Slower is always better
When entering a marina or maneuvering into a slip, idle speed is always recommended.
Have docklines ready
Be prepared with bow, stern, and midship lines cleated and ready to hand to the dockhand. DO NOT stop engines until securely tied up.
Call ahead on working channel
Besides asking for your slip assignment, ask about any particular things to be aware of such as current, new channel markers, which side of your boat to have your lines ready on, etc.
Leave your domestic issues on land. Don’t yell or raise your voice when giving commands from the helm. Yelling only makes matters worse and draws a crowd of thrill seekers.
Not everyone is a pet lover
Most marinas have dog-friendly areas with waste-bag dispensers. Use them. And don’t leave your dog onboard unattended for hours, especially if it barks.
Read the rules when you check in
Marinas have rules to ensure the safety and enjoyment of others. Be sure you understand them when you check in and explain them to everyone onboard. And don’t think the marina will not enforce its rules, even if it’s after hours. Serious offenders can be evicted.
Be considerate of other boaters
Not everyone enjoys the same music as you or is in the mood to party all night. Be respectful of others at all times during the day or night. If you can hear your music on the dock, turn it down. If the marina has quiet hours, respect them.
Research the area before you arrive
To take full advantage of everything a location has to offer, do some research before you arrive. Knowledge of historical places of interest, restaurants, grocery stores, local transportation, marine supplies, and more are often just a click away.
Safety always comes first
All of us have experienced challenging and sometimes embarrassing moments when docking. Just remember that the safety of your crew and others is more important than a scrape or dent. Never jeopardize the safety of others when trying to avoid property damage. Boats can be fixed.
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.