We hope new boaters will check out our Ultimate Guide to Docking, which covers getting your boat safely into its slip from A to Z. But sometimes, it’s easier to learn by watching than it is by reading. So we set out to make a Boating Tips video about docking with a twin engine powerboat. Jump aboard and let’s see how it’s done.


Let’s review the process on how to dock a twin engine powerboat:

  • Look for a flag or a similar indication of wind direction (and/or of the current, if you’re in a high-current area).

  • Center the engines (drives, or rudders), and take your hands off the wheel. Once you’re using the throttles, turning the wheel will only lead to confusion and diminish the effectiveness of opposing the engines.

  • Apply more or less throttle, as necessary, to keep the boat turning and moving in the desired direction.

  • Put both engines in reverse to slow forward motion, if necessary.

  • When you’re going to be backing the boat between pilings or piers, begin your approach perpendicular to the slip before you begin spinning the boat.

Doesn’t that seem a lot easier that most people think? You bet. We do have to point out, however, that the boat used in this video had the engines spaced very far apart. The closer the propellers are to each other, the less the effect opposing the engines has—and generally speaking, the more you’ll need to apply throttle to have the desired effect.

What about the difference between outboards, inboards, and stern drives? As long as the drives are trimmed down the type of drive itself doesn’t make any difference. The size of the propeller, however, does. The larger propellers used by big inboard boats and the twin-prop drives on some stern drive units (and the new Suzuki DF350A outboard engine) both increase the effects of opposing the engines, and actually make docking that much easier.

Whatever you do, take docking seriously and don’t end up committing any of these Five Docking Disasters.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.