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jimbo
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95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going from Panama City Florida down South somewhere for two weeks starting Jan 17th. No real destination. Just a day by day trip. I have sailed the same ol area over and over and am not nervous about pulling into the marina or docking the boat or sailing around in general. I feel quite comfortable in Panama City.

As far as going to new places..... That's where I get nervous. I have a chart plotter and maps so I'm not nervous about water depth. What I am nervous about is pulling into new marinas. Not sure where to pull up and dock. One time in Port St Joe I pulled into a marina and it was a tight squeeze for my 45 ft boat which does not have bow thrusters. There was only one spot to dock and as soon as I docked someone came out and told me it was a private slip.

How do you guys know where to dock and pull up when you enter a new marina. Any help will be much appreciated
 

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Master Mariner
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9,220 Posts
The fuel dock is a good first place to tie up in a new marina.
Of course, calling them on the VHF before entry is the standard way to make contact. Most marinas will then assign you a slip and give you directions to that slip.
 

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1981 Endeavour 32
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1,072 Posts
I usually try Marinas.com for aerial views of the marinas I'm going into for the first time, and always call ahead either on the cell or on VHF to get instructions on where to tie up if there's any question.

War Eagle.
 

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Barquito
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3,756 Posts
I have very little experience in this this, too (and it makes me a bit nervous). However, it did make me more confident when I had an aerial photo (from guide book or google) of the marina when I make the VHF call. Then I can picture what they are talking about when they give directions to my slip, or the gas dock.
 

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Calling ahead on the VHF or cell phone is always a good idea. Ask the marina for specific instructions on how to get to the assigned slip. Don't forget to ask which side the lines and fenders should go. I always try to check things out with binoculars before entering a restricted space where turning around will be difficult.

If you're unsure about a marina docking situation, tell the marina you would like to tie up at the fuel dock so you can check out the situation at the assigned berth. Walk over to the assigned berth to have a look at the available space, turning room, wind, current, etc. Make a plan for how you will maneuver the boat into the slip. Have a plan of how and when you will abort the approach if need be. It you need help, ask for it first from the marina staff. Others on the dock might be available, but their skill levels are unknown. (I know that the skill level of marina staff may be suspect as well.) If it looks too difficult, ask for another place to berth, anchor out, or move on.

It gets easier with experience. My first year with BR I dreaded docking in my assigned berth. It was the most stressful thing about being on the water. One thing that helped me a lot was reading books on boat handling and docking and then trying the suggested techniques in places where the space available and conditions were favorable. The real key to successful docking in strange places is to know your boat and have as much knowledge as possible before you're in a really tight situation. Oh, yea. Having lots of fenders helps too. :)
 

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Call ahead. Days, hours, whenever, as soon as you've identified where you want to stay.

Rarely would I ever pull into a marina for the first time ever without having any information about availability and general info for transient docking. No one wants to pull into a marina, circle around, tie up somewhere, only to learn that you can't stay. Waste of time. Usually the easiest way to get this info is by calling the marina. I prefer cell phone as I can have an easier and more efficient conversation.

Nothing to be nervous about if you know what to expect.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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3,487 Posts
I am going from Panama City Florida down South somewhere for two weeks starting Jan 17th. No real destination. Just a day by day trip. I have sailed the same ol area over and over and am not nervous about pulling into the marina or docking the boat or sailing around in general. I feel quite comfortable in Panama City.

As far as going to new places..... That's where I get nervous. I have a chart plotter and maps so I'm not nervous about water depth. What I am nervous about is pulling into new marinas. Not sure where to pull up and dock. One time in Port St Joe I pulled into a marina and it was a tight squeeze for my 45 ft boat which does not have bow thrusters. There was only one spot to dock and as soon as I docked someone came out and told me it was a private slip.

How do you guys know where to dock and pull up when you enter a new marina. Any help will be much appreciated
Do yourself a favor. Click-on ActiveCaptain, register (it's free) and use the Interactive Cruising Guidebook tab to review your area of interest. Most everything you'll need to know is listed with tips and references and contact information for prospective stops to allow you to make contacts beforehand, all plotted on Maps/Charts/Aerial Photo's (from Google Earth).

FWIW...
 
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Old enough to know better
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4,345 Posts
Yes, I think the web guides are good, but guidebooks are great, because they don't rely on electricity, so you can sit in the cockpit and read it when you decide you want to go a bit further or less far than you originally decided. Paper Charts are good to have too, but I am old and old school.

And hey who knows you might get lucky on the trip and you won't be a virgin anymore!
 

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jimbo
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95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I usually try Marinas.com for aerial views of the marinas I'm going into for the first time, and always call ahead either on the cell or on VHF to get instructions on where to tie up if there's any question.

War Eagle.
I didn't think about calling on a cell phone. Hmmmmmm Im not too good on the radio.
 

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jimbo
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95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do yourself a favor. Click-on ActiveCaptain, register (it's free) and use the Interactive Cruising Guidebook tab to review your area of interest. Most everything you'll need to know is listed with tips and references and contact information for prospective stops to allow you to make contacts beforehand, all plotted on Maps/Charts/Aerial Photo's (from Google Earth).

FWIW...
Thanks. I book marked the site
 
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