I DID NOT KNOW My Boat Would do That! Boat Handling


I didn’t know my boat would do THAAAAT!”

We often hear this statement of amazement when teaching boaters (both power and sail) to boat handling in the confines of a marina or harbor.

What’s even more amazing, is that boaters don’t get instruction to learn what hidden talents their boats have when it comes to boat handling in the harbor.

All boats are different, but once you learn what your boat will and won’t do, you are in control.

Open Water vs Harbor

Operating your boat in open water doesn’t require near as much skill as maneuvering in close quarters in the confines of a marina or a harbor where you and others may be in the same fairway docking at the same time. You can’t just steer away like you can on open water. You have to know how to make your boat do exactly what you want it to do. For example; when someone pulls out in front of you, or a kid in a dinghy decides to cut you off, you may have to hold a stationary position for several minutes until he gets out of the way—even if it’s windy.

What talents would you like to discover about your boat?

Harbor Design

Marinas are in business to make money. The docks and slips and layout are designed to maximize their dockage revenue. Marina design engineers know how many slips, the length they should be, the width of the fairway, etc. The slips are engineered for boaters who can handle their boats. They aren’t going to rearrange their dock layout for boaters who haven’t learned how to handle their boats yet.


As I wander the dock/pier in any marina, I hear all the excuses from guys and gals:

  • “My dock is too short.”
  • “My slip is too narrow.”
  • “The fairway is too tight.”
  • “The wind is too strong.”
  • “That idiot cut me off.”
  • “The guy in the slip next to mine, sticks out too far.”
  • “My boat doesn’t go where I want it to go.”
  • “My buddy told me how to do it. It works on his boat but not on mine.”
  • “I need dock helpers and there was no one around.”
  • “I thought the guy yelling advice knew what he was talking about.”
  • “My wife screwed up!”

I never hear “Oh that was easy” or “That docking went well” from the boaters and sailors who know how to handle their boats and dock with ease.

They just do it flawlessly every time—same boats, same marina, same weather conditions.

How to Handle Your Boat

Doug Dawson’s Docking Lessons include “How to Handle Your Boat” with skill and accuracy in your harbor/marina with predictable results. On-the-water exercises explain in detail what to do and why. You will learn:

  • How to do a 180 degree turn at the end of a tight fairway.
  • How to maneuver and dock single handedly.
  • When to use the wheel and when not to use the wheel.
  • When to use both shifts and when to use only one shift.
  • How to increase the speed of your turn and still keep the turn tight.
  • How to win against the wind.
  • What to do in extreme weather.
  • Much more.

If you are having challenges maneuvering in your harbor, the only alternative is to learn how to your boat responds to the wheel, shift(s) and throttle(s) so you can handle and control your boat in close quarters with predictable results.

Get a Lesson for YOUR BOAT today!

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New boaters can shorten the learning curve,

while seasoned boaters will be able to improve their skills.

Just be sure to get the right lesson to match your drive system.

What works for one, won’t work for the other.

2 thoughts on “I DID NOT KNOW My Boat Would do That! Boat Handling”

  1. Very informational read. I can relate a lot to the excuses part, I’ve probably heard each one of the listed excuses at least a few time each. A lot of people don’t understand that practice is everything.

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