When docking your sailboat, you need to slow down as you approach the dock, target an open space, get your fenders ready, ask a crewman to step towards the dock or call someone at the dock to help you out, and tie your sailboat properly. Make sure you also give special attention to the wind, the current, and the tides.
Docking your sailboat may not be that easy, especially when you are a beginner. If you do not know how to carefully and properly do it, you may disturb other sailors nearby or worse, incur accidents. To make docking easier and safer for you, consider the following steps:
Slow down as you approach the dock
When approaching the dock, slow down and move at a slow, controllable pace– about one knot. Most people start slowing down just as when they are lowering their sails. This will give you better control when gearing towards the dock and at the same time help you avoid disturbing nearby boats.
Target an open space
Especially if you are yet an amateur, try to look for an open space where you can dock which will make docking easier and safer for you to begin with. A larger space can give you plenty of legroom to avoid probable crashes and accidents.
Get your fenders ready
Before even nearing the dock, it is always safe to get the fenders and other cushion in your sailboat ready. It is best to be prepared for sudden waves and unexpected strong currents brought about by bigger boats docking, which may carry your boat as you get closer to the dock and cause possible collisions.
Ask a crewman to step towards the dock or call someone at the dock to help you out
As you get real close to the dock, ask your crewman to get near the fender in front of your boat to help soften any bump when getting to the dock. Your crewman can step towards the dock to start securing the ropes. Remember to refrain from leaping towards the dock in order to avoid accidents. Alternately, you can ask someone in sight of the dock to help you out. When planning to ask for assistance from someone at the dock, call his attention before you start to dock to get him prepared.
Tie your sailboat properly
Especially when somebody is assisting you as you dock, make sure your sailboat is securely tied to avoid slipping off. When there is a strong current or wave as you dock, it is advised that to secure the one facing the current or in the direction of the strong wind to prevent your sailboat from moving away.
Give special attention to the wind, the current, and the tides
As when securing your sailboat, it is important to give attention to the direction of the wind and the current to adjust the fenders of your sailboat before leaving it. You have to be aware of the tides, too, when you tie your sailboat. You need to give enough allowance for the boat to move up and down with the water.