How to Dock Like a Pro



How to Dock Like a Pro


Whether a beginner or a confident captain, nothing can be more challenging than docking a boat. It doesn’t matter if it is a 20-foot bass boat on a sheltered lake or an 80-foot yacht coming in from a long passage; getting close to a marina slip can be enough to make anyone white-knuckle the steering wheel – even on a clear day with no wind, current or mechanical issues.


There are factors you can control and things you can’t; prudent seamanship is to prepare for both. You can’t control visibility, wind, current, other boaters or mechanical failures. What you can control is your confidence in your boat, the speed and power of your approach, your understanding of the maneuverability of your vessel, placement of fenders, lines, and crew and shoreside dockhands, and your ability to anticipate any worst-case scenarios. We’ve all heard the stories of the boat that sailed across the Atlantic only to have the shifter cable break and the boat go full-speed right into the dock.

Remember when you got your driver’s license? Practice docking at a deserted pier, as much as you practiced parallel parking in an empty parking lot. The more comfortable you become, the more confident you’ll be when trying to slip your boat into a tight space in a packed marina.

Evinrude idock


To dock like a pro, the first thing to consider is to only go as fast as you are willing to hit something. Minimal throttle, idling in gear is the best speed for almost every docking situation. Use small steering adjustments and wait for them to take effect before adding more throttle or turning more. Always apply short bursts of power instead of steady power. This allows you to maneuver without building up a lot of momentum. When it comes to steering and throttle, the key is to be decisive. Drive with authority. Remember, you are the captain!

Once you are in your slip, never kill the engines until all the lines are secure. Many boaters make the mistake of shutting down as soon as the boat is in the slip, but you never know when someone is going to drop a line, or when a piling will slip just out of reach. Position them properly, and you’ll find that even the best boaters in the world can do a better job of damage-free docking, with the pressure-points protected.



Boat and engine manufacturers have made great strides recently to make boating easier and more accessible. Taking the guesswork out of a day on the water includes everything from 3D sonar to bow thrusters. One place that true innovation has occurred is in joystick docking systems.

Evinrud idock joystick


Recreational joysticks first hit the market a few years ago and have cost tens of thousands of dollars – a pricey accessory reserved for only the most expensive vessels. Recently, Evinrude launched the Evinrude iDock joystick piloting system. A fully integrated system, the award-winning iDock connects with the existing internal hydraulic steering feature of select Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines, reducing the cost of parts, removing clutter on the transom and freeing up precious storage space. And, because it leverages existing E-TEC G2 architecture, installation time is minimized – iDock models follow the same installation process as Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines and typically requires less than a one-hour setup that can be accomplished on the water. This allows Evinrude to offer its new iDock system for a low MSRP of $5,999 USD. This includes all iDock components – the joystick, module and hydraulic hoses.

Evinrude idock joystick


The all-new iDock allows users to easily maneuver their boat using a joystick for simple docking in even the toughest conditions. The joystick system lets users to side step the boat or pivot in place with total control at their fingertips. Advanced aircraft gyroscope sensor technology makes iDock more intuitive to pilot by automatically compensating for wind and current. If extra power is needed, boaters can simply push the stick further into boost position to double the thrust. The simplicity of the system requires much less time to become accustomed to, thus creating a more positive first time boating experience.

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Original Source: Sportsmans



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