There are a few things that my wife and I do well before we get to a marina that may assist you.
1) Always make sure we let the marina know that you are new and that you will need assistance at the slip. They will almost always send at least one person down to you to help catch lines, if not more. While this is not always a great thing, since they dock
hands or innocent helpers can make thing worse, it better to have someone to help you fend off.
2) By letting the marina know you are new - and be very explicit about your newness - they will often do you a favor and assign you an easy-in/easy-out slip like a T dock at the end. Sometimes they will even let you stay on a fuel
or pump out dock if you are only staying one night and would arrive after the dock is closed.
3) We almost always study at the marina on google earth
and try to match the dock map on their website so we can be sure we understand the layout of the marina well before we get there. It helps to talk to the dockmaster on the phone
while looking at the map so you can clear up any navigation
questions before you get there.
4) If you don't feel comfortable pulling in because it's so tight - or for any other reason - then don't pull into the marina! We have done that. It's better to set a day hook somewhere out of the way then dinghy in to take a look then to go charging
5) Pay attention to which way the wind or current is going to push your boat. Until you learn to turn your boat in it's own length against a wind or tide, it's better to find yourself in a situation where the wind/current does not push you down the fairway towards the seawall... don't ask how I figured that one out
6) Speaking of current. Ask the dockmaster when slack tide is and then approach the marina at slack, unless there are other exigent circumstances that would make the timing bad.
7) Go as slow as you need to maintain steerage. That is often slower than you at first realize but not dead slow.
8) Your biggest friend is the guy handling the spring line.
9) Personally, I do not put out fenders until I am in the slip. They often just get stuck and end up pushing the boat in a way that is not helpful. Besides, you cannot predict where you are going to end up needing those fenders anyhow.
10) If I have a choice and it looks complicated - like when one side is a finger pier and the other side is just posts - we ignore the posts coming in and worry about tying up to the pier. You can always loosen lines or drop your dinghy and attach those lines later.