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Need tips for backing into slip

For the 6 years I have had my boat I have never backed into my slip. My slip has two fingers and the shore power is on the port finger the same with the boat and we fish off the back also.

I have reserved a guest slip in San Francisco (70 miles away) for Fleet Week. Not easy to get so you take what they give you. What they gave me is a double slip. Two boats with one finger each. For ease of connecting and dis-connecting the shore power and getting on and off the boat I want to back into the slip. I will have the finger on the port side and another boat on the starboard side.

I would like to get some tips on backing into the slip. I will practice these tips at my slip to get used to backing in before trying it with someone else's boat next to me.

I know many of you are experts at this so please help me out. I promise to post lots of pic's.


Len

You have to love the water....

Len & Robyn   342 FV  Freebird

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    aero3113aero3113 Member Posts: 8,930 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Slow and steady works for me with very short bursts of forward and reverse when needed. When you practice, get a feel for what your wheel will do in reverse. Have a deck hand ready at the stearn with a boat hook and bumper incase you need to be pushed away from anything. It wouldn't hurt to have someone on the bow also with a bumper if you get too close to the boat next to you. Keep calm and all will be good!
    2008 330EC
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Dana Point, California, USAPosts: 0 ✭✭✭
    This applies to a single engine boat. My slip is to the port side of the fairway. I would back in this way. If possible, pick a time of day with light wind and minimal current. Enter fairway slightly to the starboard side. Pull boat up SLOWLY until the swim platform is lined up with the starboard (farthest) "finger" of the slip. coming to a near stop. Put the wheel over hard to port. Engage a short blip of reverse gear, rotating the boat around its axis with the bow going starboard, stern to port. When the stern is almost aligned with the slip, center up the wheel and apply a short blip of reverse. If the boat is a bit askew, don't worry, you have your fenders out, add a bit more reverse until the boat is near the back of the slip, then apply a blip of forward throttle to brake the boat.

    Andy
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Dana Point, California, USAPosts: 0 ✭✭✭
    Of course, since you are sharing a slip, look at the other boat like its the starboard finger of the slip. Hopefully he has his fenders out. Having a crew member with a boat hook handy is good to avoid hull to hull contact. Good luck.

    Andy
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    As you approach your slip about w slips away keep the boat straight and cut to neutral. This will slow you right down. Turn away from slip and jog into gear and out to pivot nose away from slip. When on about a 45 degree angle start backing her in again jogging in and out of gear. Nice a slow. Have someone ont hr swim deck ready go step onto dock with rope. Now depending on wind you will do one of two things.  If wind is working with you then just back her up and have your helper tie off rope on back cleat whole you cut engine and step off to tie front rope. If wind is pushing you away from slip then have thr helper wrap rope on first available cleat and then throttle forward. This will pull bait towards slip. Then you can back up again while helper tightens any slack on thr rope. Helper will proceed to move rope to back cleat while you quickly cut engine and step off to secure front of boat. 

    No matter what do not panic. If you have to nudge the boat beside you, it won't cause damage. Damage is caused when people panic and gun the throttle.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    Robs_232Robs_232 Member Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    Do you have one or two engines? If 2 it makes it easier with a bigger boat. I am used to a single engine on my 232, which is easy to maneuver being a smaller boat. When using my bosses 340 Sea Ray back in June and backing it into the slip for the first time, I used forward or reverse on each engine to steer or change the attitude of the boat, especially if you have waves or wind. Mark's feedback is golden about going slow and having helpers. If I can do it so can you. Once I was out of the slip the first time I practiced backing in open water to see what worked bests for maneuvering backing up. I backed the 340 in each time out without incidence. I was a novice that had the same fears as you.

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    l-skynyrdl-skynyrd Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭

    Thanks Mark and Andy for the replys. You guys did not see at the bottom of my post that I have a 342 FV, which has twin engines. I will have some crew to help and I always go as slow as I can when ever I am docking.

    With twin engines I am thinking I need to determine the pivot point of the boat and where to position the boat in relationship to the slip when I start pivoting the boat to line up with the slip.


    Len

    You have to love the water....

    Len & Robyn   342 FV  Freebird

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    jme097jme097 Member Posts: 1,224 ✭✭✭
    Twins are way easier to back in than a single. Just make sure not to panic and go slow and steady. My first time backing in this year I was very nervous. It gets easier every time I go out and come back in. 
    Boat Name: Knot A Worry
    2007 280 Rinker Express 6.2L B3
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    Dan4754Dan4754 Member Posts: 80 ✭✭
    For my slip I purposely chose one that is perpendicular to the river current.
    Makes backing in much simpler for me.
    I start down river about 3 widths away from the slip and have the prop "pull" me into the slip...not unlike drivng a forklift in reverse. I "bend" the hull around the corner. More often than not I am able to slide in without touching the bumper wheel at the down river entrance to the slip. 
    As others said, slow is the way to go.
    Practice a couple times and you'll find it is pretty easy.
    Oh, our 250 is a single with dual props.
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Twins are WAY easier than a single engine. My buddy next to me just upgraded to twins and he looked like a master in the first attempt. With twins just keep the drive throttles at idle and jog between forward and reverse. Do not use rudder at all, just keep it straight. It's so easy when you do that, even with wind.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    pepmysterpepmyster Member Posts: 308 ✭✭✭
    All the advice your getting is right on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All I've wanted was to just have fun.

