Single Outboard Intro


If you have a Single Outboard boat, you need to know how to dock it. 

This will simplify docking your Single Outboard Boat. Approximately 120 pages with diagrams and pictures and step-by-step instructions in pdf format.

The “Docking Your Single Outboard-Introductory” downloadable pdf Lesson has 120 pages with 140 diagrams of proven, detailed, step-by-step instructions for handling and docking a Single Outboard Bow First–in your slip and at a gas dock.

docking-single-outboardDoug teaches:

  • Why it’s not your fault docking is so difficult
  • How your Outboard handles in open water exercises
  • Doug’s “KEY” to handling a Single Outboard
  • What to expect as you use the wheel, shift and throttle
  • How to outsmart the wind/current/fairway momentum
  • How to recover from screw-ups
  • Doug’s FLIPP Line™ procedure to simplify docking
  • What not to do and why
  • How to dock bow first in 4 different winds with left approach tying port and starboard sides
  • How to dock bow first in 4 different winds with right approach tying port and starboard sides
  • All 16 scenarios are complete and independent instructions
  • How to dock with a wind in a boat lift
  • How to parallel dock at a gas dock/restaurant dock
  • An easy approach to a dock bow first–no fear, no guessing, no hoping for the best, no jumping, no injuries, no boat hook. No shouting and no swearing–just good teamwork
  • How to dock easily and safely–even in front of an audience!

Once you know how your boat was meant to be handled, boat docking is EASY. It’s just a matter of practicing Doug’s techniques specific to your single outboard boat.

When you have mastered docking bow first (usually takes several weeks or a full season), you will be ready for “Docking Your Single Outboard–ADVANCED” to learn stern first docking and many more neat docking maneuvers covered in great detail over 230 pages.“Hey, we got to use some of the tips and advice at the lake today!  Flipp worked like a charm and we had a great day!  Thanks! “

Mike Ritter, Knoxville, TN

“Your Boat Docking e-Lesson on Docking a Single Outboard was excellent! Once the weather warms up, I fully intend on practicing – and buying more of your books.”

—Troy, AB

Thank you so much for the lesson. The lessons have been very helpful in making our boating much more enjoyable and I really enjoy the website. Thanks again for your time, great service and very useful information.

David Proffitt, WA

 “I dock my boat in an area with very strong currents and shifting winds. While I am getting better with practice after reading the introductory book, I am looking forward to learning more from the advanced copy.

Hope I didn’t bore you, but wanted to say thanks and let you know that what you are doing is saving not only boats, but also lives.

Keep up the good work! Boating knowledge allows you to live and fish another day and to come home safely to your loved ones. Your work is important! Thanks again and tight lines.”

Bill Pollok, VA

As popular as Outboards are, they’re also the most difficult to dock!

Simple Step-by-Step Instructions on how to Dock Your Outboard Bow First–Both in your slip and at a gas dock.

  • outboard-motorLearn how your outboard motor handles your boat, when docking–illustrated with easy to follow diagrams.
  • Doug starts with open water exercises in the Boat Docking Lesson, so you learn how your drive system works.
  • When finished your open water exercises, you will know what to expect as you use the wheel, throttle and shift.
  • Then, it’s easy to approach a dock and dock bow first–no fear, no guessing, no hoping for the best, no jumping, no injuries, no boat hook. No shouting and no swearing–just good team work.
  • Our FLIPP Line™ Procedure, will make docking and securing your boat a simple easy procedure.
  • Dock your boat easily and safely with a complete understanding of what to do and how to do it–especially in front of an audience

Once you know how your boat was meant to be handled, boat docking is EASY. It’s just a matter of practicing the techniques specific to your single outboard boat.

When you have mastered docking bow first (usually takes several weeks or a full season), you will be ready for “Docking Your Single Outboard–ADVANCED” to learn stern first docking and many more neat docking maneuvers.

Let Doug Show You the EASY Way…

docking-single-outboardDoug Dawson is a 5th generation boat industry expert who knows the design characteristics of all boats and drive systems. Doug has driven, demonstrated, tested, reviewed and handled every type of boat and drive system and knows how to teach others with easy-to-follow boat docking instructions.

Learn your boat’s unique dance moves and be able to waltz smoothly as one, right up to your dock.

