How To Keep Boat From Hitting Dock?


Boating is a great way to get away and explore the water, but hitting the dock can be an unpleasant experience. It not only damages your boat but also puts a damper on your day. Avoiding it is key!

Mastering the steerings and reverse throttle system, Using fenders, and low speeds, and understanding the currents and depths will help to avoid your boat from hitting a dock.

In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you keep your boat from hitting the dock. With these simple steps, you’ll have peace of mind when you’re out on the water and be able to relax knowing that your boat won’t hit the dock.

Let’s get started!

Establishing A Defensive Position

Establishing a defensive position is key to preventing your boat from hitting the dock. Good seamanship dictates that you take the time to properly prepare for docking, and this includes having an understanding of how wind and current can affect your dock approach.

It is important to be aware of any changes in both wind and current direction so you can adjust your approach accordingly. Having a plan that allows you to make a controlled, gradual approach is the best way to ensure success when docking. This plan should include setting up a defensive position against any wind and current forces that may try to push your boat toward the dock.

To achieve this, you should identify points along your approach where you can pause and readjust if necessary. By establishing a defensive position against any wind or current forces, you can maintain control of your approach, allowing yourself enough time to adjust if needed before reaching the dock.

This will give you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any unexpected changes in direction during your approach. With proper planning and preparation, you can confidently move forward with utilizing fenders and bumpers for additional protection as needed.

Mastering the Reverse Throttle and Steering Movements

Learning to control the steering and reverse throttle of a boat is essential for docking a boat safely and successfully. Properly controlling the steering and throttle will help you keep the boat from hitting the dock, as well as other boats and obstacles in the water.

The first step in mastering the art of docking a boat is to become familiar with the boat’s handling and to test the reverse throttle to ensure it is working correctly.

This can be done in a calm and quiet area of the water, away from other boats and obstacles. By using the reverse throttle, you can slow the boat down and bring it to a complete stop.

Once you become comfortable with using the reverse throttle to control the boat’s movement, you can practice making small adjustments in the boat’s position.

By shifting the boat in and out of reverse and making small steering adjustments as needed, you can accurately and safely control the boat’s movement and keep it from hitting the dock.

By mastering the art of controlling the steering and reverse throttle, you can ensure safe and successful docking. Not only will this prevent the boat from hitting the dock or other boats, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that you can dock with confidence.

Utilizing Fenders And Bumpers

Fenders and bumpers help to provide a layer of cushioning between your vessel and the dock, protecting both the boat and dock from potential damage.

Here are some tips for using fenders and bumpers:

  • Hang fenders at an appropriate height so they can absorb any shock from waves or wind.
  • Choose fenders of the appropriate size for your vessel; too small will be ineffective and too large may cause strain on the mooring lines.
  • Place bumpers along all edges of your boat where it could come into contact with the dockside.

In order to keep your boat from hitting the dock, adopting a slow and steady approach when maneuvering will also prove beneficial.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to keep your boat from hitting the dock. Moving forward, we’ll look at how best to secure your vessel once docked…

Adopting A Slow And Steady Approach

When approaching a dock with your boat, it is important to adopt a slow and steady approach. Taking your time when navigating the waters will give you more control over the situation, allowing you to make adjustments as necessary. Certainly, this can take some extra effort, as you may be tempted to quickly maneuver through the area.

However, a slower speed and greater concentration will pay off in the long run. With this approach, you can observe the conditions around you much more carefully and accurately assess any potential risks or hazards.

Not only will this reduce the chances of an accident occurring, it may also enable you to anticipate obstacles that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

It is important to remember that taking things at a slower pace does not need to come at the expense of efficiency or progress. In fact, by thoughtfully planning ahead and allowing yourself ample time for exploration and deliberation, you can often arrive at your desired destination with little trouble at all.

Maintaining Proper Distance

We all know the feeling of dock-induced dread; the worry that our boat will suddenly be too close and crash into its hard surface. But don’t despair! Maintaining a proper distance from the dock is actually easier than you think.

