How to approach a marina berth with Al McGlashan

Alistair McGlashan shares some expert tips on mooring at a marina berth, covering boat propulsion, lines, knots, weather conditions and correct communication.
Al McGlashan: When it comes to berthing at a marina, the first thing you do is, when you're coming up into the arm, make sure there's no other boats coming out. Give them right of way. That's the first thing you do. Have everything ready. So get your ropes out. Fenders, Steph's onto those. And most importantly, make a plan, and make sure the crew know exactly what they're meant to do, that way, you'll minimize any chance of mistakes. Now, the last thing we want to do is instruction. So, Steph, I'm going to go in reverse, and I'm going to get you to that bollard there. All you have to do is wrap it round, pull tight, Dan will tie her off.

So the important thing to remember with a boat, it's not like a car, it doesn't have any brakes. So pull the boat out of gear, because neutral is your friend. The only way I can stop it is I touch forward and out of gear, slower the better. So see, now the boat's sitting. Now, because the wind is blowing from behind us, it will start pushing me out of the pen, so it's something I've got to be conscious of all the time. You can feel I'm just starting to slowly come out. So if I touch reverse again, I can hold it there.

So that is why it's critical that Steph, or your crew member, has the rope ready to go and ties you off, so you're secure. You should never leave the wheel, because the minute I leave the wheel, there's no control on this boat. Going to make you stretch for that one. That's it, just loop it over. Perfect. Now, I can leave the wheel. Make sure it's in neutral. But Steph now has control of the boat. If something goes wrong, I can talk to Steph, I can move the boat, and she can loosen or tighten that rope.

Now it's time to secure it. So I'm going to put two springers across the back, they're going to cross, and I'm going to do two up the side that are going to cross. Leave your engine running as a safety precaution, so that if something goes wrong, say the rope snaps that Steph's on, or anything like that, she can jump on the wheel and get us back into safety. Just a series of half hitches. This one's going to go forward up to here. Now, remember to leave your ropes slack. Don't pull them too taut. Half hitches like so. Do a heap, but don't leave the rope lying around like that. Just roll it up neatly, so that it's out of everyone else's way. Final part, I'm going to tie two springers across the back.

Once you've got your ropes on, just check, because you might have to do a bit of minor adjusting. Now, in this case, what I'm going to do is put a bow line on as well, because the wind's blowing it out, just for added security. So just one last check, make sure everything's sitting right, the boat's sitting pretty good, everything's secure, then shut that engine down Steph. It's time to go. Don't fall in.