Access to a berth in the harbor can be achieved by going forward, backward, or by making a slot. This is called a docking maneuver.
A boat does not turn when stopped and does not brake like a car. Depending on the type of boat, engine maneuvering is more or less complex.
Aquarius Boat Rental, the best boat rental company in Miami is proud to explain to you today, how to safely dock a boat. In navigation, docking is a technique that must be mastered. Often the conditions are not ideal for this operation; for instance, you don’t know the location of the marina, you have rented a boat during the holidays, or you return to your place with rough weather conditions.
In any case, you must dock without damaging the boat.
Through these tips, you will learn that the way you dock your boat highly depends on the type of boat you are piloting.
Most likely when you are renting a boat, it will be an inboard, inboard/outboard or an outboard. Sometimes, like with Aquarius Boat Rental, you will have another drive type: the jet drive. Very smooth but a bit harder to dock. Thankfully, Aquarius Boat Rental Miami has equipped its Jet boat with a Cobra Jet Steering upgrade so the boat is very easy to maneuver.
Learn more about the different drive types for boats here.
But let’s get back to our docking:
Outboard Sailing Boat-Inboard
In all cases, a moderate arrival speed should be adopted and the maneuver should be completed over inertia.
You must check the wind direction(s) and its strength, and the same goes for the current. Next, observe the entry and exit of boats from all over the marina, and nearby breakdowns. Sailing boats can be easily spotted with their masts, motor boats can appear at any moment.
Step 1: The slow approach to the center of the desired square
When you approach the space on the dock where you wish to moor, you first assess the wind and current. If the wind and current are pushing you towards the pontoon, a small angle helps you stay in control and not hit the dock with the bow of the boat.
If the wind and current tend to push you away from the dock, you will need a faster approach to maintain sufficient speed. You start with an angle of 30 to 45°. Steer your course toward the center of your landing area.
Step 2: Starboard rudder, forward engine
When your bow is close to the pontoon, half a boat’s length away, you turn the rudder to starboard (away from the dock). This is where getting to know your boat becomes important, especially when it comes to pivots. If you turn too early, you will not be parallel to the dock. Once the rudder is turned, you accelerate the engine for a moment to give the boat a boost. This also allows you to move the front of the dock away from the dock (to starboard) so that you don’t touch it.
Step 3: Port rudder, stern engine
As the boat slides towards the pontoon, you turn the rudder to port and reverse the engine (on twin engines, you use the engine furthest from the pontoon for maximum effect). This reduces your speed and brings the stern of the boat closer to the dock on the port side. When the boat has stopped moving, you put it in neutral. You tie your boat to the pontoon.
If you have little space between two other boats, you present the bow on the pontoon in the middle of the square at an angle of 30°. A crew member puts bumpers on the bow while you hold the bow along the dock and the crew member disembarks with a mooring line which, attached to a cleat at the front of the boat, is attached to the pontoon cleat at the middle of the boat. You make a slow forward step. The bow guard turns the stern towards the pontoon, you put the stern guard in place to prevent him from moving away from the pontoon afterward the two spikes.
ANTICIPATE COMMON MISTAKES
- Stay focused.
- Be prepared to reduce or cut the throttle if the boat is moving too fast or to re-apply the throttle if the boat is no longer maneuverable (sailboat and inboard).
- Keep a close eye on the movements of other boats to possibly put the maneuver on standby and make circles in the meantime, or give a clear indication of the new direction if there is a risk of collision.
- Always keep an eye on other people on board.
With all these tips, you are ready to safely dock your boat!
Remember when you are renting a boat in Miami to always proceed with caution and if you are scared, feel free to consult our article about the best tips when renting a boat in Miami.