Boats are not like cars, but we still see boaters pull out from long docks, like they were pulling out of a parallel parking spot on a street. Cars steer from the front; but, all boats steer from the stern.
Boats pivot as they turn. When you leave the dock, turning the wheel away from the dock, causes the bow to swing out, but at the same time, swings the transom in against the dock and drags it along the dock as you move. Dragging your transom corner or platform along the dock, causes damage and embarrassment.
There are many ways to avoid “butt dragging” or scraping your transom along the dock when departing.
Here are two simple things you can do when it’s calm.
- As the last person climbs aboard, simply push the whole boat away from the dock. When you turn the wheel away from the dock and shift into forward, the transom now has space to swing in toward the dock, but not hit it or drag along it.
- Turn your wheel hard over away from the dock. Pull the shift(s) into reverse. The propeller(s) pull the transom away from the dock and the bow toward the dock.
Straighten the wheel slightly to pull the bow out.
Once out of your space, you can drive away in forward leaving no drag marks behind on the dock.
Note: These work on all power boats, except Single Inboards. It only works on Single Inboard Power Boats and Sailboats, if you had landed on the dock against your torque. If so, the torque in reverse will pull you away from the dock.
Since undocking in wind, current, unique dock configurations etc. requires different techniques for each drive system, they are covered in detail in the corresponding e-Lesson.
For more information on docking lessons, click here.