Have you thought of everything for your next boating holiday? Chances are, you probably haven't. The list is so long, I don't know of anyone who hasn't forgotten something.
BUT, there are a few important details that most boaters overlook, that could make the difference between an enjoyable holiday and a frustrating, stressful one!
Most sailors and power boaters plan their annual cruising holiday to explore the lakes, rivers and canals for a week or two or more. Loaded up with all the necessities of food, water, ice, fuel, clothing, sun screen, charts, etc.; they head out ready for some fun and sun.
Some have spent time researching their trip and carefully planned their anchorages and marinas they intend to visit; so that they will be able to replenish their food, water, fuel and other supplies, as well as pump out their holding tanks. (A full holding tank when there is no pumpout facility nearby can really ruin a holiday in a hurry.)
All the necessary way points have been entered into the GPS, routes created and they are ready to cast off and go. But...
Marinas and docks are all different
Docks at the marinas you'll visit are all different and require different docking techniques. You may be required to dock on the port side, instead of the starboard side like you are used to doing. Backing into a slip might be best, depending on the length of the slip. Some docks are short with pilings beyond for tying, while others could be high piers. Approaches may be different than home port and current or wind may interfere with your docking.
In some situations, the cleats may not be in the expected locations. You may need extra lines or longer lines, so should take extra for your trip. (You can never have too many lines.) You may have to hang fenders horizontally and/or in pairs to better protect your boat depending on the slip configuration.
If you aren’t prepared and ready for these variables, your dream holiday might turn into a horror show. Be prepared for the variables and the unexpected.
Rules and Procedures
Once docked, you need to know each marinas rules and procedures. What are their requirements for pets, garbage, BBQing to name a few. For example; you don’t want to have an early morning departure underway and show up to pay your dockage an hour or two before the office opens. Or, visit the washroom late at night, only to find out you need a key or card to enter the building and there is no staff around.
Knowing their hours of operation ahead of time eliminates frustrations and ensures a more enjoyable stay. Be sure to ask all your questions upon arrival.
Call ahead of time to confirm your reservation and make sure the marina can provide what you need. I remember once we didn’t check with the marina to see if they had fuel. We’d been there many times before and knew they did. Our tank had just enough fuel to get there, so we didn’t think there was a problem. Not So! When we arrived, they were renovating and had no power to run the gas pump. Leaving wasn’t an option, because now we had no fuel to get to the next marina. So, we had to wait until renovations were finished. If only we’d called, we could have chosen a different fuel stop.
Don’t be caught with your fuel tank empty or your holding tank full.
Many marinas are experiencing low water and may not have the depth you need either at the harbour entrance or at the dock.
Check first. We know boaters who have damaged their props right in their assigned slip.
Be sure to add the above items to your check list before heading out on your boating holiday to avoid the frustrations so many experience.
There is so much more and not enough room in one newsletter. For a complete list along with tips on docking at different types of docks, check out our new e-Lesson "Docking while Cruising".
The “Docking While Cruising” e-Lesson has 23 pages of information and tips, as well as different docking techniques to help you at various marinas’ transient docks and/or slips. Learn the proven FLIPP Line™ docking and undocking techniques to simplify docking in any conditions.
There is a long list of 22 questions to ask the marina, so you won’t run into frustrating situations during your stay. It also covers tips on washrooms, laundry, security, safety and much more.
Replace the unknown with knowledge and confidence to ensure a more enjoyable, less stressful holiday.
The “Docking While Cruising” e-Lesson is a holiday saver for only $11.95.
One tip could be worth many times that.
What is your holiday worth?
Doug and Brenda Dawson