3 Simple Methods For Single Shaft Drive Boats Explained

Our boating instructor Jon Mendez demonstrates how to use propeller walking to help moor a boat with a single shaft-drive motor…

The launch in this video has a right-handed attachment, which pushes the stern to port when reversing, so all things being equal, docking on the port side will be easier.

This is because when you use the stern to slow the boat as it approaches the berth, it will naturally pull the stern towards the dock.

The speed and angle of your approach will depend on what the wind and tide are doing. If you’re mooring in the elements, you’ll need to use a moderate angle and a bit more speed before using reverse to stop the forward motion and sink the stern.

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If you are mooring with the elements you will need to use a slightly steeper angle of approach but slower speed then slightly more aft to stop and slide the stern to port on the propeller step.

The same theory applies to a boat with a left-handed propeller, except your preferred mooring will now be on the starboard side.

It is perfectly possible to dock a propeller boat right handed to starboard or vice versa if the wind and tide are strong enough to make this an easier option, you just need to go as slow as possible and use an angle much lower approach angle So when you back up to slow the boat down, it doesn’t take the stern too far from the dock.

You should aim to end up with the boat nearly alongside but needing a touch of lead with full port rudder to get it to pass parallel (slightly propelled), then use a final stern click that pulls the stern to outward, bow inward and stop. you – all of a sudden.

After using the prop step to get your single shaft drive boat into a berth, you now need to figure out how to exit the berth while getting over it. Going astern will be tricky as the propeller will want to push the stern towards the dock, so the bow is usually easier.

Forward, the prop will still want to turn the bow towards the dock but not as quickly. The key is to get the bow as far away from the pontoon as possible and generate forward motion to gain direction before the prop step has a chance to push the bow back.

There are several ways to achieve this. I’m not a big fan of pushing the bow by hand, but there are occasions on a small boat where it’s the easiest option.

I call this the ‘manual bow thruster’ and it’s best done from the boat rather than the dock, so use a foot or gaff to get away from the pontoon regularly.

Another option is to use a trick I’ve seen on Inland Waterways, which is to lift the rear fender and pull the rear line. This helps force the bow and allows you to power away while keeping an eye on the stern.

The last method is to use a severe spring. Make sure the stern is well protected, then bring the stern line forward and loop it around a dock cleat, then back to the stern cleat.

Now engage aft against this spring and force the bow outward. When you’re happy with the angle, shift into neutral, slide the spring line and motor out, being careful of the stern and not turning too soon.

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Earnest A. Martinez