Leave the dock like a pro
With no wind or current and plenty of room ahead, you can leave the dock in your boat without much trouble. Simply ease your boat forward and away from the dock, turning gently so as not to clip it with your stern quarter.
Wind or Current
If you encounter wind or current ahead of you or coming off the dock, untie the bow and let it swing clear. Then apply forward power, steering to keep your stern quarter clear.
When the wind or current pins your boat to the dock, cast off all dock lines except your after-bow spring line. Make sure you have fenders in place. Turn your helm toward the dock and apply gentle forward power against the spring line. Your stern should swing away from the dock. When you release the spring line, you should be able to back clear of the dock. You can also use this method when the wind or current pushes your boat from behind.
Hint: If you double the spring line around a dock cleat or bollard with both ends aboard the boat, you can recover it from the boat by releasing one end and pulling in the other.
To clear a tight berth going ahead rather than astern, back down on a forward-quarter spring line with your helm centered. The forces working against the restraining line will swing your bow out. Then apply forward power, recover your spring line and head out on the water.
(Wondering how to dock safely next? We’ve got you covered!)
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.