boat docking

A nice boat is certainly an investment worth protecting. Unfortunately, countless boat owners are forced to deal with damages to their boat every year due to faulty docking, mooring, and anchoring practices. In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about properly securing a boat in order to help ensure that you are able to keep your boat safe and secure at all times.

Docking Your Boat

Docking a boat is the process of securing a boat to a dock, pier, or other similar structure. Boats that are not in use are typically stored in this manner much in the same way that you store a car in a garage until you are ready to use it again. Since boats are often docked for an extended period of time, though, it is essential to ensure that your boat is properly docked in a way that is safe from damage even in windy or choppy conditions.

It’s first important to understand the difference between a boat dock and a boat slip. In a way, a boat dock is akin to a parking lot while a boat slip is akin to a single parking space in that lot. A boat dock can be a massive structure complete with numerous slips where boats can be docked.

The process of docking your boat begins with pulling the boat into one of the slips so that it is parallel with the dock. Next, you’ll want to secure your boat to the dock using dock lines and nautical knots. It is also important to make use of fenders – protective pieces of plastic or rubber that are placed between the side of your boat and the structure that you are docking it to. These fenders are designed to keep your boat from scraping or smashing against the dock as it is being moved by the wind and waves.

Another important thing to mention is the fact that it isn’t a good idea to dock your boat anywhere other than a dock specifically meant for such purposes. In addition to the fact that docking your boat to a structure other than a dock isn’t always safe or secure, it’s also often illegal depending on where you are located. The good news, though, for those who don’t want to pay for long-term docking is that there are transient docking services that allow you to dock your boat for a shorter period of time.

Mooring Your Boat

Mooring a boat is the process of securing a boat out on the open water to a structure such as a mooring buoy – a floating structure that is anchored to the seafloor. Like docking a boat, mooring your boat requires you to secure your boat to the structure using rope and nautical knots. However, while docking is a form of long-term storage, mooring a boat is more of a way to keep your boat in one location on the open water much like dropping anchor.

When mooring a boat, getting a hold of the buoy that you are mooring to is often the most difficult step. To draw the buoy within arms reach so that you are able to begin tying your boat to it, you will need to either pull it in using a boat hook or create a lasso out of your rope to lasso the buoy and pull it in within reach. You’ll also want to make sure that the buoy is actually big enough to secure your boat, as some buoys may be too small to keep larger boats such as yachts in one location.

While it is typically fine to moor your boat anywhere you’d like for a short period of time, some boat owners choose to use mooring as a long-term storage solution for their boats. In this case, you will want to choose a designated mooring location where it is legal to leave your boat for longer durations in addition to choosing a location where it is safe to moor your boat and leave it unattended.

Anchoring Your Boat

Anchoring your boat entails dropping a large, heavy object attached to your boat into the water so that it will latch itself to the seafloor and keep your boat in one location. In most cases, anchoring a boat is not a means of long-term storage but rather a way to keep your boat from being moved too much by the wind and waves while you are out on the open water. Unlike docking and mooring which require you to secure your boat to a specialized structure, anchoring enables you to secure your boat anywhere you’d like so long as your anchor cable is long enough.

Speaking of choosing an anchor cable that is long enough, questions regarding the best length for an anchor cable are one of the most common questions we hear at Clark’s Marina. A good rule of thumb is to choose an anchor cable that is eight times longer than the deepest water you intend to anchor in. For example, if you are planning on dropping anchor in water that is 40 feet deep, you will want at least 320 feet of anchor cable. It’s also important to choose an anchor that is large enough to secure your boat since larger boats such as yachts often require larger anchors. Thankfully, many of these larger boats feature built-in anchor systems complete with appropriate-sized anchors and plenty of anchor cable.

In addition to choosing the right anchor size, it’s also a good idea to consider various anchor types depending on the type of seabed that you are navigating. Plow-shaped anchors, for example, are better suited for rocky seabeds while anchors that feature a broader shank/fluke angle are better suited for muddy seabeds.

Let Clark’s Marina Help With all of Your Boat Storage Needs

Determining a proper storage plan for your boat is an essential part of keeping your boat protected from damage. Thankfully, we at Clark’s Marina are proud to offer reliable and affordable docking services to customers throughout Gananoque, Ontario and the surrounding area. For the past 60 years, our family-owned and operated business has been providing boat owners with industry-leading boat storage solutions and personalized customer service. If you would like to learn more about docking your boat with Clark’s Marina, be sure to contact us today!