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Can I dock my boat stern first? SOLVED

NYSail

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Jan 6, 2006
2,317
Beneteau 423 Mt. Sinai, NY
We don't spend much time in our slip, however always bow in... privacy yes but also, we can always choose when we want to leave, however some days when returning the weather is not cooperating and the thought of backing in is a joke.... bow first I glide into slip no matter what the weather.
Everybody is different
 
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capta

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Jun 4, 2009
3,384
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Since I rarely, if ever, get to choose the slip/dock I am assigned I've had to learn to handle my boats to suit the dock, not the other way around. Sometimes, depending on what I'm working on, I'll be in bow first or stern first on the same day.
The privacy thing is something to consider, and bow to prevailing wind is a convenience as water slapping under the reverse transom can be annoying, but neither will prevent me from going in stern first if I'm only staying few days.
As we rarely go to the dock for anything more than fuel, the chance to back into a slip
(or the fuel dock) gives me the fun of actually maneuvering my boat, especially when conditions are difficult, so I'll do it whenever I can.
 
Jun 8, 2004
7,721
-na -NA Anywhere USA
A lot of good information some of which decisions need to be made depending on the circumstances. However if you have never backed up, please train away from the dock so not to damage boats nor yours to.
Remember you have no control initially until you have water flow passing over the rudder blade. Some will start backing up a far piece from the slip which is ok but not in high winds.
I use to train my customers to perform circling to starboard slowly and when the stern was 30 to 40 degrees off the starboard of the slip, start backing up slowly as the prop walk will bring the stern of the boat to port. During this time you will start backing up to obtaining rudder control as the water going over the rudder blade will begin to give you steerage thus straight into the slip backwards. PLEASE PRACTICE THIS AWAY FROM THE DOCKS AND MARINA UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,464
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
I really don't have a choice stern in is the only way I can embark or disembark, no finger docks just a small triangular dock between boats. We are one of the furthest slips from the parking lot so most times privacy is not a concern.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,268
Starwind 27 Barnegat, NJ
When you are sleeping on the boat, the waves slapping under the stern can be really annoying. I've often thought about turning stern in during the summer when wind normally prevails from the south. In the fall, it can be more from the north, so bow is more suitable for me. Our finger piers are short and they are flared for bow-in docking, although the stern would probably also fit nicely.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
11,123
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Stern in, why wouldn't ya... Especially if you can? and you have a stern exit... Or you want to bring your cockpit closer to the dock party crowd.

If you want a bit of privacy for a quiet dinner at the slip with someone you want to be wearing a slip, you might find the bow in better for a more private special moment in the cockpit...

By all means follow the suggestions of our @Crazy Dave Condon and practice the maneuver a few times before you "Go for it".

You don't want to "Crash and Burn".
 
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Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
1,509
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
We don't spend much time in our slip, however always bow in... privacy yes but also, we can always choose when we want to leave, however some days when returning the weather is not cooperating and the thought of backing in is a joke.... bow first I glide into slip no matter what the weather.
Everybody is different
At one time, I was using a slip that I had to back into because of a stubby finger pier. Returning from a trip one day, the weather was not cooperating, and, of course, I had guests on board. After several failed attempts to back in, I found myself stuck sideways to the outside pilings. I instructed my guests and crew to grab the pilings and "walk" the boat into the slip. We made it with no damage or injuries, and my dock neighbor was kind enough to give me a DVD of the entire episode that he had recorded.:mad:
 

JRT

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Feb 14, 2017
1,594
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
Been there, done that @Tom J This year has been all about learning for us. My old boat was a parallel spot between 2 boats, I had that down after a few close calls. The new marina I'm at uses floating docks with finger piers. The rub, literally, is the finger piers join the main docks with 45 deg corners that come very close to the edges of the stern. Lots of boats are stern in our marina and lots are bow in. The Stern in have big bumpers on the corners to prevent damage. It would be nice to have the dock access, but our use is day sailing and then heading home. We haven't hung out much in a social way on the boat at the dock because if we are out at the lake, we head out for the day, exhaust ourselves, crash bow in, and head for home before the videos are posted...
 
