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Docking and Mooring Your Boat

Both boat docking (some people refer to tying a boat to a pier as mooring) and mooring are permanent places where your boat is stored in the water. Mooring and Boat Docking require different equipment. When you come alongside a dock, pier or wharf you will use fenders, dock lines and other equipment to protect and secure your boat while docked. A permanent anchor spot is called a boat mooring, with its mooring float, a rode and a permanent anchor at the bottom. Even if your boat is kept on a mooring, you will require docking equipment.


Boat Fenders
Boat Fenders
Dock Lines
Dock Lines
Mooring Whips
Mooring Whips

Docking Equipment Checklist

  1. Fenders - Carry 4-6 depending on your boat length and size
  2. Dock lines - Carry at least 4 that run the length of the boat
Your boat in the water will spend much of it’s time at dock, even when you get out and play often. Fenders and Dock Lines are your primary pieces of equipment that protect your boat when you have gone to your dry home. Mooring whips are an option for both smaller boats and PWC’s while being tied to a floating dock. Accessories such as dock carts, dock steps, boat hooks, fender accessories and wear covers are available through Go2marine.

Mooring Your Boat: Equipment and Information

Mooring consists of three functional parts; the bottom anchor, often a heavy mushroom, Delta, Danforth or screw anchor, although blocks of concrete and steel are also used. The second part is the rode that connects the anchor to the float, typically of all chain, a size above what you would use for anchoring. Finally, you will need some type mooring float at the top to lift the chain and give you a place to tie to.

Mooring Anchors
Mooring Anchors
Mooring Chain
Mooring Chain
Mooring Buoys
Mooring Buoys

Mooring Equipment Checklist:

  1. Anchor- 3 times weight of your service anchor or a mushroom or block
  2. Chain- 3 times length of depth, 1/4" larger than service chain
  3. Mooring Float, sized to float chain.

Mooring and docking both require practice. Just like when flying an airplane, the greatest challenge is taking off and landing; leaving and returning to dock is one of the hardest situations in calm weather boating. Practice and proper equipment will make this a whole lot easier. For docking, purchase a set of fenders that are a size or two larger than what the minimum manufacturer recommended size is for your boat. A 20’ - 30’ boat should have 4 decent fenders; a 30’-40’ boat should have 6 good sized fenders. Remember, you will need enough fenders to put over either side of the boat (both sides when rafting). You will also find that larger fenders will protect your vessel in marina waves and storm conditions. Setting a couple large fenders close together on the front quarter of your boat when coming into dock will act as a “bumper” and protect your vessel.