Boat Ramp Etiquette- For Beginner Boaters
Got your new boat and ready to get it on the water! Here are some quick tips to help you launch your boat with ease! The launch ramp can be one of the most intimidating places for new boaters. To take away the stress of the boat ramp, make sure you are prepared!
To avoid unnecessary delays and blocking the boat ramp when launching and retrieving your boat, complete as much of the preparation, loading, and unloading in the "staging area" as possible. You may want to make a checklist. Others will appreciate your preparation and consideration. Here are some tips to help you. NOTE: Launching conditions vary with each boat ramp and with different water and tide levels. Launching should progress slowly until you are familiar with the ramp and water levels. Common easy steps needed for safe boat launching and retrieval below.
Launching your boat from a trailer:
Prepare your boat well before you approach the boat ramp.
- Check that all required safety equipment and the boat’s registration card are on board.
- Make sure you have your boater safety card and boating license with you. (find online boater safety course for your state here )
- Make sure the trailer coupler is connected securely to the ball hitch and unplug the trailer lights.
- Check the condition of the battery, the motor, and the angle of the drive unit.
- