How to Dock a Boat: Don’t Leave Your Boat Without This Checklist

When you’re done with an afternoon of boating, you might
have had a blast—but let’s face it, you’re tired. You just want to hook up the
boat and get home as soon as you can. Before you leave, however, it’s important
to stick to a basic checklist that will help ensure you take the best care of
your boat. Whether you know how to dock a boat or not, it’s sometimes easy to
forget a small step. Unfortunately, just a few essential steps can separate
your calm, secured boat from a total disaster.

Print this boat-docking checklist and keep it in your boat
so you’ll never forget how to dock your boat. After all, you don’t want to end
up with a submerged boat like in the photo above!

How to Dock a Boat:
First Steps

In the picture above, an unfortunate boater simply forgot to
put the drain plugs back in! Water flooded the boat—and it didn’t leave. Depending
on your boat, there may be similarly small-but-decisive actions you need to
take in order to keep the boat secure:

  • Put the
    drain plugs back in.
    It’s simple enough, but you’d be surprised at how
    often boat owners need to remind themselves that the potential problems
    ignoring drain plugs can cause. Be on the safe side and double-check.
  • Check
    your lines.
    Chafing lines can cause undue stress, and in some cases, maybe
    even wear them down to the point of being useless. Lines should be clear and
    unobstructed.
  • Double-check
    your lines.
    Is your boat really secured to the dock in the proper fashion?
    Pull the lines to give them a stress test and make sure they can deal with the
    weight of the boat as it sways with the water.
  • Keep your
    “always-on”
    items on board.
    Double check if necessary. Your automatic bilge pump and clocks are essentials
    here.
  • Treat
    your holding tank
    with Bionatural
    Holding Tank Treatment
    .
  • The
    basics.
    Do you have your wallet, keys, and the like? Where is the boat key—and
    is it attached to a floating keychain? If not, you have some shopping to do.

You’ll also want to customize this list depending on your
boat’s own specifications and requirements. If you have other actions to
take—such as filling out a boat log—now is the time to do them.

How to Dock a Boat: Other
Considerations

Since every boat is different, it’s worth mentioning the
extra steps some boat owners have to take in order to keep their boat secure:

  • Marina
    requirements.
    Your individual marina requirements may call for extra steps
    to ensure that your boat isn’t just secured to the dock but is also secured
    against break-ins.
  • Turn off
    electronic equipment.
    Not all boats have a large amount of electronic
    equipment, but if you have a lot of optional accessories like stereos and the
    like, now is the time to turn them off.
  • Shore
    power.
    If you’re charging up on shore power for the time being, make sure
    that all connections are safe and secure. You may also want to check the
    local rules for proper etiquette.
  • Inspect
    seals.
    If you’ve used an Emergency Repair Kit
    in the past, make sure the seal is still holding up before leaving your boat
    for any period of time.

Your boat is a major investment, and it deserves to be
treated like one. Keep a simple checklist handy every time you dock your boat
and you’ll be far more likely to return to it with no surprises.

Browse our dedicated
boat cleaning products
to take even better care of your boat!

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