The key to teaching any manoeuvere:
Consider P.A.M.E. –
Also consider S.L.O.W.
Syllabus states – ‘Can – Come alongside another craft, pontoon or floating dock’
Why? Setting up a tow, refueling, marina operations
Fundamentals: Always demonstrate first, introduce the manoeuvere later in the day, once your student has had plenty of practice and in particular understands stopping distances and can pick up a MOB. Get your student to practice coming alongside a buoy first. Once they have mastered this, then move them on to coming alongside a pontoon, craft or floating dock. During your demonstration and your briefing you must emphasise the importance of:
• Using Neutral and reverse to control speed (if they have it, otherwise to turn the engine on and off to maintain a slow speed).
• Angle of approach – this will depend on the strength of the elements (wind/tide) but be aware that if the turn is too sharp, the stern of the PW will continue to swing into the pontoon even once the engine is turned off.
• Effect of wind/tide – use these elements to help slow you down.
• Aim to stop the PW within 2-3 foot (reaching distance) from the pontoon rather than directly alongside it, this will minimize the possibility of knocking it and will allow enough space for an escape route.
Departing: (an often forgotten aspect of this session!)
Reverse slowly and at a gentle angle away from the dock/ craft. If you the PWC does not have reverse then a firm push away will suffice.