Dock your Single Outboard Boat powered by an Evinrude, Force, Honda, Johnson, Mariner, Mercury, Suzuki, Tohatsu, Yamaha or other motor with confidence. There are many boats with a single outboard including:

  • Angler
  • Alumacraft
  • Bayliner
  • Boston Whaler
  • Campion
  • Century
  • Crestliner
  • Edgewater
  • FinCraft
  • G3
  • Glacier Bay
  • Glastron
  • Grady White
  • Grew
  • Hurricane
  • Hydra Sports
  • Key West
  • Kingfisher
  • Larson
  • Legend
  • Polar Kraft
  • Lowe
  • Lund
  • Mako
  • Mirrocraft
  • Nitro
  • Princecraft
  • Pursuit
  • Ranger
  • Rienell
  • Rinker
  • Robolo
  • Rossiter
  • Sail Fish
  • Scout
  • SeaRay
  • Skeeter
  • Smoker Craft
  • Stanley
  • Starcraft
  • Stratos
  • Striper
  • Seaswirl
  • Tracker
  • Triton
  • Triumph
  • Trophy
  • Tuff

Get Direct Access To One Of The World’s  Leading Experts On Docking!

Remember, you have a 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Happy Boating!

Doug Dawson

P.S. You can spend your summer being frustrated and nervous docking your boat with everyone watching, and even worse, damaging your boat….or get this Boat Docking Lesson “Docking Your Single Outboard” and be able to put on a show like a pro and be the talk of the dock!

Dear Brenda and Doug:

So cool that you We’re the ones who actually did the review on this boat almost 25 years ago! Things come full circle.

Thanks for the details on the hull and what happened to the molds with World Class Catamarans.  I got the boat last year and the engine died right away, and I’m just re-powering it, so I haven’t had a chance to use it on the Mississippi much yet really.  Researching what I could about it, I think it may be my favorite boat ever.Like a lot of us I enjoy learning the history about my boat!

I had already checked out your website and had already decided to get the book on docking the boat, so will be sure to get the pontoon version. And even though I’m an Eagle Scout and thought I knew in my knots well, I’ve already also decided to order the book on knots!   It sounds like you’ve developed a lot of great resources!

Peace and Love, Tom Schreiber

Brenda, “Nice job by you and Doug, I really like your common sense approach to handling a boat with easy time for the first mate.” Thanks again.

Bill, ‘a fan’.

Y’all are the best! Downloaded it, saved it, printed it–now all we have to do is master it! Thank you so much.

Natalie Redyk

For trailered boats, make sure the drain plug is on your checklist!  It wasn’t on mine and I mistakenly expected that the shop who summerized and delivered my boat had installed it.  They didn’t, and I didn’t check for it, and didn’t realize it wasn’t there ’till I got back to my backyard dock and saw the water coming up thru the ski well.  I’m now known as “soggy-boy” after falling off the boat into the lake while trying to install the plug from above; would have been a lot easier on the launch ramp!  Fortunately, nothing was damaged but my pride . . . Cheers

Dave Keyser, Soggy-boy

Thanks! Always great to receive your monthly newsletter. Well done and appreciated! keeep up the super good work…..


Get Ready

Captain at Wheel

This is the time of year to add a Boat Show visit to your calendar to take part in the excitement of all the new boats and accessories, in preparation for spring—that will be upon us in just a few months.

Boat Shows are a great time for your whole family to learn all they can from the seminars and exhibits; so that, you are all ready as a team, as soon as the boating season starts.

Why? So that you are all steering in the same direction!

Who is at the Wheel?

The Captain may be “at the wheel”, but who is “REALLYsteering the boat?

If the central focus of your boating outing with your family, is moving the boat from A to B, the Captain is at the wheel steering the boat from the dock to a specific destination.

But, if the focus is your Boating Enjoyment , the whole team is “at the wheel” steering the Boating Experience. The “ING” in Boating becomes the most important focus where the family is participating.

Are your friends and family all expecting the same experience? Are they willing to participate and help create that experience, to make the whole trip as exciting as the destination?

When everyone aboard is actively invested in a great boating experience (instead of just a trip), they all participate, co-operate, and share both the work and the pleasure.

A few examples:

  • Each time the galley is used for food preparation, or anything else, are they prepared to clean up afterwards, so that it is ready for the next use? No one likes to start food preparation by cleaning up someone else’s mess first. Not only is space limited on a boat, almost everything has multiple functions, so leaving each place ready makes for a much more pleasant experience.
  • When docking, the knowledgeable crew works as a team to carry out the docking procedure—no yelling, swearing, jumping, boat hooks, bionics, dock helpers, guesswork or embarrassment to cause friction, anxiety, upset or fear. Everyone else sits quietly and doesn’t distract the Captain and Docking Crew.
  • The Head on a boat is usually small and awkward compared to your bathroom at home. It is most important to leave it ready for the next person.

