Teaching Holding Off / Holding Station

Aim: To hold station in a designated space in close proximity to a mark such as a mooring buoy or similar. 



  • Ensure the area is safe & clear of obstructions 
  • Establish the direction of drift (wind / tide effect)


  • Position the bow into the direction of drift at a safe distance from the mark


  • Maintain your position by observing the effects of drift on the boat and where necessary countering them accordingly. 

REMEMBER: Steer before gear to ensure the ability to make defined manoeuvres, Neutral is the favoured gear during this exercise. 


  • If things aren't going to plan, leave the boat in Neutral to allow you to drift away from the mark 

Ideas on how to teach a holding off exercise:

Implement E.D.I.C.T.S. teaching structure



  • What you are going to do
  • Why and When you would want to hold off / hold station
  • How to decide where you're going to hold off


  • Brief your crew and issue tasks i.e. good lookout, aiding the helm with proximity to the mark
  • Carry out a demonstration similar to that detailed further up this page
  • If you do not manage a 'perfect' demo, then admit your errors and carry out another demonstration


  • Get each of your students to carry out the task 


  • Where areas of the activity need to be improvement, give the student/s positive, constructive feedback


  • Allow your students time to have another go / goes in order to ensure they can perform the task. 


  • Confirm understanding with your students and highlight the key teaching points.