Bunnster

Docking Boat

29 posts in this topic

 Just purchased my first pontoon boat, 24 ft SSRX.   I am new to docking in either slips or just pulling all along side of a dock. Do you guys have any suggestions that will help me learn how to dock a boat?   I went out yesterday and practiced on a dock that is being built for a new home. My problem is figuring out how to come in to a dock at a 45° angle and turn in and have the stern go towards the dock.   I get more comfortable each time I go out with the basics but the docking part is not coming along as fast as I would like. 

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Welcome. Did you take a boating safety course? Which ever way you steer the stern will do the opposite and the key is SLOW.

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At least for me, rule number one is to go slow! Also helpful is to put your engine in neutral and then turn the wheel before applying power again. I'm pretty long and our marina is pretty narrow, so I actually make my turn into the slip, cut the power and then step off the bow onto the dock and guide it in the rest of the way. Some of my neighbors have smaller toons and just drive right in (more power to them). I was also new to the pontoon thing last year and found docking to be a bit more tricky than my bowrider, but practice makes perfect. Taking down your bimini top on windy days will also help as well.

Welcome, and post some pictures and specs!

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I always try to come in straight, but I  am on a windy lake, i have to come in under power most times. Most slips are set up for v hull boats so when you scratch your pontoons don't get too excited. If you pull along side a dock you can secure he front of the boat to a cleat, turn the motor towards the dock and idle in, works very well. Happy boating

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I appreciate the response and will work on it. Having a great time 

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If you pull along side a dock you can secure he front of the boat to a cleat, turn the motor towards the dock and idle in, works very well. Happy boating

Try this, but use reverse to pull the stern in, not forward pushing it.

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Thank you very much and I will try this. It's getting better. 

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You are experiencing what most everyone on this forum has gone through.  Boating in open water is relatively easy compared to operating in close conditions. Practice and taking it very slow is the key.  If you will be on a lift then guides are very helpful.  Enjoy your boat.

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Thank you for responding and I will definitely do this. 

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Until you get really proficient at docking pull as close as you can to the slip then step off onto the dock w/rope in hand and pull yourself in the rest of the way.

But keep practicing............You'll get it! Takes time brotha! 

Also welcome to the forum!

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And get yourself a telescoping hook.

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1 hour ago, cwag911 said:

And get yourself a telescoping hook.

+1 on the hook........Comes in handy

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I've never used the hook. Have one on board but never used it for docking. If I remember I'll do a video the next time it's windy and I have to come in. We enter our lift traveling north to south so we get a lot of westerly winds for me to fight.

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I retrieved my hat twice with mine.

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I appreciate all the advice and I actually do have a hook.  I use it mainly to pull the ladder up in back instead of bending over.....yep, pretty lazy.  Great suggestions on the docking and I will keep practicing.  

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Lots of good advice given here. Someone once suggested going in the middle of the lake to practice slow maneuvers using pool noodles. Seems like an easy and very safe thing, and the wind will have more effect there too. The good news is you don't have to hit anything while you practice!

I taught both of my daughters using the buoys in a slalom course on our lake. It took some patience with a direct drive inboard, but eventually they could drop it in safely just about anywhere.

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Thank you for the response and yes, great advice. Just need to keep at it. It does seem that each Time we go out it gets a little more comfortable 

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2 hours ago, Bunnster said:

I appreciate all the advice and I actually do have a hook.  I use it mainly to pull the ladder up in back instead of bending over.....yep, pretty lazy.  Great suggestions on the docking and I will keep practicing.  

Yup PIA to pull that ladder up! I make sure somebody else pulls it up........Ha!

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Or just leave the ladder down.

I've forgotten to pull it up more times than I can count and nothing has broken yet. Except the strap from putting it up too much.... 

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57 minutes ago, kaydano said:

Or just leave the ladder down.

I've forgotten to pull it up more times than I can count and nothing has broken yet. Except the strap from putting it up too much.... 

We've had skiiers point at the back of the boat while they're skiing not knowing what they are pointing to. Then we realize it's the ladder that we forgot to pull up......

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We have a hook too but rarely use it. It is handy though when the wind is blowing you away from the dock or if you are by yourself. 

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I videoed myself docking our boat this weekend so you can see how to properly do it.  You're welcome!

 

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That's pretty much how we come in: slow with no power. I also have to say that the "docking" mode on my Merc is a very nice feature as it eliminates the possibility of over-throttling in close quarters. The only downside is if I forget to exit docking mode when I'm out in the lake and try to take off. It doesn't go anywhere... :)

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What is "docking mode?"  I have never heard of it.

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2 hours ago, Mike31406 said:

What is "docking mode?"  I have never heard of it.

At the base of my throttle is a "docking" button which, when engaged, limits the engine RPMs so that even if you were to mistakenly "floor it", the engine will only speed up a very little bit. As such, when I get out of the marina and attempt to floor it and end up only going about 10 MPH, I know that it's still in docking mode. Someone else might be able to give a better description, but that's how I would say it works. 

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