Aye, Aye, Captain
More problems are caused when docking beside “that guy” — yeah, the one over there on the dock offering you advice and distracting you from the task at hand. Although he thinks he’s helping, he’s really not. There is only one person solely responsible for your vessel and crew safety: you. So act like it.
Even the most experienced captains and crews have a little pre-docking briefing. Managing the crew and its assigned tasks prior to and during docking is one of the most important (and simplest) things to get a handle on. Go over each crew member’s responsibility precisely — and well in advance of docking maneuvers. Also decide who should remain seated and out of the way until the lines are secure.
Make sure that everyone is aware of your expectations through every stage of docking. For example, I’ll determine who I want handling the bow, stern and spring lines, as well as who is responsible for deploying fenders or fending off from the dock, piling or seawall. It’s also important to let them know in what order you want the boat secured.
Lastly, be sure to always stress safety first: no hands between bulkheads, seawalls and pilings, and make sure that mooring lines aren’t wrapped around hands, legs or feet.
So, here it is: Never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it. Always remember that there’s room for only one captain on your vessel, regardless of size. And when in doubt, always refer to rule No. 2.
Now go boating, and look forward to coming back to the dock instead of dreading it!