While at the dock or harbor, your boat runs the risk of drifting away into the sea or ocean. Also, it’s prone to getting bumped or hit by other vessels. In worst case scenarios, ... read more strong winds or hurricane may capsize or damage your boat. As a boater, you need to take the necessary precaution to minimize the damage. This is best achieved by using effective boat docking equipment.
The following are some of the most commonly used equipments:
Anchor Winches & Windlasses This equipment helps in lowering as well as hoisting the anchor from the water. By lowering the anchor, the boat is secured to the ocean or sea floor. The anchor is connected to the boat using a chain or rope. You can either go for the electric type which is powered by the boat’s battery or power unit, the manual, or the hydraulic type. When choosing, consider factors such as power demand, pulling as well as speed capacity.
Boat Covers A boat at the harbor will be susceptible to dirt, dust and also contact from people and creatures such as birds. Furthermore, it will be rained on constantly while the sun will be shining on it directly. Overtime, it will get dirty and also suffer from wear and tear. To reduce the negative effects you may need to consider using a boat cover. The covers come in different fabrics such as canvas or polyester. Some will cover the vessel partially while others will cover it completely.
Fenders A fender is a type of bumper that is placed on the sides of the boat. It absorbs the shocks or impact that comes from hitting the quay, jetty or other vessels. This reduces the chances of damaging the boat’s body. The fenders are normally made from rubber since it has good shock absorption characteristics. Other materials used include heavy duty plastic, elastomer and also foam. When fixing a fender it’s necessarily to think of the boat’s dimension, dock, displacement and tides.
Buoy and Buoy Markers The buoy is essential boat docking equipment. This device comes in different forms and has a variety of uses. It comes as the floating type which drifts with the waves or the fixed type that is anchored to the ocean floor. The mooring buoy is used by boaters to tie their vessels while berthing. Buoy markers are used by fishermen to indicate where their pots for lobster, shrimp or crabs are located. Other types indicate a safe passage.
Dock Lights Dock lights are used to illuminate the harbor. This is done when the sky is not clear especially in misty conditions or at night. The lights guide a vessel thus lessening the chances of the boat hitting the side wall or other vessels. They are mounted on the surface or lampposts. A good light should provide maximum lighting while using minimal power. The lighting fixtures comprise of LED (light emitting diodes), incandescent, or HID.
Mooring Whips During strong winds or waves a docked boat can slam or crash against the wall. To stop the damage from happening, mooring whips are extremely useful. This is a type of elastic line that stop the boat from hitting the wall. It consists of rods made from fiberglass fastened to an aluminium base using cleats/fasteners. Besides securing the watercraft firmly, the mooring lines also absorb the impact of the moving boat.
Skeg Guard The skeg is the lowest position of the inboard/outboard outdrive or outboard motor. The section that is the extended keel houses the rudder. There is usually a small gap between the boat's surface and the rudder. A kelp, rope or line can get entangled in the gap thus damaging the rudder or making it hard to maneuver the boat. To stop this from happening, a skeg protector can be installed.
Rub Rail If you own a boat made from fiberglass then the rub rail should feature as part of the boat docking equipment. Also known as the “bang rail”, this piece of rail protects your boat from damage caused by crashing against the dock pilings. It is made from aluminum or metal hence can endure the scratches, scraping, cuts, or dents that will be experienced during the off-season or when docked at the marina.
Keel Protector The keel is the lowest point on the boat’s lower surface. It is the region that makes initial contact with water. However, it is also the point that comes into first contact with the rough concrete, abrasive sand, the mooring lines as well as grinding concrete. Frequent contact will eat into the paintwork and also the body of the boat which is undesirable. This is avoided by installing a piece of material or lining known as the keel guard.
Marine / Dock De-icer The cold regions or the winter season brings lots of headaches to boaters. The ice forms around the dock piling hence pulling them upwards. Also, the ice may knock against the dock thus causing damage. This is best avoided by installing an in-water de-icer. This is a submersible 1/4 to 1HP motor than it suspended inside the water. It creates waves inside the water thus causing the water to move or flow continuously. This stops ice from forming.
Dock Floats, Shackles and Lines In areas where the water levels fluctuate a lot, it’s beneficial to use dock floats. The floats work as well as the normal, dry deck but will endure the frequent changes. It entails joining several pieces of docks together. Another important piece of equipment includes shackles and lines that are used to harness the vessel against the dock or buoy.
Simply securing the boat at the dock isn’t enough. It is necessary to also minimize the movement of the boat on the water. This is most important in regions where the sea gets quite rough or where the docking spaces are limited. When searching for the apparatus, you may need to pay close attention to the quality. The boat docking equipment should be able to withstand the constant bumps and shocks. In addition, they should be built with material that can endure the elements, salt water, as well as frequent use. read less
A video on how to dock your boat when pulling into a boat slip or a dock. ... read more
Video Transcription Docking your boat may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. The key is to be organized, prepared and to take it slow and easy.
Begin your docking maneuver when you are a good distance from the dock. Move toward it slowly.
Next nudge the throttle into gear momentarily to make sure the boat is on course and the helm is turned the right way.
For better visibility, try this tip – Lift the captions chair to get a little higher.
It is a good idea to use fenders or bumpers when you are learning to dock.
Just before you pull into the dock, ask the crew members to put the fenders over the side. It’s an easy way to involve them in the process.
As you approach the dock, be aware of current and wind drift. They can put you off course. You can easily spot current by looking at the edges of the dock or pilings for tell-tale swirls. You’ll have to adjust your entry slightly into the current to compensate for it. Winds crossing your docking path can also be troublesome. You’ll have to steer slightly into them to get your boat to follow the right course into the slip.
When the boat is lined up correctly, nudge the boat as slowly as you can.
You may have to slip in and out of gear to get the correct speed. As you move into the slip use your throttle shifter as a break by putting it into reverse at idle speed.
Hold it until your forward momentum is stopped, then put it back into neutral and shut off the engine.
It’s always safest to secure the boat before you try to climb out. Accidents are more likely to happen when someone leaves or enters the boat while it’s untied.
With care and practice you’ll gain confidence and before you know it docking will be a skill that’s second nature to you.
For more information on docking, visit your local boat dealer or go to discoverboating.com.
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