As a boat owner, it is important to know the differences between the places you’ll be docking your boat, both for your boat’s safety and your own. Two of the more common types of docking available in public places or waterfront homes are docks and boat slips. Have questions? Call 757-231-1006 or request a reservation online here.

Docking in a Boat Slip vs. Dock – What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a dock and a boat slip is that a dock is open to the water on three sides, while a boat slip is only open on one. Docks are usually more affordable to rent space at or built at a waterfront house, while boat slips are more expensive and take up more space. However, boat slips tend to be more secure from weather that might damage your boat. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.

Docking Your Boat at a Dock

As stated before, a dock is a singular walkway lined with space for boats to be secured in on one side. While it is significantly easier to navigate and takes up less space than a boat slip, it is also less secure from waves and swells. 

The process of docking your boat at a dock is fairly simple. As you approach the dock, judge the wind and current conditions and slow down appropriately to keep yourself from running into anything. Take your time when steering, and turn parallel to the dock so you can toss your prepared dock lines down and secure your boat. Like anything, you will have to practice before you get the hang of it, and it can be useful to have someone with you to help you line up the boat and keep an eye out so you don’t bump into the dock or other vessels.

Docking Your Boat at a Boat Slip

A boat slip is made up of a long center walkway with shorter walkways branching off to either side. The spaces between these walkways can house one or two boats that will be secured on two sides. Docking at a boat slip is more secure from water conditions, but can be more difficult to master getting in and out of. Learn more about Whitehouse Cove Marina amenities here.

Check the Surrounding Area

Similar to docking at a boat dock, when docking at a slip, be sure to prepare your boat lines for docking and fenders, and slow down and prepare to enter your berth. You should always check the surrounding area for any other boats, and for weather conditions such as wind, currents, and waves before docking. 

It’s important to position yourself appropriately to control the engine and counter the vessel’s forward momentum. Then slowly back your boat back into the space, keeping your balance and having any passengers stay seated, and reversing the momentum with a short forward push at the end. Then, enter the slip and conclude docking. 

Know What You’re Doing

Before diving into the steps of docking your boat anywhere, it is important to have a clear knowledge of what you should be doing. Not only is this to keep your boat from being damaged, but it is also a matter of your and your passengers’ safety. It can be dangerous to get on or off a boat that is secured improperly. This is why it’s critical that you do your research and make sure you have a plan for docking before you even set foot on your vessel.

Dock Your Boat With Whitehouse Cove Marina

Looking for locations to dock your boat more permanently? Consider our Chesapeake Bay marina for a safe, secure, and trustworthy place to dock your boat. Call 757-231-1006 or request a reservation online here.