Did you know?, The Salty Sailors, Tips & Tricks

Mooring in a marina

With Cowes Week fast approaching, we thought we would share a few tips on Mooring in a marina… as we know how busy it can get after racing!

Coming into a marina berth requires extra care because there are moored boats and vessels moving around in close quarters.


Firstly, you will always need to assess the effects of wind and tidal stream on the berth you are heading for. You can always go take a look at the berth – before deciding on exactly how you are going to approach it.

It’s best to plan an approach that allows minimum speed into the berth. If necessary plan to go past a berth, turn and approach it from a more favourable direction to make the approach easier.

Once you have decided on your approach brief your crew on what you want them to do and ensure that lines and fenders are ready and that the crew will not leap on to the pontoon – always step ashore!

Wind and tidal stream

With limited wind or tide in the marina you will aim to come in as slowly as possible. When these factors come into play, you may need to be prepared to use lines or to come into the berth slightly faster to overcome the effects of wind and tide on the boat. You can decide all of this in your initial fly by of the berth.

What about different marina berthing situations?

Approaching into the wind will naturally slow the boat but be careful not to lose control of the bow. The momentum of the boat will help it slide sideways alongside the berth.

The turning momentum will tend to slide the boat away from the berth. Consider going beyond the berth, turning and approaching from other direction.

As the stern seeks the wind in astern, this boat reverses easily into the berth.

The wind will push the craft into the berth, so care is needed not to overshoot. Put a stern line on early.

Reversing in stern first with the bow into the wind may be very tricky as the wind will try and push the bow so the vessel is lying beam on to the wind.

Good luck!  If you want to practice your berthing and manoeuvring skills, check out our courses here.

2 thoughts on “Mooring in a marina”

  1. Good tips. Especially mooring/leaving in the Medina on a Spring flood/ebb tide. We try to do berthing at flat water if the tides really strong. If in doubt moor up on the hammer head and wait for flat. Avoids damage from trying to moor in a marina in close proximity to other boats.
    A really good booklet on the subject with bags of illustrations is ‘Manoeuvering at close quarters under power’ by Bill Johnson.

    1. Hi Henry, thanks for the book recommendation – we’ll check it out.
      If you wanted to learn how to use the tides to aid your parking, using the tide to ferry glide into tight spaces etc, just give us a call to book onto a manoeuvring masterclass.

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