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How to Tie Your Boat to Fixed Pilings

Mercury Pro George Gozdz demonstrates how he secures his boat for added peace of mind.

How to Tie Your Boat to Fixed Pilings

Ensuring that your boat is secure at the dock isn’t complicated, but it is something you’ll want to be confident doing. When your boat is not secured properly, it can rock back and forth in the water, causing it to bang into the dock or other boats, which could result in damage.

When tying your boat to fixed pilings, make sure you are aware of the tidal movement, current and boat wakes in your area. You'll want to leave enough slack in your docklines to accommodate these factors, but not so much that the boat can move around too much.

In this video, Mercury Pro Team member Capt. George Gozdz, the host of Unfathomed and a full-time fishing guide, shows the basic steps to follow for securing his boat to fixed pilings. And while there is some tidal movement in this video demonstration, these same steps work equally well in freshwater conditions.

Here are the steps for securing your boat to fixed pilings:

  1. Start by securing your docklines – Secure a line at the bow and another at the stern of the boat. Most docklines have a looped end. Bring that looped end up through the center of a boat cleat, then open the loop and wrap it around the cleat’s horns. It is essential to bring your dockline loop through the center of the cleat from the bottom. This allows you to quickly release the line when it comes time to pull away from the dock. In wind or current, secure your docklines before you approach the dock.

  2. Secure the dockline to the piling – Wrap your line around the piling twice, overlapping the line on the second pass, and secure it with two half hitches. Tie the first one close to the piling. The second hitch should tighten against the first. Gozdz shows this process in the video below.

  3. Tie two spring lines – Secure two spring lines to your boat’s amidship cleat, connecting them to pilings near the bow and stern. Another option is to secure lines off the bow and stern of the boat to a center piling.

And that’s all there is to it. It is a good idea to check your boat a couple times after tying off, just to make sure everything is still tight and the boat is safely secured as the tide changes.

For more great boating and fishing advice from Gozdz, visit or check out the Unfathomed YouTube page. You can also follow Gozdz on Facebook and Instagram.

How to Tie Your Boat to Fixed Pilings
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