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Docking Into the Current (or Wind)

A reader asks: “Can you give me a few pointers on docking with a cross current?” That’s a great question, because no matter what body of water you are located in, the answer is the same...

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A reader asks:

“Captain Vinnie,

Can you give me a few pointers on docking with a cross current?”

-R. Odell

Hi Ron,

that’s a great question, because no matter what body of water you are located in, the answer is the same.

You always want to approach a dock with a heading into the current or wind (which ever is stronger).

“The current and or wind is the braking component as you approach.”


This method will be the same for face or side docks and slips. The only variables are mechanical options such as bow thruster/stern thruster, engine packages (inboard/outboard) and (how many engines), joy stick navigation.

These options will aid in your decision making as you make your approach.

Ron, I would suggest the following to you:

1. Take a lesson from an experienced licensed captain
2. If you have a friend who’s been taught correctly, ask to ride along and watch and learn from them.
3. Take some time and sit at the dock to watch the do’s and don’ts.
4. YouTube has instructional videos on the “How to’s of docking”

I hope this helps, boating life will be so much more enjoyable and less stressful once you accomplish the skills to dock safely.


Calm Seas and Safe Boating,

Captain Vinnie

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