Maintaining a proper distance when docking can be essential to the safety of your boat. When docking, the distance between the boat and the dock should be monitored at all times. Keeping a distance of at least three to six feet between the boat and the dock can ensure that the boat does not hit the dock or any other boats that may be docked nearby.

Additionally, when approaching the dock, the boat should be operated at a slow speed and in a straight line, as turning too quickly can cause the boat to veer off course and into the dock or another vessel. By maintaining a proper distance and speed when docking, your boat can remain safe from potential collisions.

Getting Help From Marinas

If you are a new boater, using a VHF radio and communicating with the marina can be a great way to help avoid collisions when docking. By communicating with the marina, you can let them know your location, speed, and direction.

With this information, the marina can alert other boats in the area of your presence and direct them away from you to ensure safe docking. Additionally, the marina can provide you with information about the weather, water conditions, and any potential obstacles that may be in the way.

This can help you make sure that you are taking the safest route and that any turns or maneuvers you make are done with caution. By communicating with the marina and using a VHF radio, you can help ensure a safe docking experience.

Many marinas also provide classes and seminars on docking techniques which can be very useful when learning the basics of maneuvering a boat into place without causing damage.

In addition, having a few pieces of essential equipment on board can make navigating around docks much easier.

With some practice and the right guidance, you’ll soon become an expert at docking your boat safely—allowing you to enjoy time spent out on the water without worrying about damaging your vessel or anyone else’s property.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Type Of Fender To Use?

Have you ever heard the sound of a boat crashing against a dock? It’s not pleasant.

But, with the right type of fender, you can avoid that dreaded noise.

Not all fenders are created equal, however. There are many different materials and designs to choose from, and it’s important to select one that will provide the most protection for your boat.

With the right fender, you can ensure your dock-bumping days are behind you!

How Far Away Should I Be From The Dock Before I Start My Approach?

When approaching a dock, it is important to be mindful of the distance between your boat and the dock.

As a general rule of thumb, you should be at least 10-15 feet away from the dock before starting your approach.

This will provide enough space for you to safely navigate and maneuver your vessel without fear of hitting the dock.

Additionally, it is important to use the right type of fender to protect your boat from accidental damage.

How Do I Know When To Make Adjustments To My Angle Of Approach?

Figuring out when to make adjustments to your angle of approach can be downright nerve-wracking! But with the right strategies, you’ll be able to keep your boat from hitting the dock and keep everyone safe.

To make sure you’re on the right track, it’s important to pay attention to your distance from the dock as well as the speed at which you’re approaching. As you get closer, start making small adjustments in angle and speed.

This will help ensure that you stay on course and arrive safely at your destination.

Are There Any Tools That Can Help Me Maintain A Proper Distance From The Dock?

Are you looking for a way to maintain the proper distance from the dock while docking your boat?

There are several tools that can help, such as depth finders and fenders.

Depth finders provide real-time information about the depths of the water around your boat, so you can ensure you have enough clearance between the dock and your vessel.

Fenders are also useful—they act as buffers between the two, so they absorb some of the impact if your boat drifts too close to the dock.

What Should I Do If I Am Unable To Slow Down My Boat?

If you find yourself unable to slow down your boat, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do.

You can throw out an anchor so that it will drag along the bottom and help slow the boat down. If the anchor doesn’t seem to be doing much, you can try putting the engine into reverse or turning the wheel hard towards one side or another.

This should cause the boat’s momentum to decrease and eventually stop. Be sure to practice these techniques ahead of time in case of emergency!


To conclude, it’s important to remember that docking a boat safely requires practice and patience. By using the right fenders, keeping a safe distance from the dock, and making adjustments as needed, you can prevent your boat from hitting the dock.

According to a recent survey by Boating Magazine, nearly two-thirds of boaters have experienced an accident while docking their boats. This statistic is a reminder of how essential it is for us to take our time and be mindful when maneuvering our vessels near docks.

With the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure that your boat stays safe while docking.