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Mar 7, 2021
I’m new here, so please bear with me.
We bought a 34 ft Camano 1978 and are quite happy with it. However, a couple of things have troubled us. One is we can’t find a Coast Guard Compliant tag on it. Does anyone know where Camano put them on their boats back in the day?
The other problem we have is it doesn’t go where I want it to go in reverse! If there is any wind or current it won’t back into it, this has caused grief at fuel docks. Any ideas other the spending giant piles of money on thrusters?
Welcome aboard. The compliance sticker may have gotten removed over time or may not have been required back then, I don’t remember. As to backing with a single, practice, practice, practice. You need to learn what the boat is capable of doing and then don’t try to make it do something else. Most single engine inboards will only back in one direction. You just need to learn what your boat does and doesn’t do. Good luck.
Welcome aboard!

Single engine?
Inboard or IO?
Left or right hand prop?
So, generically speaking with a right hand prop, the stern should back to port in reverse with rudder amidships. The rudder will come into play as you gain sternway. Almost every single screw inboard boat handling book diagrams show response for right hand props.
First things first, verify the propshaft turns counter-clockwise (looking from behind) when shifted to reverse.
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...we can’t find a Coast Guard Compliant tag on it...

The other problem we have is it doesn’t go where I want it to go in reverse!

I'm not sure what a "Coast Guard Compliance tag" is. There is a requirement for a capacity plate on open power boats less than 20 feet. It is optional on larger vessels. You may also find an ABYC compliance placard, but that's not a requirement.

See if you can get a vessel safety check from the USCG Auxiliary or Power Squadron, they'll explain it all.

A boat doesn't "back up" like a car. You'll find you have very little steerage in reverse. Plan for that, and for the effects of wind and current, as well as possible "prop walk" to port, although on some hulls that's less noticeable than others. Practice makes perfect. Especially if you can get someone experienced to help.
Welcome aboard TF
A few tips just to get you started.
Take you boat out it a clear open water area to practice and start to get a feel for what it will do.
Rubber mid ship, stop and back up and note what the stern does... as others said it likely will back to port if set up as you noted.
Generally rudder has little to no affect until/ unless you have significant speed and udually more than you want around docks & other boats so best to not count on but practice will reinforce how little it is.
Plan you approach to a fuel dock accordingly... if it backs to port best approach will generally be a shallow angle (30* +/- more later)
Approach slow but with enough speed you will need reverse to stop you. If too fast neutral till you are close then shift to reverse to stop you will bring the stern into the dock.

Adjust the angle of approach depending on wind / current - if wind towards the dock decrease the angle as the wind will help bring you towards the dock.
If wind off the dock increase the angle slightly to have more of a tendency for momentum to carry you towards the dock.

Practice, practice, practice... drop a couple of floating cushions tied together with a shortuece of floating line out in open water to give you a target to practice with. If you can find an open dock pier that's not a busy fuel dock ( after hours with no competition) try the dock next.
Current adds complexity but think of it as wind and what adjustments you need to make to approach angle per above.
Go to a protected area, no wind, no current, no waves, no inertia to deal with. Drop it into reverse and just observe what it does on its own for a few boat lengths. Try correcting this route with some rudder, or throttle. Neither will have a great effect.

All boats behave a little differently. Its best to learn how your behaves when nobody is watching.

first, welcome aboard!
second, unlike the US, Canadian requirements are more recent, but less than US requirements. In 1978 it is unlikely that there was any requirement for a compliance tag, even in the US. I can't find the regulation that applies, if there was one. In doing hundreds of safety checks for our Yacht Club, I have never seen a requirement for a Compliance tag.
third, steering in reverse wont happen until you have built up enough speed for the rudder to be effective. You have no prop wash pushing against the rudder in reverse, so you are dependent on getting enough boat speed to do the job. You can use your prop walk, adequately explained above, at low speeds, but once you put the engine in neutral, you are dependent solely on boat speed for steerage. Go to someplace quiet and find out how your boat reacts to all the different variables you try. You will be glad you did, and will avoid looking like a newby.
forth, there are many here who swear by thrusters. There are also many here who can handle every circumstance without thrusters, whether or not they are fitted. After you have spent a little time learning how your boat handles, you can still add thrusters, but should be able to get where you want to be without.
You can also try putting the rudder the opposite way the boat backs to. Go a ways in reverse and then give a quick and fairly powerful forward thrust with the engine. If you only goose it for a moment you won’t pick up way going forward but it will kick the stern over and help correct for the walking off course. Then back some more and then repeat. Have fun.
Welcome aboard eh? Mr. G. The ONE and only piece of advice I will offer regards maneuvering is GO SLOW!!!! The slower you go, the less damage you will inflict when, yes WHEN you hit something, and you will. Not to worry. As the above posters have said, practice, practice, practice....

When I used to teach boat handling I always said the “slow is pro” and never go faster than you are willing to hit something. You do need to go fast enough to maintain steering control but no faster than necessary.
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