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Jul 7, 2004
6,176
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
My slip is sheltered and both fingers are long enough to board so direction makes no difference to us. Bow first makes the cockpit more private but our less sturdy guests sure appreciate stern first and they can step right onto the walk thru transom. It's more fun also when we have our annual club "open boat" party and folks can come and go easily.
 
Dec 25, 2000
4,137
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
No problem here backing into our slip. Belle-Vie backs very nicely. No need to do so, so normally enter bow in.
Belle-Vie6.JPG
 
Apr 8, 2011
161
Hunter 36 Intrepid Deale, MD
Much prefer to back in as I have an open transom, and a very short finger pier on only one side. But if the wind is over 15 kts I'll give it a shot, but be prepared to go bow in. If the wind is quartering, I can usually stick it. If its blowing straight across the dock I've got a much lower chance with all my windage. Even the marina staff that return the boat to its slip after launching in spring using a pusher boat and 4 guys won't guarantee a stern in docking if the wind is above 15 knots across the slip. That made me feel better about my skills. As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's got to know his limitations".
 
May 24, 2004
6,041
CC 30 South Florida
It depends on the maneuverability of your boat in reverse, wind and currents and your ability and resourcefulness as a helmsman.
 
Jun 1, 2007
207
O'Day 322 Mt.Sinai
I have a shore power connection in my anchor locker...and one in the cockpit lazzerette...so I can go either way.
:clap:
Greg
Good idea Greg! Mine is in the cockpit just aft of the lazzerette. I've heard folks suggest placing the connection amidships, but never thought about adding a second connection forward. Must have to use a pretty heavy gauge wire to run the AC back from the bow to the panel....
 

DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
1,776
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
No problem... I have a seawall tie up! the only hangup is that its like parallel parking a bus. However I can go in bow first or stern first depending on the wind, and I can back out or go out forward. Crosswind, blowing away from the wall has no effect. Blowing toward the wall, stop the boat dead between the neighbors’ boats and let the wind push the boat to the wall. Only took about fourteen years to figure it out and re - learn the procedure every spring. I still get a little tense when I have to use a normal slip.
 

Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
1,509
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Good idea Greg! Mine is in the cockpit just aft of the lazzerette. I've heard folks suggest placing the connection amidships, but never thought about adding a second connection forward. Must have to use a pretty heavy gauge wire to run the AC back from the bow to the panel....
Actually, since it is AC, I believe you don't need to use a heavy gauge like DC would require.
 
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May 17, 2004
2,176
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Actually, since it is AC, I believe you don't need to use a heavy gauge like DC would require.
Correct, or more precisely because the voltage is high so the amperage is low. Think of it this way - the current needs to get to the panel one way or another, whether it’s carried externally by the shore cord (likely 10 gauge for 30 amps), or internally by dedicated wiring. You will however need a second set of breakers at the second inlet, at a minimum, to both protect the wiring and also to make sure the male prongs one the unused inlet aren’t live.
 
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SG

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Feb 11, 2017
1,604
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Correct, or more precisely because the voltage is high so the amperage is low. Think of it this way - the current needs to get to the panel one way or another, whether it’s carried externally by the shore cord (likely 10 gauge for 30 amps), or internally by dedicated wiring. You will however need a second set of breakers at the second inlet, at a minimum, to both protect the wiring and also to make sure the male prongs one the unused inlet aren’t live.
I think it is proper to have not just another circuit breaker. You should have a TRANSFER Switch. You don't want to have two sources of AC power mixing. You are leaving yourself open if someone hooks both inlets up at the same time.

Beyond the transfer switch, you want to essentially create the same arrangement as a main AC "service entrance". If you have a isolator to protect against electrolysis, you need to mindful of how you wire the system (or have two of them, for example).
 
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