Dock a Boat Like a Pro – “Dipping the Eye”

Here’s another great tip from our friend Capt. John of

Dock a boat at a marina and you may find that you need to share the same docking piling with another vessel. Here’s one fast, easy technique that will allow you to leave the dock without disturbing your neighbors docking line–and make you look like a pro too!

Dip the eye of your docking line beneath and through that of the neighboring boat. That way, you or they can remove any line without disruption when it’s time to leave, shift berths, or double up lines in a blow.

Which End Do You Pass Ashore?

You may have read arguments about skippers that use docking lines with an eye spliced or tied into one end. If you need to dock a boat where just pilings are available, you too will face this decision. Which side of the line should you take ashore–the bitter end or the eye?

Always pass the eye ashore to the piling. Why? This puts you in control so that you can adjust the docking line from your boat for tidal rise and fall, or position relocation.

Why Dip the Eye?

Now to one of the niftiest techniques in all of boating. Imagine that you tie up between two boats, and you need to share the same piling with your neighbor who has already tied up. How can you do this without disturbing their docking line? You want to tie up in such a way that will:

- Enable your neighbor to slip his/her docking line to leave without disturbing your docking line.
- Allow you to slip your docking line to leave without disturbing their docking line.

Use a fast, easy technique called “dipping the eye” to accomplish both of these objectives. Follow these simple steps along with the illustration.

1. Tie off one end of your docking line to your boat. Lead the end with the eye ashore with a bit of slack in the line. Grab the eye of your neighbor’s docking line and pull it open just a bit. (see illustration).

2. Thread the eye of your docking line up through the bottom of your neighbor’s docking line as shown.

3. Loop your docking line over the top of the piling and then slide it down so that it lies above and parallel to your neighbors line. Remove the slack and you’re done!

When you or your neighbor gets ready to leave, cast off the eye. Note in the illustration how each boat leaves. If the boat with the yellow docking line leaves first, the skipper will pull the line through the eye of the other. If the other boat leaves first, they will raise the eye over the top of the piling and cast off. Double check after you cast off that your neighbor’s line remains in place and undisturbed.
Dock a boat like a pro when you use little-known sailing tips like these. Pass this technique along to your sailing crew or partner for smoother, easier docking–wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

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