During the docking process, the Captain should be focused on docking the boat, knowing that his First Mate is prepared and ready so they can carrry out their docking plan as a team.
Then, docking the boat is accomplished without any complications or difficulty.
Sometimes; however, we see family members, or guests aboard, do what they should not do.
This can lead to an aborted docking attempt or even worse, an injury.
Once the Captain decides on a docking plan and communicates it to his First Mate, the First Mate should be correctly positioned and ready while any other crew are also ready to perform whatever tasks have been assigned to them.
All other family members and guests should “Sit Still and Be Quiet!
Why? Young children running around the cockpit is a distraction and it isn’t safe for them. A fast forward or fast reverse for any reason could result in loss of balance. The result could be a nasty fall with possible injury requiring the attention of the Captain taking his focus away from docking.
No one should be running around the side decks either during the docking process for the same reason. A fall on the deck or a fall into the water can result in much worse than just a fall and injury. Now the Captain has a man-overboard situation while docking.
Any adults moving around on a boat under 30’ fore and aft or side to side can change the trim of the boat resulting in the boat steering itself and surprising the Captain.
Avoid falls and injury and make docking easier for you and your family and guests. Instruct them to sit quietly during the docking process until you and your First Mate have the boat secured and tied.
See also: Docking is a Team Sport
Dawson’s Docking e-Lessons teach boaters how to not only bring their boat smoothly to the dock but also how to easily and safely tie it—without yelling, swearing, jumping, boat hooks, bionics, dock helpers or guesswork—regardless of dock/deck height differential and weather conditions. Each drive system requires different techniques.