Docking & Boat Handling


Getting that big boat into a little slip can be a daunting challenge, even for experienced sailors. But it’s an important skill, like learning to take-off and to land an airplane if you’re a pilot. To dock competently and without injury or property damage requires an understanding of the forces that act on a boat, how you can control them, and lots of practice.  Though docking and mooring is taught and practiced in all ASA’s on-the-water courses, the vast majority of students feel that they can benefit from additional, focused practice in this crucial area of their sailing skills.  Even students who can competently dock a particular sailboat in their local waters appreciate the chance to learn skills that will come in handy in different locations and circumstances, such as those that would be experienced when strong currents and tricky crosswinds are present, or when Mediterranean mooring or tight, close-quarters maneuvering is required.

The textbook for this class is ‘Maneuver and Dock your Sailboat Under Power’ written by Grant Headifen



Upon successfully completing this course, the student will experience a significant increase in enjoyment in all of their sailing ventures because they will no longer fear docking at the end of the day. Spouses particularly enjoy mastering these skills because it helps them to become more proficient and confident as crew members.

What you will learn.
  • Introduction
  • Course Objectives & Certification Standards
  • Outboard Review
    • Basics
      • Fueling / Types of Outboards
    • Operation
    • Preparation
    • The 4 oh-no's
  • Crew Control & Training
    • Help Them Help You
  • Leaving the Dock 
    • Situational Awareness
      • Wind & Current
    • Proper Boathandling
  • Boat Control
    • Close Quarters Maneuvering
  • Docking Scenarios
    • Side Berth
    • Finger Berth
    • Stern To
  • Docking Practice
    • Planning & Execution
    • Emergency Procedures
  • Leaving the Dock
    • Use of Spring Lines
    • Make the Boat Yaw
  • Proper Tie Up Review
    • Bow & Stern Dock Lines
    • Bow & Stern Springlines
    • Various Attachment Points
  • Knot Review
  • Graduation

We break ASA 118 Docking into two sections 118a-Outboard Engine (1 day $300) and 118b-Inboard Engine (1 day $500). Both classes are required for ASA 118 certification. 


ASA 118a (outboard motor)  is offered Saturdays 2-5
Cost is $225 members, $300 non-members
Prerequisites are: ASA 101, 103, 118a, Five Bareboat Charters

ASA 118b (inboard diesel)  is offered Sunday 2-5
Cost is $375 members, $500 non-members

 Prerequisites are: ASA 101, 103, 104, 118a, SF Bay HWE,  Eight Bareboat Charters