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Old 05-14-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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Avoiding docking fire drills

When docking in a strange marina we always call ahead and ask where we will be docking and what the tie up situation is. We also ask about wind and current.
We do this well before getting near the dock so there is plenty of time to get lines and fenders prepared. A little advanced information and preparation avoids fire drills.
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:29 PM   #2
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We’ve experienced about 50/50 the person in the office being correct when told “bow in, port side tie.”
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:48 PM   #3
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We’ve experienced about 50/50 the person in the office being correct when told “bow in, port side tie.”
Amen. 50%? Wish it was that high in our experience. We come in looking like a deck of spaghetti, white boat trash dragging fenders on both sides now.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:22 PM   #4
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Amen. 50%? Wish it was that high in our experience. We come in looking like a deck of spaghetti, white boat trash dragging fenders on both sides now.

Yeah, we got tired of it, too. While underway for a few weeks at a time, we eventually left all the fenders tied on for both sides... and then just kicked whichever side over the rub rails once we could eyeball the actual slip.

But it did help to call ahead, to the extent possible. Sometimes we could at least match up their approach instructions with a pic or map of the marina...

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Old 05-14-2018, 02:32 PM   #5
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I'm with you Nightcrawler,

Always have fenders on both sides when docking. You never know where you may end up if you take a wrong turn, or have to abort your docking attempt.

If it's windy, I'll have spring lines ready on both sides as well.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:39 PM   #6
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SOP for us is five fenders on each side.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:46 PM   #7
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I agree - on several counts.


Always ask about tie up - which side, etc.


Answer I get is correct - about 50 % of the time...
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
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I enjoy using Google maps on the satellite layer to get an overview of the marina lay out. Helps me understand the description and directions I am getting over the radio.
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:31 PM   #9
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We pull up a marina close up and also check their web site to see if they have a layout there with slip numbers, transient location. We prepare both sides and find out in advance where and how we'll be docking. If we get close and there is some uncertainty, then we'll sit just off the marina until it's resolved.

The communication is key up until you're secured. That means headsets or ear pieces for all line handlers but also the ability to broadcast to dock hands through hailers or megaphones.

We've had very few fire drills, but the ones we've experienced have made me think the marina was being run by the Three Stooges. We had one in which we were on the phone with the dockmaster while his dock hand was trying to direct us totally opposite from his instructions. We finally told him we would give him time to go reach agreement with his employee, but meanwhile we were docking where he had told us initially. We then watched them yell at each other while we proceeded to dock with no assistance from either. 30 minutes later the dockmaster told us we'd need to move and we explained that if we moved it would be to another marina. He changed his mind.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:08 PM   #10
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I have been more fortunate that most apparently. Usually the information I get from the dockmaster on the radio or phone is accurate. Occasionally, I've been told that they don't know but the dock hands will direct me as I come in. In that case, we set out lines and fenders on both sides.

My boat has a bulkhead doorway on the starboard side of the aft cockpit. My wife is much more comfortable stepping off from there than she is from the aft swim step. So whenever possible, I will try for a starboard tie.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:12 PM   #11
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I have been more fortunate that most apparently. Usually the information I get from the dockmaster on the radio or phone is accurate. Occasionally, I've been told that they don't know but the dock hands will direct me as I come in. In that case, we set out lines and fenders on both sides.

My boat has a bulkhead doorway on the starboard side of the aft cockpit. My wife is much more comfortable stepping off from there than she is from the aft swim step. So whenever possible, I will try for a starboard tie.
We've been fortunate. Very seldom have we had issues with dockmaster's or dock hands. Definitely not 50/50. I prefer a starboard tie vs port and not real sure why. Perhaps it's being right handed. Now, it's probably that I've been through dozens of locks generally on the starboard side and docked probably 5 to 1 starboard. At home, we always dock starboard and when our friends visit, so do they. Just habit.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
I have been more fortunate that most apparently. Usually the information I get from the dockmaster on the radio or phone is accurate. Occasionally, I've been told that they don't know but the dock hands will direct me as I come in. In that case, we set out lines and fenders on both sides.

My boat has a bulkhead doorway on the starboard side of the aft cockpit. My wife is much more comfortable stepping off from there than she is from the aft swim step. So whenever possible, I will try for a starboard tie.
Same with us on information from the dockmaster but almost 100% of the time the person we contacted on the radio hit the nail on the head, but a larger % of the time the ones we reach on the tele gave us bad information
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:20 PM   #13
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Same with us on information from the dockmaster but almost 100% of the time the person we contacted on the radio hit the nail on the head, but a larger % of the time the ones we reach on the tele gave us bad information
Interesting but makes sense that many who answer the phone don't spend time on the dock.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:48 PM   #14
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Last year we called in and the dockmaster texted a drawing on how to get to our assigned slip.
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