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Old 04-02-2013, 07:57   #1
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Docking

I WILL BE A NEW POWERBOAT CRUISER OWNER IN THE SPRING ON LAKE ST. CLAIR. AS A NOVICE, I NEED SOME HELP FROM FELLOW BOATERS.

CAN I EFFECTIVELY DOCK AND MANEUVER A 30' CRUISER ALONE ? IF SO, ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE HELPFUL, AND THANKS IN ADVANCE
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:01   #2
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Re: DOCKING

Absolutely you can learn how. I single hand a boat larger than yours frequently. First practice by throwing a fender over the side out in open water and practice coming along side your virtual dock. Try it in different wind and chop conditions so you get a feel for how your boat drifts sideways and comes to a stop. Then practice at a real dock where there are no other boats around that you might possibly hit. Practice at the dock with different wind speeds and different wind directions relative to the dock. Have someone onboard when you are practicing so they can jump in and help you if you need it.

Read a book on boat handling and practice, practice, practice applying those techniques. Eventually you will get good enough to where you feel comfortable enough to handle your boat in tight quarters around other boats.

Is your boat a twin or single screw? Is it an inboard or an I/O? There are different techniques for learning to handle each.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:10   #3
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Re: DOCKING

I'd recommend getting in touch with the USPS (US Power Squadron) and get your boaters certificate, if you local requires it. If not you can probably still get some training that will be of great help.

Boats don't have brakes and are affected by wind and current and there's a set of rules to navigate by. One just can't jump on a boat and go w/o getting in trouble right off.

Enjoy!
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:37   #4
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Re: DOCKING

What was the saying : Go slow, look like a pro. go fast, look like an ass. Never be afraid to back off and try again or make a hard bump and be done.

I can dock my 45 alone in good weather and it do it really slow. Read your Chapmans on boat handling and practice in open water.. Know what to do if everything fails. Last summer I had a total shut down 50 feet from dock. One shot coasted in, nailed it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:44   #5
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Re: DOCKING

Go out in calm water and do figure of 8s in your boat. Then do them in reverse. Then find a mooring ball that's un used and touché the bow to it in every direction, then in astern, the on each side of the boat.

Then you will know how your boat works you can start on hard immovable objects
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:09   #6
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Re: Docking

All good advice above. Plus you can also check the local boating publications and pay to have an experienced delivery Captain someone give you lessons, advice and tips.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:14   #7
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Re: Docking

Some sailing schools also do power lessons.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:34   #8
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Re: Docking

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPORKY View Post
I WILL BE A NEW POWERBOAT CRUISER OWNER IN THE SPRING ON LAKE ST. CLAIR. AS A NOVICE, I NEED SOME HELP FROM FELLOW BOATERS.

CAN I EFFECTIVELY DOCK AND MANEUVER A 30' CRUISER ALONE ? IF SO, ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE HELPFUL, AND THANKS IN ADVANCE
Welcome to the forum. Part of the culture here on CF is to avoid using all caps in posts--some folks will interpret all caps as screaming.

It's always a good idea to provide details with questions posed to the forum. For example, is the 30' cruiser you're hoping to purchase have single or twin engines? Are you looking at a specific boat at this point?
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:34   #9
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Re: Docking

How ever you go... Teaching yourself is probably not the way to go as a novice...

I would strongly suggest that you take a Powerboat Course offered by a local sailing school and hire an instructor for a couple of hours of pratical training.

Now a days, many insurance companies will require you to have some experience or a letter signing you off as competent to operate your vessel, before they will insure you.

USPS or USCG Auxillary are good places to start with book learning and they could give you a recommendation where to go for practicle (Hands On).

US Sailing also offers Power Boating Courses in Basic and Coastal Cruising, which include classroom and practical training
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:47   #10
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Re: Docking

Take the good advice on practicing in open water. And remember to not approach anything faster than you would want to hit it. Motors have been known to die when thrown into reverse to halt forward progress. Good luck
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:58   #11
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Re: Docking

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Some sailing schools also do power lessons.
When I was buying the Bristol I'd never handled an inboard diesel - always had outboards. I paid for an hour of tuition - docking forward and reverse, emergency stops, back and fill in a confined space, emergency turns, etc. Probably the best money I ever spent.

In answer to your question, I dock my boat single-handed about 50 times a year, and it's easy when you know how. An upwind slip is nice
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:58   #12
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Re: Docking

Try single line docking.

There is a point on your boat about 1/4 of the distance from the transom to the bow at which you can mount a cleat /shackle whatever. Attach a mooring line to the dock so that it will at the transom when taut.

As you come in pick up and attach that line to the predetermined spot and put the boat in forward. It should sit parallel to the dock. By playing with the rudder angle you can move the bow and stern closer or farther from the dock.

Once the boat is in position, leave the transmission in forward, step off and attach the breast and spring lines. The single line act as a spring line.

You may have to play with the position of the line on your boat.

This works well unless you have strong current or wind pushing you off the dock. In that case use a centreline to attach to a dock cleat. Then worry about getting other lines attached.

Boat Docking by Charles T. Low is a good book.

As an instructor I would be remiss in not suggesting that you hire one for a day, so that your can learn from their experience.
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Old 04-02-2013, 16:45   #13
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Re: Docking

ALWAYS do a gear test before entering confined waters. You got to verify especially proper operation of steering and engine control systems. We do it on ships and we should do it in small boats.

There are dozens of variations in docking and Undocking technique that depend on whether twin or single screw, propellor rotation directikn, rudder configuration, wind and current, etc. You need to get knowledgeable guys to walk you through this, on your boat. Not just one guy. Learn different ways. Observe what your boat does when it does THIS or THAT. Use omly as much power as you need.

Always proceed slowly enough in a harbor that you dont make a wake, even a little one. Folks are teying to sleep and stuff. If you have to just bump ahead and coast in neutral, so be it. Make enemies and you might find unpleasant surprises like raw water intakes blocked, or stuff wrapped around your prop or shaft, stuff like that. Most powerboaters are guilty of this. "Im going as slow as my boat can go!" But they still got both engines in gear. Be considerate of others and everyone will be eager to help you. Be a jerk and you will have a really rough time of it.

Having crew to fend off or handle lines makes things easy but generally you can set things up for singlehanded docking.. I have docked 130 foot crewboats by myself and I practically always dock my sailboat with no help. It can be done, with a little forethought.
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Old 04-02-2013, 16:52   #14
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You have received some good advice but - sadly - the single most important key to docking has not been presented. I will therefore tell you that one all important secret to successful docking.

The key to successful docking is to have the boat and the dock moving at the same speed.

You are welcome.
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Old 04-02-2013, 16:54   #15
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Re: DOCKING

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
I'd recommend getting in touch with the USPS (US Power Squadron) and get your boaters certificate,
Sporky didn't say which side of Lake St Clair he (or she) lives on. USPS not well established on the Canadian side
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