Join Date: Oct 2007
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Slow down when docking!
Recently, I was crewing on a beautiful 53 foot wooden Yawl. As we approached the dock, I jumped onto the dock and went forward to handle the bow lines. Suddenly, crew started yelling, "We've lost the motor". I did all that I could, which was to put a shoulder into the bow, but she threw my 230 lbs aside like I was a flea and proceed to climb the dock and ram her bow into a boardwalk that was perpendicular to the dock. The sound of splintering wood that I heard still disturbs me! Simply following the axiom "Never approach a dock at a speed at which you don't want to hit it" would have avoided the incident. I mention this because in the last month, I have seen 2 other similar incidents. IMO, there is no need to approach a dock this fast. With most keel boats, you have several Tons in motion, and no brakes. If you come in hot, lose your transmission, transmission or throttle linkage, or your motor, you are screwed! When approaching a slip, I throttle back, then go to neutral before I even commit to the slip. Then... if something fails, I can kill the motor and have room to maneuver. Otherwise, I meander into the slip, usually putting her into reverse, about half way in. No heroic busts of reverse are needed. If I have a strong head wind at the dock, I leave her in forward longer. With a tail wind, I put her in revese earlier. However, I am not approaching the dock any faster. Don't mean to rant, but I've seen too many boats rammed into to docks for no reason recently!
BTW, I assume some will say I was foolish to try to slow the Yawl with my body weight. I agree, but I couldn't stand there and do nothing. Not my nature. I had plenty of room to avoid being pinned. Had she be moving at an appropriate speed, I would have had some effect.