Georgia Boater Education Course


CHAPTER 6: On The Waterways



After wrapping up the topic of navigation, we moved onto docking, one of the most challenging skills for a boater to learn. Whether the wind is in your face or at your back makes a huge difference to how you approach the dock.

  • If the wind is in your face, you need to approach the dock at a steep angle and then swing the boat quickly in the dock. You’ll secure the bow first and then reverse until the stern swings in.
  • Now, if the wind is at your back, you need to approach the dock at a shallow angle, then stop and allow the wind to drive the boat into the dock.


While not required by federal law, we learned that having an anchor onboard is highly recommended, both for day-to-day use and for emergencies. If you lose power in a strong current or rough water, an anchor can be a lifesaver.

One thing to remember is that you never want to tie your anchor line, which is called the rode, to the stern, as the additional weight could swamp your boat. Instead, always tie your anchor line to a bow cleat.

Remember that as a general rule of thumb, your anchor line, or rode, should be 7 to 10 times the depth of the water in which you are anchoring. And you need more rode in bad or rough weather!


Our final topic was navigating locks. When navigating locks, remember that it is the lock master that is in charge. He or she will signal you when it is your turn to enter the lock. Until then, be patient, there may be other boats that have priority, such as military or commercial craft. Also, remember that you must always wear your life jacket in the lock.