Newbie boaters often find success or failure in their sailing cruising dreams based upon their first few experiences, not with sailing (ironically), but with getting the boat in and out of the marina. Time after time, I’ve seen dreams shattered due to a bump, crash, and/or a full-on anxiety attack. If you can learn how to leave a dock your ability to successfully become a cruiser increase drastically.
And there is an easy way to leave a dock!
It doesn’t have to be stressful. There is no need for shouting or anyone running around. Leaving a dock successfully is a process. One that anyone can learn and then practice over and over until it’s mastered.
Watch the video where Simon will explain the eight steps to successfully leaving a dock, a play-by-play demonstration, and a paper cut-out explanation to really drill down into the process. Simon will also provide you with the steps on how to reverse off a dock if going forward is not possible. And below you’ll find a handy checklist to refresh your memory when it’s time for you to leave a dock.
How To Leave A Dock Video
How To Leave A Dock Checklist
1. Observe the wind and water state. Will the wind and/or tide be pushing you onto the dock or away from the dock? Will natural forces be pushing you forward or backward. Get an idea as to how the wind and water are going to help or hinder you.
2. Explain to your partner or your crew what the plan is based on your observations.
3. Prepare all your lines to slip from the boat. In other words, make sure there’s no line tied to the dock. The line should be tied to the boat cleat, through the fairlead around the dock cleat and back to the boat. That way you can untie the line on the boat and easily pull the line back to the boat.
4. Line up your fenders so that the hull is protected. Make sure there is a fender in the back corner if your plan is to take the bow forward. If your plan is to reverse backward, ensure the bow has adequate fenders (Watch the full video to understand both procedures).
5. Engage the throttle so it’s just ticking over.
6. Turn the wheel as far as you can away from the dock. When doing this activity with a mid-aft spring it will force the boat tightly to the dock.
7. Take all three lines off except the mid-aft spring. So, take off the bow, stern and forward spring.
8. When a crewmember is ready to release the last line, or the mid-aft spring, put the engine into neutral so the line can be easily released.
Once the line is back on the boat, put the engine into forward and leave the dock.
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