How To Dock A Boat: A Beginners Guide

We’re discussing how to dock a boat, tips and tricks courtesy of Wavve Boating Founder Adam Allore. Below are some of the basic procedures to keep in mind when docking a boat.

1. Untangle your lines and get them in an easily accessible position. Nothing ruins a docking maneuver like having to untangle lines while trying to hold your boat close to the dock.

2. Make sure to lower your fenders before you begin moving. When you do come into contact with the dock, your fenders will make sure the boat (and the structure) are not damaged.

3. Get into position to approach the dock. Depending on the water depth, other boats or obstacles, you may not always have the perfect approach path. Generally, you should target a 45-degree angle between your bow and the dock. Point the bow slightly behind the spot you are targeting as your docking area. Now that you have your angle of approach, consider the wind and current. Both can have a dramatic effect on boats of all sizes, and you need enough power to not be pushed out of position.

4. Take it slow. Speed is critical in this situation. Approach too fast, and you’ll have to abort your maneuver or risk slamming into the dock. Move too slow, however, and rough waves or wind might push you off course. Short bursts of throttle are all you need to propel your boat at a constant slow speed. Focus on shifting between forward and neutral in quick motions. You only need to provide power to correct your angle of approach and keep a constant speed, and a short burst is the best way to control your vessel.

5. Steer away from the dock (left if the structure is on the right, right if it is on the left). Until your vessel is almost parallel with the dock, with some space between the dock edge and your boat.

6. When nearly parallel with the dock, shift into neutral.

7. Turn your steering wheel back toward the dock. Act quickly, or your boat will drift out of position.

8. Reverse to slow down and bring your stern toward the dock. Your fenders should hit, but if you are moving slowly, they will absorb the speed and prevent any damage.

9. Return to neutral. Once you have come to nearly a complete stop, grab hold of the dock’s edge to keep your boat in place.

10. All that is left to do is tie your ropes to the dock cleats.

This process is never perfect, and waves, wind, or other boats can force you off course. If you are having trouble getting close to the dock, back out and try it over from the start – it happens to everyone.

Wavve Boating is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store via two subscription options of $7.99/month or $45.99/year. New users are offered a 14 day trial to see if the app is a fit for them.

About Wavve Boating

Founded in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Wavve Boating (Wavve) is a mobile application designed for the recreational boater. With nautical charts from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Canadian Hydrographic Services, Wavve has been growing their consumer base across North America since May of 2018. Available on all Apple and Android devices, Wavve offers a simple platform so anyone can boat like a local. For more information visit