Boating safety is no joke. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of boating accidents in the United States increased by 26.3%. Nearly 800 Americans died in boating accidents. 

Dozens of accidents occurred during the boat docking process. If you want to be a safer boater, you need to study a few tips so you know how to start docking your boat properly.

What should you do before you approach the dock? What tools do you need to dock? How can you tie your boat to a dock?

Answer these questions and you can park your boat as easily as you park a car. Here are five important docking tips.

1. Have the Right Materials

To dock your boat, you need fenders, lines, and ropes. The fenders will keep your boat from colliding with the dock and the lines and ropes will secure your boat to it.

You should store these materials in a box so you can access them right away. Someone should stay by them as you are approaching the dock and handle them.

2. Understand Environmental Factors

Water currents, wind directions, and wind speeds can make docking your boat difficult. Take a look at the flags near the dock to see what direction and how intense the wind is moving. Throw an object into the water and use a timer to see how long it takes to get to a point 10 or so yards away.

Adjust docking tips based on what you see. If the current or wind is moving your boat toward the dock, you need to slow down to avoid a collision. If you are boating in crowded waters, you should signal to other vessels and wear a life vest.  

3. Prepare for Boat Docking in Advance

In addition to examining environmental conditions, you need to have your lines ready. Keep them out of the water and make sure they do not interfere with the propeller. 

Look at how deep the water is around your boat. You can lower a boat attached to an anchor, let it strike the bottom, then raise the rope and see how wet the rope is. You should only prepare for docking if you have enough water for the bottom of your boat.

4. Move Slowly

As you approach a dock, you should move below the speed limit. Be careful when turning your boat, as turning your boat at a high speed can lead to capsizing. As you get closer, you should go even slower so the person with your lines can attach them to the dock.

5. Tie Your Boat to the Dock

You should tie your boat using cleats on your stern, bow, and center of the boat. Use strong types of naval knots that will not untangle in the wind or due to rocky waves. Do not allow any slack in your ropes, as slack will allow your boat to move around.

Master Boat Docking

Boat docking is trickier than you think it is. You must buy supplies before you go boating, then you must monitor the environmental conditions. Inspect the water and make sure you are clear of other vessels. 

Keep your speed low, and go slower as you get closer. Once you’re in the dock, tie your boat using several lines. Create sturdy knots that will keep your boat close to the dock in windy conditions.

If you’re a new boat owner, you should get more tips from experts. The Mariner serves boaters in the Florida area. Contact us today.