How to tie up a pontoon boat

Written by alex smith
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How to tie up a pontoon boat
A cleat hitch is used to secure your pontoon boat to a dock. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Pontoon boats are fairly simple, typically consisting of a deck floating on two or more air-filled floats. These boats are popular for fishing and leisurely days on lakes and other protected bodies of water. When it comes time to dock your pontoon boat, you want to ensure that you are doing the job properly to avoid damaging it, and to avoid damaging other boats nearby. It may take a bit of practice, but the effort will be well worth it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bumpers
  • Rope

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  1. 1

    Hang the pontoon boat's bumpers over the side that will be facing the dock.

  2. 2

    Approach the dock at a 45-degree angle, moving forward at the slowest possible speed.

  3. 3

    Turn the engine to neutral when you are within 10 feet of the dock. The boat's momentum will carry you the rest of the way.

  4. 4

    Turn the boat parallel to the dock and coast into place.

  5. 5

    Turn the engine to reverse when you reach the dock just long enough to stop forward momentum.

  6. 6

    Step onto the dock, holding the boat's forward and aft ropes at all times.

  7. 7

    Extend the forward rope to a cleat on the dock. This rope should extend out 45 degrees in front of the boat.

  8. 8

    Tie the forward rope to the cleat with a cleat hitch. To do this, wrap the rope once around the cleat's base. Then, loop it around the left end of the cleat, then around the right end of the cleat, then around the left end again. Finish by tucking the end of the rope under one of the loops and pulling the rope tight.

  9. 9

    Tie the aft rope to a dock cleat 45 degrees behind the back of the boat. Use another cleat hitch to secure it.

  10. 10

    Tie a midsection rope to a dock cleat positioned near the middle of the boat if the water is especially rough. This will provide extra security.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow some slack in the rope, enough to permit the boat to move up and down freely. Ropes tied too tightly can break under the strain of waves and other motion.

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