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Articles to Simplify Boat Docking

There are lots of tips and tricks to help you simplify docking your boat. The following articles could help you or a friend overcome a docking obstacle. Please submit any suggestions so that we can add them in future.


Technology and design changes have improved everything in life from driving a car to sending a letter to docking a boat.

WhyThe instructions for everything have been updated—except Power Boat Docking Instructions. The big question is WHY?

Boating forums are filled with docking fears and horror stories with other boaters offering solutions that, quite frankly, are the wrong advice in most cases--the blind leading the blind. WHY?

docking-badly-2So many boaters have contacted us with their docking difficulties, that it became quite obvious something is terribly wrong. Docking a Boat (power or sail) shouldn't be difficult at all. But it is, for so many power boaters. WHY?

They turn the wheel the wrong way, put it in forward when it should be in reverse, approach from the wrong direction for the wind, approach too slowly, don't know when to shift into reverse to stop forward motion and on and on and on it goes. WHY?

We did some research and discovered....

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joy-jumperYou will remember Frantic Fran and Jittery Joe from a previous newsletter. They were ready to give up on boating. Then, they learned how to dock it and decided that boating was fun after all.

Well, now we’d like to share their continuing story:

"Best Investment we ever made"

Last year, we were ready to sell our boat and get out of boating all together, because it was just too stressful and difficult. When we found Doug Dawson’s Boat Docking lessons, all that changed and we decided to keep the boat. It was the best investment we ever made. Doug’s docking lessons made so much sense and were so easy to follow, it didn’t take long before we could easily and confidently dock our boat bow first. The FLIPP Line™ procedure made so much sense. Our whole attitude toward boating has changed now that we can focus on enjoying it rather than worrying about handling the boat—particularly the docking part.

Then, we were  hooked and wanted more…..

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It's Your Choice!

It doesn't matter what you're looking for, you'll probably find it on the net. Whether you need a recipe for dinner, a new gadget, to find a friend, a cure for a health condition, a news story, a You Tube sensation, or whatever, the internet is an easy, quick source of information.

BUT, how do you filter the good from the bad? Just because it's on the net doesn't mean it is accurate and correct. The good, bad and the ugly are all there!

wind-manI was recently surfing the net and came across a boating forum and found a posting by a boater with a 22' center console. His name wasn't posted, so we'll call him Murray. Murray wanted help docking his boat stern first into his slip that had a short dock and pilings at the outer ends-usually with both cross wind and current.

The advice from the other boaters on this forum was most amusing to us. Each thought he knew how to dock and freely offered advice.

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Aids to Simplify Docking

Learning to Dock as a Team, as we discussed in a previous article, really simplifies the docking process by eliminating fear and worry as you bring your boat into your slip according to your plan.

Because there are so many variables like the wind, current, or you just “blow it” for whatever reason, you could be caught off guard. It would be nice to know that your screw up will not result in any damage to your boat or your slip neighbor’s boat. Well, there are many products you can buy to help you in those awkward situations. But, beware, there are many inventions being marketed as the best invention ever. We feel they only complicate a process that should and can be simple.

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Once boaters figure out how to change docking from "a challenge" to a "team sport", they enjoy rather than fear it.

One boating couple, Fran and Joe (names have been changed), told me they were ready to give up boating all together because "docking was too difficult". This is their story.

Fran and Joe's Story

We had only had our boat a week and already decided that boating was too nerve-racking to be enjoyable because docking and undocking was a nightmare.

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Dock Bumper - Half Round

bumper-half-catWhen you are docking in the same seasonal slip time after time, you may wish to dock "fenderless". To accomplish this, you can attach these Half Round Dock Bumpers to the vertical surface of your dock. This method allows you to leave your boat fenders stored aboard without the necessity of putting them away each time you go out and rehanging on each return.

Also, Dock Bumpers allow family members to learn how to dock and undock without damaging your boat because they don't ride up onto the dock surface like many fenders that aren't hung properly.

The Half Round Dock Bumpers can be screwed to the vertical surface of your dock either horizontally or vertically depending on your dock height. The aft one should be mounted so that your transom corner sits against it. The second and third dock bumper can be mounted roughly 5' apart depending on your boat length and docking ability.

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