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Boats, docking, fenders and other stuff


Its not like driving a car!

To the uninitiated imagine your car moving along the road, with the road moving in another direction. Then add wind into the mix pushing you somewhere else.

These are the components many a boat owner has to contend with when docking their boat at a marina berth.

My wife who seems to have great experience in all such things stands at the stern and says 3 meters, 2 meters, 1 meter... then we are there. I've looked for the brake pedal but have not located one!

I have a twin engine vessel with a bow thruster, still a learning process.

There seems to be plenty of material online covering the matter. But really I was looking for the simplest of instructions to point me in the right direction, here are some that have helped.

My learner Bike Flag in position, easily seen from both helms.


Buy a red flag that is used on the back of a bike. Cable tie it to the bow hand rail.

Now you can see what direction the wind is coming from. Back into the wind and swing around into the berth using your bow thruster or just the two engine controls. You might have to do a 180 degree and come in from the other direction.


With my boat stopped and perpendicular (90 degrees) to my dock I leave the steering in the same direction as the vessel and don't touch it again. (Remember this is for a twin engine configuration). We can talk about single engine configurations at a later date.


Its a good idea to practice out it the middle of a bay maneuvering your vessel around a marker buoy. Especially in reverse so you can get use to the controls being around the other way.

Practice reversing and getting use to the controls being around the other way.


As discussed leaving you steering alone makes it easier. Having the rudders somewhere else definitely hinders the process. Use your engines to pull you to the port or starboard using the prop walk.

REMEMBER just a little bit ( only just in gear ) if there is a bit of wind and tide you may need a bit more power. If in doubt Neutral is your friend.


Most marinas don't have tidal issues, but you will find tidal rivers a good training ground.

This is where safe2dock fenders were conceived.


Even on a perfectly windless day, missing the dock and hitting the dock can simply be lack of concentration. Hitting the dock can be a expensive exercise.

As I described tidal rivers are great training grounds especially windy ones. You have to be focused and quick with you setup prior or its easy to get tangled up in another boats bow rail and anchor.

safe2dock inflatable fenders. Get it wrong and simply bounce off!

Obviously this was a perfect day with no wind but 3 knots of current.


Its a myth, its real easy to get bent out of shape!