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post #7 of Old 06-28-2011
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It depends on the boat and the dock. Ease of boarding can be a factor, especially with fixed docks and/or short finger piers, as the boarding gates on most boats are somewhat aft of midships. Bow-in can mean climbing over the lifelines and down to the dock rather than having access to the boarding gate. Also, wind and current play a role. If your slip is downwind or down current, it can be advantageous to be tied stern-in, so that you can motor forward into that current when leaving the slip, providing more control than you would have by trying to build enough speed for steerage in reverse.

We have some boats on our dock that tie up bow-in, but over half prefer having the stern facing the dock, for their own various reasons. We always have the charter boats riding stern-in at the beginning of each charter, for boarding and so that the charterer can leave the slip by just motoring straight out in forward gear.

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