Welcome to The Boat Docker

This simulator is designed to train you to dock your twin engine or single I/O power boat before you actually try it in the water! This is not a game, but a simulator. Thanks for all the feedback! We continuously update the simulator to make it an effective tool.

Click here to launch TheBoatDocker.com simulator.

We just finished a (Windows PC) downloadable version that runs independently from the internet. Click on the link below to download a .zip file to your favorite directory, unzip the file, and click on TheBoatDocker.exe.

TheBoatDocker.zip

Happy Boating!

38 thoughts on “Welcome to The Boat Docker”

  1. Hi. I am grateful for the work that you have done with this simulator. I showed it to my friend and mentor (sport seaman for 50 years) and he was amazed. Congrats, very useful!. I would only suggest that keyboard control involves 3 keys for each shifter and have them more separated. i.e “q-a-z” and “o-k-m”

      1. Jake,

        We took a shot at this but we are not sure we got it right. For a single I/O with an engine speed of 600 RPM, the engine in reverse, and the rudder turned hard right/left, the boat will move in the direction of the rudder. Please go to our development site at theboatdocker.com/dev and test it for us.

        Regards,
        TheBoatDocker Group

  2. Hi,
    I never opereted a boat before.
    I took 3 captain courses and honestly I learned with the boat docker simulator at least 75% of all the knowledge that I know so far.
    Great simulator.
    Thank you

      1. Hi,

        Great, Great, Great sim you have produced.

        Can I suggest you add an option for prop walk. So when at a low speed <1kn and you run 1 prop forward the stern moves.

        With twin screw, they should be counter rotating I would suggest.

        Again this is a great resource to practice.

  3. First of all well done and thanks for creating this simulator which as a commercial boatmaster and instructor, I find to be impressively realistic in terms of response. A small suggestion I thought I should forward is that of separating the controls for the bow and stern thruster with more distance as especially on a tablet one often ends hitting both instead of the desired one. One possibile solutiony could be that of having the control for the bow thruster above the wheel (when on the large central presentation) and that for the stern thruster beneath the wheel. Thanks once again and well done on this great simulator

  4. Thanks for your great work ! I enjoyed it very much.
    My impression is as follows,

    1. The effect of rudder when using both throttles in opposite directions (turning at a point or going sideway) lookes unreal.

    2. The pivot point for bow and stern thrusters lookes unreal.

    1. Thanks for your comment Tak and thanks to Thomas for his detailed comment below. We have made some changes and are asking you to test them.

      Happy Boating!

      From Thomas:

      I have played around with the simulator. It does not entirely feel right. If I go forward on port engine and back on starbord engine, the boat turns on the spot as expected.

      Port propeller going forward will create angular momentum clockwise, i.e. forcing the stern to the port and the bow to the starbord, same is the result of going back on the starbord propeller. Now applying left rudder, will (as always) force the stern to the starbord.

      The stern in now forced both to the port and to the starbord. But since the propellers enforce a turning momentum to the entire ship, the bow will still go to the startbord. If enough left rudder is applied, it will overcome the port movement of the stern, and it also will go to the startbord, forcing the ship sideways in the opposite direction of the rudder.

      Since (if) the two propellers are going with the same revolutions per minute in opposite directions, the should not be any forward or backward movement of the ship (apart from momentum from previous maneuvering).

      Going sideways, I can now control the sideways direction accurately. with the rudder since applying more rudder will cause the stern to move faster than the bow (or opposite; less rudder stern slower than bow). I can also control forward and backward movement by altering the power distribution to the propellers.

      For example, Consider a docking maneuver, where I want to go sideways into the dock. I start by positioning the ship a few yards away from the dock, but just off the position I want at the dock. I now must go sideways to approach the dock. If the dock is on my starboard side, I apply – “port ahead slow, starboard astern slow, left full rudder”. The propellers should twist the bow to the starboard, in the direction of the dock, and my rudder should force the stern to the starbord as well, forcing a sideways motion to the ship towards the quay.