You get the drift….

Put the “ING” in Your Boating

Once the work is shared by all on board, there is more time for everyone to enjoy the activities—Put the “ING” in Your Boating—Fishing, swimming, sunbathing, boarding, reading, hiking, exploring and all of the other team and individual activities you can dream up—and even docking.

The benefits of participating and co-operating are enormous. Everyone gets to enjoy the rewards of boating  (the whole trip), creating more memorable and positive boating experiences.


For tips and tricks on simplifying the jobs aboard, see: First Mate 101

To simplify and enjoy stress-free docking, see: Docking Lessons

Be a Happy Boating Family!

Yes! Touchie Feelie Boat Shows are back. No more virtual Boat Shows.


Does the Boat Feel Right?

To me, a boat is too personal a purchase to do on-line. I may be old fashioned, but I need to sit at the helm to feel if everything fits my body. Can I see over the superstructure? Can I see my First Mate on the platform when docking?

I like to have my First Mate move around the galley, head and bunks to see how it feels to her. Is it easy to maneuver in the head? Is it easy to prepare food in the galley? Does it flow easily? Is it easy to get in and out of the bed/bunk? Is there enough closet space?

I need to know the boat FITS. You get my drift?

Take the Opportunity to Visit the Boat Show

Show organizers have been busy putting together live Boat Shows again, offering everything they had in the past, plus much more.

Take the opportunity to visit a Boat Show near you to touch the new boats, trailers and accessories. Do comparisons. Take in the educational seminars to better prepare you for summer.

Enjoy being able to touch and feel the boats again, and yes even buy a new boat knowing it fits you and your family.

Who is the Boat Show Organized for?

Do you know who Touch and Feel Boat Shows are for? The following article explains who organizers organize Boat Shows for. There are many other Boat Show articles and the bottom of this article as well.

Who are Boat Shows for?  Find out Here

brenda doug boat show

Another year has come and gone, while your Boat Show organizers have masterfully been bringing together Boat Manufacturers, Marinas, Yacht Brokers, Dealers and Marine Suppliers all under one roof to present their products and services.


They are doing it for you!

They want new and seasoned boaters to take advantage of all the marine industry has to offer.

Come to your Boat Show to see what fun and enjoyment recreational boating has to offer you and your family. Join the boating fraternity to create memories year after year. Your whole family will enjoy reliving the laughter and fun at every family gathering forever!

At the Boat Show, you can learn what you need to make wise decisions on your boat purchase, to avoid the mistakes uninformed buyers usually make.

Get your tickets

Plan a family escape to your nearest Boat Show to take advantage of all the boat and accessory displays, the educational seminars and the family entertainment. Come to touch and feel the new boats. There is something for the whole family to enjoy and lots to learn.


The Dawson’s have written several articles to guide you to get the most out of your Boat Show visit. Read and study the following, BEFORE YOU GO TO THE SHOW.

You’ll learn how to take advantage of everything the Show has to offer by going prepared with a list of questions to ask, as you visit different exhibits.

Enjoy the Show & Boating.

bab cover

Articles to guide you…..

Boat Show Overload

Prepare for Boat Shows

Used Boat Buying Tips

Boat Show Opportunities

Research Before Toy Shopping

Research Before You Buy a Boat

for the Boater on Your Christmas List?


Merry Christmas from us on our boat
to you on yours

Christmas is coming,
Is there someone you’ve missed?
Do you need one last gift
for the boater on your list?

Don’t worry. Don’t panic
Just order on line.
Download a docking lesson

and everything will be just fine.

Learning new docking tricks
builds confidence and eliminates fear.
Give a gift that keeps on giving,
to the boater on your list this year.

Order Below:

* Download

* Print

* Wrap

* Gift Ready for Christmas

Want to be a First Rate First Mate?

Shows docking blind-spot
Superstructure creates a blind-spot over main dock

When you are finalizing docking in your slip, can you see when to stop? Some main walkways or walls at the front end of some slips are quite low (brown in the drawing) and when combined with a high bow, the Captain’s vision is obstructed—a blind-spot.

Blind-Spot Created

Some Captains can’t see the last 10 feet or so of their slip because the superstructure blocks their view. So to be safe, they stop early, then the crew pushes and/or pulls the boat in the rest of the way. (To simplify the drawing, we did not draw the finger docks) You can easily see the problem of the blind spot not knowing where the main dock is—you can’t see it from the helm.

I’ve seen this challenge confront several Captains.

