. First things first, get the docking lines and fenders prepared before the time. Place your fenders if you are docking by yourself.

2. Decide how you want to enter the slip – forwards or backward. The most popular choice is back for many reasons, like the ease it offers with loading and unloading your boat.

3. Put your boat in neutral to see from which direction the wind is coming in and how the current flows, as this will have a significant influence on which way your boat will pull.

4. Turn your boat with the wind because this will make the turn easier to control. If you do turn against the wind, the chances are high that you will need to push off of the other boats in the slips or even rocks. This can cause a dangerous situation.

5. If you are backing into a slip, drive your boat past the entrance of the slip (with the wind), then center your wheel before backing into the slip. Your speed should be very slow. Keep your eyes on the docked boats next to you and behind you. If you do come close to the boat next to you, push off the boat.

6. If you are not alone in your boat, it’s highly recommended that you tell your passengers to stay seated because any movement can cause your boat to become unsteady in this close proximity.

7. If you are happy with your boat’s distance from the boat behind you, change the gear and give it a little tap in the forward gear to stop the reverse momentum. Grab the dock from the back of the boat and then pull it closer to the dock.

8. How to tie a boat to a dock is quick to learn. On the slip or dock, there will either be cleats (they are metal-based and t-shaped) or pilings (wooden posts). Rather avoid the pilings as they are harder to tie up to than cleats. You will use your bowlines and stern lines to tie your boat to the slip or dock.

Check Out This Simple How-To Guide To Dock A Boat


For first-time dockers, this will still be nerve-wracking at best. But breath, take it slow. Very slow! And it is not just about the speed of the boat that’s referred to.

Take your time to look at the slip, observe the weather conditions and judge your distance from the other boats around the space. Even if you need to get out of the slip and retry a few times to get it right. Docking boats will become second nature the more boat driving you do.