There are basically two (2) navigational components used to successfully approach and depart a docking area. They are comprised of a navigational marker that is designated by the station name and the port letter from the Greek alphabet (ie. Century City (I) would be Century City’s Iota docking port) which lies in line with the actual docking port it represents at a distance of two (2) kilometers. The docking port itself emits a beacon that can be used for final alignment and distance information when docking (selectable on EFIS as a docking port and not a navigational object, the opposite of the marker). Additionally, there is a virtual marker one (1) kilometer out from the docking port directly in between the two (2) kilometer marker and the docking port itself. This is identified by the distance alone and is not selectable by EFIS. This virtual marker is used for departing traffic only unless notified to report it on approach by the dockmaster.
On approach, the navigational object selected should be the CG of the station (unless only one docking port is available for use). It is recommended that any operations within 10 kilometer of the station be performed with collision avoidance in mind, and voluntary use of running and navigational lighting helps. Outside the 5 kilometer veil, clearance must be attained and at that time the navigational marker for the docking port can be selected if it has not already been. Alignment and thrust inbound is then achieved and clamping to the port can be performed.
On departure, clearance must be received before detaching from the port. Asymmetrical regulation should be deactivated for a smooth transition to the virtual marker using either the 2 kilometer marker or the docking port beacon itself as a reference. At that point, vessels are allowed to turn to their on-course heading (unless otherwise specified). In addition to using normal collision avoidance procedures, it is advised to follow the departure cones so that the outbound course does not backtrack over or too close to the inbound approach path and so the dock and other ports (if applicable and vessels that may be attached to them) are cleared.