How to dock your boat with Alistair McGlashan | Club Marine
Articles, Blog

How to dock your boat with Alistair McGlashan | Club Marine

September 7, 2019

Al McGlashan: Now, when it comes to tying
your boat up or docking it, people get a bit nervous, but if you follow a simple procedure,
you can make it easy. First thing, we want to dock there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going for
coffee, you’re tying up to pull it out, it doesn’t matter. First thing you do, assess the situation. Tide, wind, other boats are all factors that
can play a role. Now, we’ve got a run-out tide. You can tell that because the water’s flowing
down against this edge here, so you can actually see it. So like a plane, you always … well, like
a plane always takes off into the wind. For us, we’re going to come in from downstream,
so we’re going into the current, so pushing into the current and pull up. Al McGlashan: The first thing we want to do
is the gear out. Now, fenders, get those ready. Secondly, have your ropes ready. Finally, make a plan with your deckhand. Coops, when we come in, I’m going to get you
to tie off on this back one here. I’m going to bring it in and then you secure
that. As soon as you secure it, tell me, and we’ll
hold against that. Coops: Yep. Al McGlashan: Beautiful. That’s your one. First step, get the fenders on. Now, it sounds silly, but decide what side
of the boat you’re going in, whether it’s port or starboard. In this case, current’s running out, so we’re
going to come in on this side because I like it on the driver’s side, so I have better
control. When you tie your fenders off, tie them off
so they’re nice and high. Don’t let them sink down too much. You want it so it’s fending the boat. If it sinks down too much, it’ll sit underneath
the boat. A couple of half hitches. Three half hitches for good measure, ready
to go. Now, your second fender, position it up somewhere
mid ship, that it’s going to protect the boat. Don’t put it too far forward. If it’s going to sink in under the bow, you
want it somewhere where it’ll protect the boat. Three half hitches for good luck. Now, you’re ready to go. Al McGlashan: As you’re coming in, again,
keep assessing the situation, keep making sure. There’s other boats moving around, there’s
debris, or in this case we’ve got a child on the ramp there catching toad fish, I think
it is. Trick is come in nice and slow. So you’re constantly assessing the situation. Now, we’re driving into the current and it’s
the same with the wind, always drive into the wind or the current, rather than with
it because if you’re going with it, it’s much harder to control. Secondly, in and out of gears, slow is best. Out of gear, the slower the better. Come in pointing the bow in towards it, and
you’ll let the water naturally pull you in. Coops is ready to go to tie it off. Al McGlashan: There you go. Now, we’re secure. Now, if it’s really rough or it’s a bit more
dangerous, what we can do is wrap it on here, so then see how just one wrap and I can pull
tight on there. That way I can control the boat and it’s semi-secured,
so you can hold it like that and that way, there can be a bit of pressure on the rope. To secure it off, give it an S, then half
hitch, which basically you just roll it over itself, pull down to secure it through the
half hitch facing the other way. Then for good measure, do one more. Al McGlashan: Grab your other rope.. Now, this is a temporary version. So we just pin her through like that, pin
her over. Half hitch, half hitch, one more for good
luck. To make it really secure, you want to tie
some springers, which will help take the pressure off. Black rope comes down to the back. Again, like that, pull tight. Half hitch, half hitch, and then one more
for good luck. That’s going to take a bit of pressure off,
going from the bow. Then Coops is passing me the other way. To take pressure off coming the other way,
we tie the other springer. Same thing, tie off your springer coming forward. Again, two half hitches and one more for good
luck. Then just roll it up so that it’s neat and
out of the way. Al McGlashan: Now, your boat can move around,
but see how all the different ropes tension at different times. Probably the final touch there is for securing
it, is that once you’ve tied it off, check it. You may need to readjust a couple of the lines
just to get it all working properly. Finally, if you want to go one step further,
you can tie another rope across from the back stern, across to a cleat there, and another
one off the bow as well. So, once you’ve tied it off, remember, just
check your ropes. You may need a little bit of adjusting, but
once you’ve got that baby tied down, she’s going nowhere. That is safe boating.


  • Reply Carola Leon June 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Good boat handling and securing the boat advice. However, needs work on knots. If you don't know the knot, you tie a lot.

  • Reply a. h. July 15, 2017 at 5:53 am

    nice video, but please Alistair learn how to tie a cleat correct.
    The rope first have to go 270 degrees around the cleat, otherwise the force on the rope try to twist the cleat.

  • Reply Gus Amaya July 16, 2017 at 4:11 pm


  • Reply dirtydog288 December 8, 2017 at 12:09 am

    what sort of boat is that

  • Reply Matt May 10, 2018 at 2:03 am

    What kind of tow Vehicle would you guys use for a boat of that size?

  • Reply James Brown May 20, 2018 at 5:30 am

    good skills on the helm, but you completely filled two of your cleats by securing your fenders with three useless half hitches, to the point where you had to edit out moving the forward fender. Having a young kid hold that rope on an outgoing tide is bad news also, although he might have been able to cleat it off better than you haha.

  • Reply Larry Belt September 28, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    I love these "boat docking instructional videos" where you have 6 times as much dock space as you need, no one around you, and 100 yards of width to work with. I could do this having ingested half a fifth, blind folded, with one arm tied behind my back. My situation is a slip in a Mariana, on the gulf, usually heavy winds, a slip that is literally 6" wider than my boat, and having to come in at a heavy angle. On top of that its a Tritoon, with no keel obviously, totally at the mercy of the wind. Going to make a real docking video.

  • Reply Lee McLoughlin December 4, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    I shall probably never need to dock my boat with Alistair McGlashan. Good video good tips.

  • Reply levrac68 April 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Lines are too short and your knots are blocking your cleats. Long tight lines are the best and allow for tide changes.

  • Leave a Reply