Ok Dock-Masters, please comment on my dock and de-docking procedures (note I am singling handling a 34 footer- 16,000 lbs most times) Also note I can only tie the boat off on the port side and generally have about a 20 knot wind on the stern quarter of the boat which is trying to push the boat both back into the slip and also off the dock into my neighbors boat (double wide slip with nothing (not ever a piling) between:
To leave the dock:
I have engine running, warmed up and in neutral (have tested fwd and rev at dock). I have all lines untied except one at the stern and one mid ship. I walk the boat out and try to build up speed so when I go aboard I have steerage. If boat goes out of control, I re-cleat and reposition. Step on moving boat and put engine in reverse and continue backing out of slip to fairway. I have tried to untie boat then reverse out but by the time I get to the throttle the bow is already pushed off the pier by 5 feet or more, and if I hit reverse the boat will just do a 360 in the slip due to prop walk and wind action. Walking it out is the only way I can figure out how to get her out and relatively the safest method.
Returning to dock:
If wind is light I have no problem, can bring her in very slow next to the dock without touching anything and at a stop.
When wind is strong, I need some speed so that I get to the dock before the wind pushes off my bow. I also need to hit reverse to counter the stong wind pushing the boat into the slip. I have tried coming in very slow in windy conditions only to have the bow get blown off. And when this happens it is not a simple thing to just back out and try again. If I hit reverse, between the prop walk and the wind, the boat will want to do a 360 in the slip and potential hit my dock mate- things are much harder when single handing as even a simple push off with a boat hook is not possible as you need to be at the helm and engine controls.
I have a bunch of old tires and plan to set them up on my dock, plan is rather ram them than my neighbors boat.