Secure Your Boat

figure eight cleat hitch
figure eight cleat hitch

Securing your Boat is the second half of Docking your Boat and is equally important. One isn’t any good without the other.

What is the definition of Docking a Recreational Boat? According to Doug Dawson, it is….

“Confidently and safely bringing your boat into your slip or alongside your dock; AND securing it to the dock in any conditions without yelling, swearing, jumping, boat hooks, bionics, dock helpers, guesswork or embarrassment.”

However, so many boaters practice the first half of the docking procedure; but, it isn’t much good, especially in a wind, if you don’t secure it to the dock or pier. Wind, current and momentum always move a boat away from where you want it to be. We have all observed this over and over again. One example follows:

The Captain of a twin inboard flybridge cruiser executed an A1 job of backing stern first into his slip with the wind blowing off his dock. Then, his buddy stepped off the side of the cockpit to the dock with both dock lines.

pulling rope

He dropped the stern dock line on the dock (for some unknown reason), then ran forward with the bow line.

The wind was; of course, still blowing the boat away from the dock. When the buddy got to the bow, he tried to out muscle the wind.

Eventually, this weight lifter buddy, pulled the bow in, but the stern was a long way off the dock, by then. The stern line was floating in the slip, since it had been dragged off the dock from where it had been dropped next to the stern cleat.

Can you guess what happened next?

Fouled prop

Yup. The Captain, realizing that his other transom corner was about to crash into his downwind slip neighbor’s beautiful new boat, pulled the shifts into reverse.

The props devoured the floating (now sinking) stern line.

Double trouble!!

What should the Captain have told his crew to do with the dock lines?

A perfect approach, but a not-so-good securing, resulted in a disastrous docking.

Don’t let your docking go “to hell in a hand basket”,  because the securing part failed.

Learn how to Dock AND Secure your boat.

Doug Dawson

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