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    Dream_InnDream_Inn Member, Moderator Posts: 7,594 mod

    Yes, all advice here is great!  I will add, after you get the hang of movement without using your steering, then note that the use steering can actually help.  For example, just today when I was backing in, my aft port side needed to shift quickly more port so I miss a piling on my stbd side.  I turned the wheel clockwise and gave a quick forward port engine thrust.  Move my aft right in place.  I pulled into the identical slip today you are talking about.  I think you've been around enough you will be just fine.

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

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    l-skynyrdl-skynyrd Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
    Thanks guys for the help. I will be on the boat for a few day next week and will practice. I am not worried.

    You have to love the water....

    Len & Robyn   342 FV  Freebird

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    rasburyrasbury Member Posts: 8,285 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I- try to do it with only one motor, that will make a man out of ya! Just kidding....I'm a 270 and really have been scared to death about slipping as most of my boating is on a river, I trailer the boat and typically I'm just dealing with a dock and not a slip. Couple of weeks ago, we went over to the west coast of Florida and we stayed at a marina for a week- was terrified about getting into the slip and dealing with currents and such. With a single drive, if you have any adverse conditions going on, I can't imagine getting into a slip without bouncing off something. So far, on the double slips you will have a piling out in front and inbetween/middle of the slips. I was using this to kind of pivot against as I was dealing with some pretty bad winds and while my wife tries to help, we do not have enough experience with the boat yet. Managed to make it through the week without losing any gelcoat so I guess that makes it a successful trip! Getting better at it all the time.....I think the real trick is to figure out where that pivot point is and then your good- watching the wind and the current to figure out which way to approach the slip I think also key. I have a bravo III which is much better than the single prop as I am doing better with big boat than I did with my bow rider. Having the two motors, well, you should be able to get that under control pretty quickly. Just don't head at anything any faster than you want to hit it and you should be good!
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    buggyjdavbuggyjdav Member Posts: 134 ✭✭
    I was new to a twin screw this year, 2004 342. Good tip is when facing forward at the controls turn your shoulders the direction you want to turn, turn your left shoulder back and pull the port throttle back will turn the boat left (bow pulls to port stern goes to starboard). For a tighter turn use one engine forward and the other in reverse. Hardest thing for me was getting used to not touching the steering wheel when docking, no steering inputs at all, just use your engines.Best advice is super slow and don't panic or give any more than very minimal throttle .Another excellent tip is to keep docking lines on board and tie them to the port bow and stern cleats, either have someone on the dock walk you in or a mate to jump off and use the lines to walk you in, can't go wrong. My knees were knocking the first few times but now it's no big thing. 
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    Dream_InnDream_Inn Member, Moderator Posts: 7,594 mod

    Oh one big thing I forgot and makes a huge difference.  when backing, completely turn aft at the helm and operate controls with left hand.  Controls will work in direction you are facing.  If you need to turn wheel, top of wheel goes in direction aft will go in reverse (bow moves opposite).

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

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    HamdogHamdog Member Posts: 247 ✭✭

    Approach the slip perpendicular and place one engine in forward and one in reverse to turn the boat. I always do this until the boat is turned about half way. Then put both engines in neutral and turn around facing backwards and re-access your turn. Then you can pretty much just bump one engine at a time either forward or reverse depending on what you need to do. Imagine a dot directly in the middle of the slip and an arrow pointing straight back from the middle of the boat. If that arrow is pointing toward the slip dot then back her up. Doesn't matter if the boat is turned too much either way because you will correct that once you get within a couple feet of the slip. As you turn and that arrow lines up with the middle of the slip, back her up a little then put both engines in neutral and re-access. Correct until lined up again then back her up again. On the 342, placing just one engine in reverse will pull that side inward if that makes sense. So if you are a little too far right then put that side engine in reverse and it will pull you a little left and vice versa for the other side. When you make the initial turn, you want the backend to swing around no more than 5 or 6 feet from the slip opening. The less distance you need to cover once you get lined up the better, especially in wind or current. Remember this.....Neutral, re-access, bump an engine, neutral, re-access, bump an engine and repeat. And when you get her lined up perfect, go with both engines back.

    "Wetted" Bliss 2005 Rinker 342 - Black Hull - Twin Mercruiser 350 Mags - BIII's
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