Hold Me Close!

The typical “thing” to do with a boat as you ready dock lines and fenders is to continue motoring around while getting everything in place.  This has always made me a bit nervous, especially if I have inexperienced crew.  With inexperienced crew often times they are at the wheel while I am the one doing the work.  After all, I know how far down to hang a fender and how to tie the proper knot to hold it in place.  When I see another boat circling like this I tend to stay far away.  A moving boat has the potential of hitting things.  Interestingly, I have never seen a boat hit something while holding position.

Here is a nice easy solution.  While in safe, open water, point your stern directly into the wind.  The natural “weather-vane” effect now holds your bow in place.  Put the boat into reverse at a low RPM.  Just enough to keep the wind from blowing you forward.  In most cases, leaving the throttle at idle is enough.  The boat may drift slowly in the direction of the prop walk, however, it won’t be very noticeable.  Now, turn the wheel over to the inexperienced crew to monitor everything and let you know if a problem develops.

As a test, I practiced this maneuver the other day and moved less than 50 feet over a five minute span of time.  Plenty of time get everything ready without the dangers associated with working on a moving boat.

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