SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Protocol for entering new marinas. Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-26-2014 10:40 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

If you were not able to make contact with the marina before you get there, you could stop at the gas dock. You may need to fuel-up anyway.
10-12-2014 11:15 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

It is pretty important to contact the marina before entering as they will want to know your length, beam and draft and, possibly, power requirement (30A, 50A...) to determine which slip to assign.

My next contact is when I'm almost to the entrance to the marina. The marina wants the contact so they can ensure boats entering and leaving the marina won't conflict with each other. I want this contact because I want to know how to set up the boat and determine whether I'll head into the slip or back into the slip. I also want to know if it will be a port or starboard tie-up so I can get the fenders and dock lines ready.

Once I'm ready, I'll make the final contact to let them know I'm ready to come in and make sure they're ready for me. If I'm not familiar with the marina, I'll also ask for simple directions to the slip.

Once cleared in we go to the slip and tie up. We also like to handle the lines ourselves unless we know the help is experienced.
10-12-2014 06:05 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Originally Posted by wallster View Post
Awesome, thank you. Yeah I was curious if there were specific rules if you cant/don't radio ahead. ...
Every marina is different. That's the only constant that you'll have. You can certainly take a chance and not make reservations but you're taking a chance that they have no slips available. Holiday weekend or special event going on? You may have to reserve your slip months or a year in advance depending on the area.

The real frustrating thing for us are the marinas that paint the slip numbers on the dock. Who can see a number painted ON THE DOCK where you walk unless you're a bird? Or you're walking the dock and looking down at your feet.
10-12-2014 04:13 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Its difficult to work out the layout of an unseen marina. Where do you go if it all turns to hell?

I try to get a good look at the marina on Google Earth anf figure out where there is some space for me to loiter, or at least, turn around and head back out.

If they yell at you on the VHF or phone "J24" its damn hard to locate it unseen and get into the berth first time lucky. So when I go in I try it and if its not working, or the layout confuses me, I will head right back out into the sea/river and settle myself down for a few minutes before going back in.

Its like coming up to a mooring ball... You eith pick it up, or go around and try again, theres no use manoeuvring after youve failed because boats dont like that.
10-12-2014 02:33 PM
Dog Ship
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Most, if not all marinas allow you to call ahead prior to arrival. Either by phoning them or by using a predetermined VHF channel you can make arrangements for someone to assist you at the dock as you come in.
As far as any rules go, just don't hit anything. Especially another boat.
10-12-2014 02:21 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Awesome, thank you. Yeah I was curious if there were specific rules if you cant/don't radio ahead. If they have a docking area while someone goes to the office to get a slip number and what not. I definitely like your idea of using Google Earth though to see what it looks like.
10-12-2014 01:19 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Donna's pretty much got it.

Your biggest issue as I see it is that you're not yet fully confident in how your boat handles in tight situations. I'd really suggest finding a place to practice that is relatively open, with a dock you can pull up to from a variety of angles and directions and do just that.. practice practice practice. Often a fuel dock is a good place for this (after hours, of course) They often are well protected around the edges with bumper rails etc and also may have lines to grab waiting on the dock.

There's a saying that goes 'never approach a dock faster than you're willing to hit it' but there comes a time when too tentative an approach can get you into some trouble. That's why I say find a way to practice, know how quickly you can stop the boat with reverse, know your turning radius at various speeds, know and use whatever 'propwalk' you have.

If you have a folding prop AND your boat steers well in reverse (not always the case) then it may be wise to back into an unfamiliar docking situation. By backing in you have better 'brakes' when you apply power in fwd gear. You have a better view of where the leading end of the boat is, but be aware that the bow will swing in the opposite direction in a turn.. and having backed in, leaving will be more straightforward.

We know plenty of newish sailor's whose high-anxiety trigger is having to dock the boat.. the only thing to do is practice and perfect your technique in as many situations as you can find.
10-12-2014 01:01 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Hi wallster. I'm not sure exactly what questions you have but here is our routine:

Of course different marinas have different conditions. Ours is right on the Chesapeake so unprotected and we can count on a decent current and wind. The advantage to this is that any marina in a protected area seems easier and less stressful to get into than our own.

If we know before leaving the dock that we'll be visiting a new marina, we'll see if we can get a slip assignment when we make the reservation but that's not always possible. We also check the marina website and Google Earth for a picture. We use that so that we know what structures and layout to expect before we get there. That way we only have to deal with the wind and current.

Go slowly. After getting to the marina we have no problem slowly motoring around to see what the conditions are before attempting to get into a slip, how the fenders need to be positioned, if we can use a spring line, etc. Sometimes we have to motor around anyway if we need to radio the office for our slip assignment after arriving.

In the BVI we temporarily tied up to a bulkhead while I went to the office to get our slip assignment. One of the dock workers helped us locate it and get the boat tied up.

We never expect anyone from the marina to be there to help with lines. We expect to be on our own. If someone from the marina can help, that's great, but we don't count on it. Also, remember to take your own lines. We have a second set on board for use at other marinas. We also take our shore power line with us.

I'm sure others will chime in but that might get you started.
10-12-2014 12:33 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

It looks like he had edited the post to fit the title. I am curious as well about entering a new marina.
08-11-2012 05:12 PM
Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.

Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Different paints have different cure rates. Contact the manufacturer.
Interlux has a forum where these questions are quickly answered:

Antifouling - - Page 1
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome