How To Board a Boat

If you haven’t attempted to board a boat before, you might discover that the process is trickier than you think. The following steps can help you get onto the boat safely and avoid an unintended spill into the water. 

Helpful Boat Boarding Tips

The process of boarding a boat begins well before you reach the dock.

Check Your Shoes

If you’re walking across sand, gravel or rocks on your way to the boat, you should check your shoes before boarding to prevent tracking these materials onto the deck. The skipper may even ask you to remove your footwear. 

Make Sure the Boat Is Close to the Pier

Before stepping onto the boat, check for minimal space between the pier or dock and the water. Attempting to leap over a gap can be dangerous. If you miscalculate or the current causes the vessel to shift suddenly, you could end up in the water. 

Place Provisions on the Pier

If you plan to bring any items onto the boat, set them on the pier. You’ll want to keep your hands free, so you can use them while boarding. You should also remove any backpacks or fanny packs, as these can affect your balance. 

Ask Permission

Boating etiquette typically requires that passengers request to board the vessel. The skipper or host will then grant permission and indicate the optimal boarding location. In general, it’s best to enter near the middle to minimize rocking. 

Locate the Shrouds or Rails

Shrouds are wires that run alongside the mast to support it. Determine where they are  — some vessels may have railings instead — as you’ll need them to assist you as you climb aboard. 

Getting Onto the Boat Safely

When you’re ready to board, use your dominant hand to grab and hold onto the shroud. Pull yourself onboard, using your other hand to brace you as you climb. Balance yourself by placing your feet on the vessel’s outer edge, then swing one leg at a time over the shroud. Be sure to transfer your weight slowly and maintain three points of contact at all times. 

Stepping Into the Hull

The boat will likely rock a bit as you climb aboard. You can minimize the effect and keep your balance by maintaining a low center of gravity as you move forward into the hull. It may take a few minutes to feel steady if it’s your first time on a boat.

Assist the Crew

If the boat is large enough to have a crew, the members will likely climb onto the dock to retrieve any provisions you left there. Help them get back onto the boat and with loading and storing your items. 

Contact EZ Dock for More Boat Boarding Tips

EZ Dock is your one-stop headquarters for high-quality floating docks that can make securing and boarding your boats easier and safer. Contact us to learn more about our product lines today. We’ll also be happy to provide additional boat boarding advice.