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Old 02-01-2019, 04:36 PM   #1
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Smile Communications While Docking

Having just purchased a Marine Trader Tradewinds 38 trawler my wife and I are wondering about docking communication. I will be on the fly-bridge and she will be on deck. Any suggestions for making our communication clear, except for yelling louder?



I have 40 years sailing experience, and she has 25. We enjoyed racing and cruising our 36 foot sloop around the Great Lakes together these last 18 years. We just want to be prepared for the spring launch when we depart fully under power.


All advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:14 PM   #2
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Save your Marriage

Here, take a look at this thread. It is only one of many that have touched on this subject.

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Old 02-01-2019, 05:26 PM   #3
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With time we communicate less and less while docking. She knows what she has to do, I am doing what I have to do and look at her from the flybridge, most of the time the communication is limited to some signs or very few words.

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Old 02-01-2019, 05:28 PM   #4
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Several boats in our marina use these. Sena Expand...we have a pair and love them!

https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...CABEgJdLPD_BwE
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:37 PM   #5
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Non hardware related:
- agree on hand signals before docking. You can practice anywhere.
- Pre brief your plan before you get near a dock. Also discuss a plan B. Like when the finger pier is on the opposite side than they told you and all of the fenders need to be swapped to the other side.
- Don't take raised voices personally. It's going to happen when something unexpected comes up. The anxiety rises and so does the voice volume.

Now here is the hard one. After you get settled in, talk about what could have gone better. If you use the opportunity to stick knives in your partner, sell the boat now!
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Capitaine R View Post
Here, take a look at this thread. It is only one of many that have touched on this subject.

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Thank you for the quick reply.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:58 PM   #7
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I can't see her when we are docking so we wear Sena SPH10 headsets. They have worked great for us.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:09 PM   #8
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We plan the docking before we approach the dock and agree on how we are going to do it. We have never found the need for radio headphones. We donít yell. We are also in the CG Aux boat crew program so we have trained extensively on it which helps so we know what each other is going to do.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:17 PM   #9
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Really depends on the boat ..... as on mine, a decent loud voice is all thats needed.....

If I am not being heard, I just walk to the location of the boat that needs me.

But you have to be pretty good and relaxed at docking for that to work.

I hated the headsets we had, sold them.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:26 PM   #10
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We couldn't do without the headsets, she is usually in the cockpit when docking and me up on the FB. Same when going through the lock. No chance of hearing or seeing each other.

Even when leaving the dock it is nice to hear her confirm that she is on board before I move away.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codger2 View Post
Several boats in our marina use these. Sena Expand...we have a pair and love them!

https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...CABEgJdLPD_BwE
We bought a set last year and wish we would have had them years ago.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:58 PM   #12
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With all the years of experience you have, you’ll be fine. If you were able to dock your sail boat without issues, nothing should change! When leaving the dock and I am working the lines, I call out, “spring line onboard”, “stern is free”, “I am onboard”, “bow is free”. Then I walk back to the stern to watch us clear the pilings, and call out “clear”! Similar communications for docking. We also discuss ahead of time how we will leave or arrive at the dock due to winds/currents. Enjoy your new boat!!
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:59 PM   #13
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We got a "communicator" years ago.
Never used it. Doubt if I can find it now.

We developed hand signals that work quite well. Me on the foredeck and Chris at the helm.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:20 AM   #14
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Welcome aboard

As a current racer and a relitivly new Manatee owner, my wife and I do not use headsets. Docking a trwler from the pilot house is different then docking a sailboat from an open cockpit,big rudder and fin keel. Our first attempts were humorous, but not damaging to the boat or the relationship. The sailboats gives us line of sight with each other and good slow speed helm control plus we have done it 100s of time together with little conversation during the evolution. The trawler was much harder. From the Manatee pilot hous I can not see the stern or know where it Is in relationship to the dock we had to develop language we both understood and was meaningful. When docking we alway talk in terms of distance from the boat and direction from the boat (not go left 5 feet, but the dock is five feet to port or 10 from the back of the slip) we also talk about our docking plan before getting to the dock (stern to, gt the spring line first, then catch the bow line...) plus we never come to a dock faster than we want to hit it. We also are supportive of each other when we abort and go around. (The best advice I got form a dock mate when we purchased the boat was "no one ever remembers you went around three times, but they always rember when you hit the dock hard". Lastly we practiced together at low traffic times until we got it down...

Have fun with your new toy. If you get to southern Lake Michigan (Chicago) give me a shout. Would love to see your boat

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantal View Post
Having just purchased a Marine Trader Tradewinds 38 trawler my wife and I are wondering about docking communication. I will be on the fly-bridge and she will be on deck. Any suggestions for making our communication clear, except for yelling louder?



I have 40 years sailing experience, and she has 25. We enjoyed racing and cruising our 36 foot sloop around the Great Lakes together these last 18 years. We just want to be prepared for the spring launch when we depart fully under power.


All advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:38 AM   #15
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Once a an understanding of the simple dynamics are evident not much communication should be necessary, getting to that point just takes some minor instruction prior to arriving at the dock. Excited arm waving, shouting and complicated instructions are never helpful.
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:18 AM   #16
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We use a system of hand signals that work for us.
Approaching the dock/lock or pier I'm on the f/b and admirals on the deck. I simply give a left arm horizontal if we moor on the left, right arm for right to arrange fendering. I hold off until I get the thumbs up.
If we dock on the left and I wish the bowline first I raise my left hand 1 finger, if it needs tightened I clench/unclench my fist steadily, if it needs loosened I show a hand opening fully and closing. The speed of the hand movements dictate urgency or otherwise.
For the centre cleat I use two fingers (together) for the rear cleat 3 fingers etc.
It works for us and we're still happily married after some 5/600 locks and thousands of sea miles.

We used to have a well dressed Irish couple called Seamus and his blond wife Patricia in our port, they would enter a lock all smiles to the dockhoppers/gongoozlers/bystanders, when it started to go wrong as it invariably did their voices would keep getting raised over the noise of the engine and water and as urgency dictated a few blue words were added to the shouting..
This was particularly hilarious when they passed into an empty lock because as you know its it's just a giant echo chamber.
When the lock was full and the gates opened they would emerge all smiles and wave at bystanders and Seamus would say 'Well done Patricia Macushla' never for a minute realizing everyone heard every word.
Sometimes for a bit of 'craic' we'd jump in a car when they left port and race down to watch them pass the first lock and pretend we'd just come to see them off.
It couldn't last of course and they've since sold the boat.
p.s. Macushla is Irish for 'My love' Darling'.
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:42 AM   #17
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If you cant see each other the headsets are a big help. In our case never used or needed them, hand signal if needed, but after boating together for over 45 yrs guess its ESP.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:46 AM   #18
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Thank you all for your docking replies. My Admiral and I see a good need for communication, and we will often be out of sight / hearing so a communicator makes sense.

Can those of you using one tell us the Brand and Model?
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:08 AM   #19
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When we need com aboard like when I am at the wheel on the bridge and she is in preparing a lunch or doing anything else we are using little portable motorola radio. They are waterproof, cheap and work well. But we don't use them for docking.

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Old 02-02-2019, 09:17 AM   #20
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From previous threads it seems you cant go wrong with either EarTecs (Wireless, we have the Ultralites, they have been around since 1961) or Sena (I believe BlueTooth and started for bikers in 1998).
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