This article is an excerpt from NauticEd’s online Skipper Large Keelboats Course, a comprehensive online sailing course for beginner to intermediate sailors to learn how to sail large sailboats 26 ft (8m) and above. The Skipper Large Keelboats course is part of the Skipper Course Bundle of online courses, also teaching you how to master maneuvering under power and docking!

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Dock Line Release

The moment is near.

Have a dock line untying plan based on the wind and the current direction and then communicate this to the crew. Depending on which is stronger, leave wind-ward or up-current dock lines tied until last.

CHECK TO ENSURE THAT THE DOCK SHORE POWER LINE IS DETACHED FROM THE VESSEL AND PROPERLY STOWED. We call this the yellow dock line and it should not be released last. Not only is this an expensive mistake but one of the most embarrassing.

The best way to release the dock lines is to reset them so that they go from the vessel to a half-turn around the dock cleat and back to the vessel. In this manner, your crew is able to be on the boat and release a dock line by just untying one end from the boat cleat and pulling the line from around the dock cleat. There is no last-moment jumping aboard which, many times, ends in providing entertainment to the diners in the dockside restaurant. This manner also allows you, as the skipper, to use your crew rather than random dock people who tend to release lines too early.

One point of note is to make sure that lines are not allowed to linger in the water and possibly get wrapped around the prop at a very inconvenient time.
And this bears repeating: whenever starting the engine (regardless of whether you are returning to the dock or heading out), make sure all lines are clear of the prop.
Just before releasing lines, ensure you will be clear of traffic as you pull out. This is really important; tangling with traffic in the marina slipway is not a good idea. There is limited space to maneuver and other traffic will have speed and momentum, which works against your desire to keep gelcoat on your boat.

You can learn more in the Skipper Course....

Knowledge and theory for longer distances and overnight sailing in diverse conditions. The Skipper Course is a comprehensive online sailing course for beginner to intermediate sailors wanting to learn how to sail larger sailboats 26ft to 56ft. Or upgrade to the Skipper Course Bundle of online courses to also master maneuvering under power and docking!

Source: Skipper
Topic: Maneuvering and Docking Under Power
Authors: Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.