BOATsmart! Canada
Knowledge Base

Module 04 - Safe Boat Operation

Leaving the Dock

When you’re headed out for a day on the water, it’s important to know how to depart or ‘cast off’ from the dock correctly and safely. 

Knowing the correct procedure for casting off will ensure a good start to your boating trip, and will also ensure that you don’t damage your boat in the process. Here’s how it’s done.

When casting off from the dock, perform the following: 

Ensure that all passengers (guests) are seated, and that everyone has their hands and feet inside the boat.
For boats equipped with enclosed engine compartments, operate your boat’s ventilation system (blower) for at least four minutes before starting the engine.
Start your boat’s engine, check your surroundings for any obstacles or other boats, and untie all mooring lines. PWC operators should ensure that the engine’s kill switch (safety lanyard) is securely attached to their wrist or life jacket at all times.
Push your boat away from the dock as much as possible from both the bow and stern, having your passengers (guests) help you if necessary.
Apply throttle slightly and proceed slowly from the dock until it is safe to increase your speed. Sudden acceleration may cause passengers (guests) to lose their balance. Ensure all passengers (guests) are informed before any rapid acceleration occurs.

Use extra caution if the wind is pushing your boat towards the shore, as it may be more difficult to pull away without colliding with the dock. To avoid this, you can use your boats reverse thrust to angle the stern of your boat away from the dock.


Get your Official Canadian
Boating License

The Official Transport Canada Boating Course, Test & License.

Get your Official Canadian
Boating License

The Official Transport Canada Boating
Course, Test & License.

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