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Feb 25, 2006
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Frog Mortar Creek
I have a 2520XL with a single engine. I keep it at a marina with floating docks. I know the Parker is sturdy enough to take slamming into the dock, but I am worried about damaging my neighbors boat.

There must be a trick or a docking aid that will make docking easy, but I can't think of what it may be. Right now, I am thinking of pulling up to the end of the dock an having a deck hand (wife) get off the boat, then grab the boat by the bow rail and pull it in.

Is this a dumb idea? Are there better ideas?
Not knowing your situation (the layout of your dock). the only advice I can give is to go s l o w ... Go slow enough so that if you strike anything, you will do no damage.

After that, practice, practice, practice... Boat handling skills are something you need to learn by practice.
Start with a day that has little or no wind, then pull out of the slip... toodle around for a bit... then put her back in.
Then repeat... until you feel comfortable. It should only take a day or two before it becomes automatic.

Do that 20 times, being careful and going slow... and you'll master it in no time.

Don't stress... go slow... and you can do it. :wink:

Give us more info on the layout of your dock and we will try to give you some better advice. Are you backing into a slip, or pulling in to a long finger with other boats.. Any current to work with?

-- Tom
I didnt know that about tilting the motor up when you have a bracket. I'll have to give it a try.

I've had some major docking issues lately. The wind and current always rip through my slip area. Every time I start to turn her, the wind hits that pilot house and blows her down past my slip before I can get the the stern close to my pilings. I havent had a chance to get a good practice session in yet.
Thanks for the suggestions.

I pull into the slip bow first. The dock is on the starboard and a another boat is on the port with no pilings in between.

My worst problem was when the wind was on the port and my boat was halfway in the slip. A gust of wind from the port hit the aft of the boat and turned the stern to the right and my boat pivoted on the corner of the dock, turning the bow into the boat at my port. No damage was done to either boat, but the sound of hitting another boat is, well, not good.
I second what Megabyte said about going slow and don't panic and throttle up if it starts going wrong. If you're moving slowly it's not that hard to push off the other boat. I back in to my slip, but pull up to the gas dock in a similar situation to yours. I come in with my bow angled toward the gas dock and at the last, cut my motor towards the dock and hit reverse. I've got the same boat as you and when the wind is really honking it's not always easy. Large fenders and some dock protection should help, too. You'll improve with practice, and like all of us do better without an audience. If there's another slip in your marina without a boat on the other side, go down when nobody's around and practice.
I'm still finding my grove as well with my 2520SL.

You may want to pick up the book below:
Boat Docking
Close quarters Maneuvering for small craft.
by Charles T. Low
ISBN 0-9682327-0-1

It points out using the elements of wind, current, boat characteristics and line handling. But, practice is most important as pointed out.

"Docking is a controlled crash."
"Any docking you can walk away from is a good docking!"
Docking must be tough if there is a whole book on it! I feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one that finds it difficult.

I'll report back when I've mastered the techniques. Thanks, guys.
I posted similar to you a while back. I have a 97 i/o. I should have known when the previous owner took me out for a test ride and then could hardly dock the boat. This after owning it for four years. All the weight is in back with nothing in the front and not much hull in the water. Turn the boat at any speed and you wind up three slips down from the side slip and then the breeze blows you like a piece of wadded up newspaper. Then I have morse controls so I need three hands between the wheel throttle and shift. All I can say is take it in and out of gear so everything is super slow. Unless of course its really windy in which case you have to keep p more speed and send it right in or else be blown around. Start turning and aim for the slip before yours and you should be lined up with yours by the time your side slip stops. Backing in is not much better if the wind starts pushing the bow around you'll be going in at an angle.
A dockwheel on the corner of your finger will allow you to pivot on the corner of the finger without gouging your hull.
I went out on Monday in a stiff wind. My slip is between another Parker 2520xl, and a 26 foot cruiser Sea-Ray. Both have bow pulpits. 5 approaches were aborted before I finally made it in. It wasn't pretty. I think it is prudent to pick my days better, as it was not fun. Made me miss my Whaler!

