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post #4 of Old 06-11-2007
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It's really incumbent on you, as the "driver", to put the boat against the dock and stop it so that no one has to jump, and they can simply step off the boat and secure it. This, as someone new to boating, requires practice to gain familiarity with how your boat handles, turns, stops, which way it will "walk" in reverse, etc.

Having someone watch the fenders is fine, sometimes they get squeezed out of you misjudge a cross breeze or current. Make sure you tell them NOT to try to "be the fender", though, if things go wrong. Quick way to some bad bruises or worse.

Practice against a floating log, or a remote dock so that there is no other interfering boats (or spectators!) until you're comfortable. Some boats back up quite well and so you may prefer to back in in new situations (because you'll likely have better "brakes")

One final thought. Discourage your crew from "handing off" lines to well-intended dock "helpers". If you stop the boat properly they won't be needed, and often they try to help by stopping the boat before you're ready. There's nothing like someone cleating a bow line to send your stern sideways and into a boat beside you. There's no need to be rude about it, just have your crew say "we'll be fine, thanks" as you impress them with your boat handling.

However, if you find yourself in a severe cross wind condition, or strong cross current you may need to avail yourself of the offers of help. But the more confident you are in your own boat handling, and the more aware you are of such conditions, embarrassing incidents should be minimal.

Remember to keep your EQ (Entertainment Quotient) at a minimum, whether docking or anchoring!

Good Luck.
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