This time: a cheat for when you are struggling to come alongside a dock bow-first because it’s a tight space and the wind is blowing you away.

This technique works with any vessel with outdrives, outboards or twin engines.


1. Prepare fenders and mooring lines. Ensure you or your crew knows how to lasso a cleat (to be covered in another article) and is fully briefed

2. Get the wind at six o’clock to the vessel (directly astern)

3. Idle towards the desired cleat in reverse whilst keeping the wind as close to six o’clock as possible


4&5. Keep your speed under control by using neutral as often as possible. Better too slow than too fast, because if your leg or outboard contact the dock they are susceptible to damage

6&7. Have your crew lasso the cleat or pick up the dock line and secure it to the aft cleat closest to the dock. Use a minimum of three figure of eights, and a little slack in the line is required to pivot on

8. NEVER engage gear while your crew is working the cleat. Have them show you both their hands are clear before engaging forward gear.

9. The helm should be in the midships (straight) position or else turned slightly towards the dock. Repeatedly shift between forwards and neutral to control the vessel’s closing rate with the dock.

10. Once alongside, leave the engine in gear to hold the boat alongside the dock. Have your crew attach a bow line from the vessel if possible – the risks of stepping off a boat that’s in gear are numerous, so avoid it whenever you can.

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