Local knowledge is a fantastic advantage. I usually try to have a chat with fisherman or other cruisers when I am entering or have just entered a new anchorage or port.
Recently we managed to tie up at a town quay that everyone was departing because the winds were building and boats were being pushed onto the dock and against some nasty rusty fittings and chain.
A chat with locals soon revealed that there were still old, but serviceable lazy lines on the dock, although you had to go digging for the lead lines under the chain.
This allowed us to hold the boat off the dock and still step off into town for dinner.