Originally Posted by makobuilders
This is an excellent thread but IMO I think it is better to emphasize boat handling skills (seamanship) over sophisticated equipment.
I knew a Seattle tug captain who would put his 100' tug wherever it needed to be. It was swinging a 16' prop and had no thrusters or anything. He used the sterns "prop walk" to his advantage. Of course he did have deckhands to toss a spring line, but there is a point to learn here.
I think if Jonza or GalaxyGirl found themselves in a 70' single diesel trawler, deep in the draft without too much windage, with nothing more than a good bow thruster, then they would (with practice) be self-sufficient in docking in probably 95% of the situations they would find themselves in. The other 5% might be times where it's better to either anchor out and wait for heavy weather to subside, or perhaps radio the dockmaster for some assistance.
A heavy trawler doesn't drift too fast so there would be time to race down to the bow and toss a few lines before heading back to the bridge.
While I agree that seamanship and experience trump all...as a newbie you can't buy those even with the best hands on training courses.
The alternative is the best automation and thrusters money can buy.
Learning your limitations needs to come early too...more so than actually gaining the critical experience that eclipses your limitations.