Docking, in simple terms, is an operation of bringing vessels or a ship near or next to the dock. However, due to the presence of factors like wind or water current, you may get caught off-guard, resulting in damaging either the boat or the dock. Many people give up boating because docking is quite a challenge.
But it is important to note that you don't have to be a professional captain or have a team of professional crew to dock the boat properly. You can take first-hand knowledge from online docking tutorials or find an excellent instructor to procure hands-on training to avoid awkward, challenging, stressful, or embarrassing situations.
Many people even use extra gadgets to simplify the docking process; however, we do not want to complicate your docking. In this blog post, we will talk about a few docking aids that will simplify your docking for good.
1 Dock Wheel:
If you face a challenge with a narrow slip where you have a little space to maneuver your vessel or a boat, you must consider the dock wheel.
If you are tutoring a family member and want to add some insurance against hull damage, then the dock wheel installed on the outside corner of your finger dock will roll your boat into the slip and prevent the boat from being scraped or gouged.
Nature's wind will always push you off your dock when you try to back in. If you face difficult and persistent situations while docking, you must consider adding two or three extra cleats.
These extra cleats will offer a stepping stone and help you keep your boat tight to the dock as you try to back in.
If you are interested in installing the cleats then go for 10 ½" cleats that get cast on aluminum with an open base, they offer better results.
3 Dock Strips:
The next on the docking aids list is dock strips; if you are unable to hang enough fenders on the side of your runabouts and day cruisers, then there are vinyl strips that can be screwed onto the dock's edge to protect the hull.
There are many shapes and configurations of dock strips, but we suggest you go for "P" shaped extrusion that can get screwed on the top and vertical edge of the dock. This is because the "P" shape projects slightly above the dock to protect the hull.
4 Post Line Holders:
A line holder on the post is something that you must consider for a slip with pilings to make picking up the line easier. Plus, it also keeps the track above the water's surface, thus keeping it dry.
Get a post line holder that will not scratch either the arm or the boat. A flatter plastic hook is the better option because even if it comes in contact with the boat, it won't cause a significant scratch or gouge; it is quite inexpensive.
Boat hooks are a must on the boats; they come in handy while retrieving objects in the water, but they also help in docking. However, there is an immense chance of losing balance and falling into the water while using a boat hook to push or pull.
We suggest that you must use a boat hook only in terrible circumstances where the motor is failed, the weather is out of control, or you have lost control over the boat.
6 Bow Thruster:
The bow thruster is another useful docking aid, but they can only be used to nudge the boat a last couple of feet towards the dock and not to push the boat.
The big single powered boats like trawlers, sailboats, or houseboats that offer a lot of windage can easily get docked with a bow thruster.
Knots are one useful docking aid that you and all your crew must master. You don't need to know all the knots, but even if you master a few boating knots, you can use it all year long for different purposes.
Knots are virtually free, and they will last forever. Plus, they do not sink or easily break.
We hope this blog post was able to offer you with lucrative knowledge on docking. However, it is essential to note that these docking aids are just the aids; they only assist you while docking to make the process easier. You must acquire proper docking skills to ensure that you handle your boat profoundly well.
As mentioned before, either take an online lesson or invest proper tools and resources in finding an excellent instructor. If you are looking forward to purchasing docking aids or accessories to make your docking easy, connect with RS Marine now!