When Dave stopped part way into his slip, the cross breeze blew his cruiser into his slip neighbor. Another day when he stopped prematurely, the wind was from the opposite direction. This time, his cruiser’s hull side, about 10’ ahead of the transom, crashed against the sharp corner of his finger dock—resulting in an ugly, expensive scrape.

His crew was unknowingly trying to pull his boat further into the slip by pulling hard on the stern line. The problem was, she was positioned at the forward end of the cockpit pulling on the aft corner of the cockpit.

Eliminate Blind-Spot

Here’s an idea that I gave Dave to eliminate the blind spot ahead of his boat and to identify where the edge of the main dock was.

Red flag raises the dock so it is visible from the helm.
  • Install a marker up above the edge of the main walkway approximately where his anchor pulpit/tip of the bow should stop. (red flag pole in the drawing)
  • Depending on what you have available or can find, you could attach something like an old VHF antenna to this spot on the edge of the main walkway.
  • Some other items that could be used as your marker pole are:
    • A length of 2×2 lumber
    • An unused snowmobile or motorcycle antenna
    • An old ski pole
    • A driveway marker

A marker pole will stand high enough that you can see it above your fore deck or cabin roof. Visually, the edge of the dock appears high enough to see from the helm. Just before your bow touches this marker, STOP. You’re all the way in.

Another trick to knowing when to stop once in your slip, is using our FLIPP Line procedure, which we explain in full detailed step-by-step instructions with diagrams in each of our Docking Lessons.

For Captains who have this blind-spot of not being able to see when to stop, how do you do it?  I’d love to know how you have solved this challenge. Leave your comments below.

How many do I need? Where should I hang them? Should all the fenders be on my boat? On my dock? Both? Should I remove and stow them when cruising?

These questions flood the minds of many boaters each time they think about docking their boats, causing anxiety and stress about the docking process, which leads to many more questions about what the docking experience will be this time and hoping it will turn out well.

Knowing how and where to hang your fenders eliminates one of the docking challenges.

How many do you need? And where?

For most boats up to 30 feet or so, you will want to hang 3 fenders. One right at the transom corner, the other two evenly spaced along the flat side. Over 30’, you can add a fourth and over 40’ a fifth. For those captains that want to add more, you certainly can, OR get the correct Docking Lesson for your drive system.

Fenders properly spaced and hung on your boat allows you to come into a slip, that doesn’t have fenders or bumpers, prepared and protected. The fenders should be positioned at the correct height before docking, for the height and type of dock. See the article referenced at the end of this article “Stop Fender Height Fretting” to help you determine the correct height to hang your fenders.

All on the boat? Or dock? Or both?

The short answer is either all on the boat or all on the dock, but not both. Why? When fenders are hung on both the boat and the dock, they fight as you idle into your slip. The boat fenders catch on the dock fenders then stop the boat’s smooth forward direction into the slip. Your boat jerks to a stop, then is thrown away from the dock by the tangled fenders. You know what happens then.


Fender on the dock and on the boat

The solution is either all on your boat or all on the dock. The exception would be all on the boat or just one alone on the transom corner, it won’t get caught on any of the dock fenders.

See the cream hulled boat (top left) with 4 green arrows pointing to 4 fenders tied to the dock. This is ideal for coming and going without having to worry about any fenders on the boat.

See the black hulled boat (to the right) with 2 red arrows pointing to 1 fender on the boat and one on the dock. This could result in disaster if the boat fender catches on the dock fender on the way into the slip getting tangled and bouncing you away.

Stow when cruising?

When you are just cruising in and out of your marina and not docking anywhere else, it’s easiest to semi-permanently tie all your fenders to the side of your dock, then you don’t need to raise and lower them each outing. Again, see the boat at the top of this article with the 4 green arrows to the fenders on the dock.

If you opt to hang your fenders on your boat, you should always remove them for cruising to prevent them from swinging and crashing against the hull as you run on plane. Your boat looks much more photogenic with no fenders cluttering up the side.

Also, flapping fenders throw spray up on the deck and windshield and into the cockpit as well as scratch the gelcoat. Tidy is dry. See “Fenders In or Out” article listed below for tips on what to do with your fenders while cruising.

Learning about fenders, how to use them properly, where to hang them, stow them and care for them, is a great investment of your time. Not only will you become a master of your fenders, but you will also be able to simplify your docking and cruising, allowing you to enjoy boating more.

how to use fenders on a boat


Happy Fender

More Articles Discussing Fenders:

Fenders In or Out 

Fenders Ride Up

Stop Fender Height Fretting  


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