      I use the application of the rudder to adjust the orientation of the ship to be parallel to the dock, and one of the engine to control the ships position in relation to my desired mooring position. If, for example, the ship is moving to far forward to the mooring position, i can decrease the power on the port engine (which is going forward), or I can increase the power to the starbord engine (which is moving astern). In any case, there is now more propeller power in the astern direction, causing the ship to go backwards in relation to my mooring position. The same applies (in opposite order) if I want the ship to go forward… Now, changing the power relation between the propellers also alters the turning momentum created by the propellers, and so the twist changes, forcing me to adjust with the rudder.

      I cannot replicate this situation in the simulator :-/

      I hope it all makes sense…
      Best regards

      1. Due to your recent corrections,
        (1.)The effect of rudder when using both throttles in opposite directions (turning at a point or going sideway) became realistic.

        However, as for (2.) The pivot points for bow and stern thrusters , they are still not right. The pivot point for the bow thruster should be at very stern side and that for the stern one should be at very bow side. Now they are at same point which is midship. This is not right.

      2. I have learnt something from this discussion and tested it on the simulator – and can’t wait to try on the boat next season.

  5. Hi
    I think it will be great to use the keyboard to move the twin motor boat, instead of the mouse. maybe with page up and down, insert and delete or home and end. Also believe it or not, I learned something like 75-80% how to dock my boat with your simulator.
    Keep up the good work
    Pierre

    1. Hey,

      Thanks for the nice note. The keys already work. Go to theboatdocker.com/training and click on hotkeys to learn how to use the keys.

      TheBoatDocker Team

  6. Looks like a great app but I can’t get it to work. The app displays properly but clicking on the screen has no effect. The keyboard shortcuts move the throttles and rudder but the boat does not move. Any help is appreciated. I look forward to using the simulator. Thank you.

    1. I am having similar problem on both my iPads. When I press on Run the screen flashes it switches to Stop and then screen flashes again and it goes back to Run. One iPad has iOS 9.3 and the other is 9.2.1.

      If I have the throttles at max the boat will move a bit while it is in Run but then it will stop when it switches back to Stop by itself.

        1. Salty Dave,

          We think we fixed the problem. Refresh your browser and let us know if it works properly.

          TheBoatDocker Team

  7. Great simulator. When running sensitivities with varying wind and current it appears that the vessel used in the model is one of low gross displacement. Is it possible to include a function that allow various tonnage of vessels to be entered and thus different and more accurate reactions to differing wind and current. It would even be helpful just to have three ranges – low displacement (5 to 15 tons); medium displacement (16 to 40 tons); and, high displacement (41 to 60 tons). This will allow to model boats up to about 70 feet in length to be more accurately simulated.

  8. For me, returning to powerboats after 20 years and going to a twin engine rather than single this is fantastic. I like the way the boat skids a little just when you don’t need it, just like a real one. I’ve got a lot of refreshing to do rather than an expensive mistake.

    Thanks

    1. We’re glad you are enjoying the simulator. We plan to release a new version in the next 30 days with improved spring lines.

  9. I have found that the simulator works well on most platforms with the exception of a ChromeBook. What device are you using?

  10. I am trying to crab the boat sideways without going forward or backwards. Should be able to do this using the rudder as shown below, but have not been able to do this.

    Crab a catamaran sideways to a dock
    Some time you may need to dock the cat alongside at some point to take on water, fuel and groceries. Get the fenders and docking lines rigged early and make sure your crew understands their jobs. Try to approach the dock from the leeward side and with your bow as close to the wind direction as possible. You can make the cat crab sideways with the engines and rudders; put the outside engine in slow forward and the inside engine in slow reverse and turn the rudders slightly away from the dock. The boat will move sideways and you can adjust the forward motion and angle of the motion by adjusting thrust on the engines and the rudder angles.

  11. I love your simulator. I have enjoyed training on it, however, as you well know the newer boats have the throttles and the shifters in the same handle, so I was wondering if you are considering incorporating that into your simulator.
    Again, you have done a marvelous job.
    Thank you.

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