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Tips for Tying Your Boat to a Dock

by Duncan Seawall

Tying Your Boat to a DockTying your boat to a dock can take some skill and experience for sure. If you've seen experienced boaters complete this task, it probably looks easy, but you can rest assured that everyone's had some trials and failures.

The next time you are tying your boat to a dock, try out some of these tips and hone your skill at securing your vessel.

Related Blog: What is a Spring Line and How do I Use One?

Tying your boat to a dock's cleats:

Use a Cleat Hitch
This is the preferred method because it's easily adjustable, allowing you to account for water levels and weather as needed, even under severe tension.

Allow Enough Line
Short tying may leave your boat looking fine at the time, but as the tide rises and falls, your boat may end up suspended and damage to the dock and vessel could occur. Two or three feet lines may not be long enough, so assess potential adjustments before you head out.

Coil Correctly
Rather than wrapping excess cord around the cleat, neatly coil it behind the cleat. If you've found yourself at a dock that doesn't have cleats, you may need to tie your boat to the pilings. There are several possible options that should work just fine. The difference largely depends on how comfortable you are in terms of tying each knot properly. Below are a few ways to securely tie your lines.

Bow Line
Many sailors call this their preferred method when using pilings. It's fairly easy to learn, and it should leave you with confidence that your boat is secure. Bow lines do well at channel pilings.

Clove Hitch
Although you may speak to some boaters who are hard­-set against the clove hitch method, many will tell you it's been a standby method for them for decades. It's easier to adjust than the bow line, when necessary, and adding a couple half­-hitches increases the security. These work great at dockside pilings.
Clove Hitch

Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
Wrap your line around the piling two times. Produce a knot in your line, then pull it down to the piling to secure it. If you're uncomfortable with the clove hitch method, this might be a better alternative for you.
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

Tying your boat to a dock is difficult if you don't have the platform put into place yet! At Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift, we can help you design the perfect dock to fit your needs. Take a look at our dock gallery to view a wide range of different dock designs and options.

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