Joel sorry for the 6x8 inch hole on your starboard side. I duct-taped it for you. :D

Actually, come to think of it, I am going to mount my camcorder on the roof in the next few weeks and video what I do. I'll post it. Hopefully it might help people to follow my example, or do the opposite! Either way it should make for a good discussion thread. :shock:
That's a great idea!
Maybe I could borrow a video camera and do the same. :)
I appreciate the humor. It makes me feel better about my own docking skills. Reminder to myself: get duct tape. Two rolls.
I have been docking my boat for 5 seasons now and I too dread docking my Parker, 2510 dv twins on a bracket ( medium rare, extra pepper :D ) I back into my slip. Floating 6' wide dock to my starboard, 34 Searay to my port, 8' between. The docks in a north/south position, entry is from west to east.. Even a little west or southwest wind sends my bow toward the Ray. Even when you crank the wheel over in reverse the front end does not follow, it simply "crab-walks" backward. I've had a number of buddies try to show me "what they would do" and all have failled. The best I can come up with is to complete my turn very early, a couple reverse to forward shift to swing the bow facing like I was leaving the dock and back down waiting for the front end to "float over". Hate it! I watched my neighbor dock his Century cc and the boat maneuvered like a fork truck would. The front swung over just as one would expect.


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inTherapy":31xhznx0 said:
I have been docking my boat for 5 seasons now and I too dread docking my Parker, 2510 dv twins on a bracket ( medium rare, extra pepper :D ) I back into my slip...

Twins? Why do you dread docking. Twins offer the best maneuverability for docking. I'm often placing one in reverse and the other in forward to do neutral steers (turning inside my own length, plus some slop on each end).
Twins? Why do you dread docking. Twins offer the best maneuverability for docking. I'm often placing one in reverse and the other in forward to do neutral steers (turning inside my own length, plus some slop on each end).[/quote]

Consider yourself very lucky then. The forward reverse trick, steering without moving the steering wheel, does not work on this boat. I was accustomed to a twin engine inboard Luhrs that was a dream to maneuver. Therapy does not move like a twin engine boat, except in forward reaching 52 mph @ 5700rpm :D I think the egines are mounted too closely together to neutral steer.
Oh, the joys of docking in a wind. I've got a 2120 and you'd think it would be a piece of cake, but that pilot house really causes grief in the slightest wind. Go too slow (forward or reverse), and it crab walks like crazy.

I dock in Barnegat Bay and the wind typically picks up from the south most afternoons. That's why the windsurfers always congregate in the later part of the day. I'm on the southern dock so I have no cover and approach west-to-east parallel to the pier and have to turn 90 degrees to back into my slip. I have a finger pier on the port side and a piling on each side at the bow, so I have to dock between them.

What works for me most times is to approach my slip from about 1-1/2 boat lengths out from the pilings with enough speed to not crabwalk, and start cutting a hard right turn about 2 slips away. At about 45 degrees into my turn, I put the engine into neutral. Momentum keeps the boat turning, and sideslip keeps me moving in line with the docks. I then use reverse with the engine still turned right to stop the turning and forward progress, throttle up a bit and adjust the turn of the engine (left, right or straight) to align between the pilings and keep the boat moving straight back. The more aligned I am with the opening ahead of time, the less physical muscle I need to use to get the boat into the slip. On a good day when everything goes right, my wife just has to grab the lines and put them on the cleats.

But practice in different conditions is the key. Conditions change and you need to have a feel for when you need more or less speed, begin your turns sooner or later. When the wind picks up where I'm at, it's essential I get the stern between the pilings as quickly as possible, because the wind can turn be broadside to the pilings very quickly. Early in the season, that's not much of a problem since the adjacent slips are empty. Put a couple boats with pulpits along side in those conditions, and it could make for a tough afternoon.

John S.
John S.,

There is a 2120 pilothouse with a Yamaha F150 in my marina, in my aisle, in Chadwick Island Marina. Yours?
That's not me. I'm down SSP at the 'new' state marina. It used to be Wheelhouse Marina until they sold out. The properties there are right on the border to Island Beach State Park. Lot's of shallows, so I have to maneuver through the right spots to make my way to the main channel. From there I usually head south fishing the bay at BB, BI and Oyster Creek. On good days when I have the time, I'll run the inlet out to the Barnegat Reef. Haven't been there yet this year, but lots of dog fish are being reported so I might not be missing too much.

I was down there on vacation last week, and the wind pretty much kept me at the dock until Thursday. Then I put my first tank of E-10 in and I'm kind of playing it safe for now. Tried to switch out the filter as a precaution, but it was seized on the mount so I'm waiting until I get down there again with better tools to work on it. Just in case, I bought a replacement bracket. If I start having fuel problems or I work up too much of a sweat wasting too much time trying to get the old filter off, I'll just slap a whole new assembly on in a lot less time.

I thought I saw posts where you were selling your craft. Too bad. Hopefully you'll still get to use for a while until a new owner takes it over.