How Do You Dock a Boat?

To dock a boat, attach the fender and dock lines, approach the dock slowly moving into the wind or current if possible, and step onto the dock after the boat stops. Tie the bow and stern dock lines to the dock cleats with a cleat hitch. Secure the spring lines.

  1. Fasten the fender and dock lines in place

    Tie any fenders securely in place. Tie the bow dock line to the anchor cleat and the stern dock line to the aft cleat.

  2. Approach the deck slowly

    Move the boat at a shallow angle into position next to the dock. If possible move into the wind or current so your speed naturally slows.

  3. Step onto the dock

    After the boat is at a near stop, hold onto the bow and stern dock lines, and step onto the dock.

  4. Secure the dock lines

    First attach the dock line at the end facing the current. If you were moving into the current, this is the bow line. Use a cleat hitch to securely fasten the lines to the dock cleats.

  5. Adjust the fender

    Adjust the height of the fender so it protects the boat from the dock.

  6. Attach spring lines

    Attach one or two spring lines, depending on the size of the boat and the water conditions. Spring lines connect from a center boat cleat to fore and aft cleats on the dock.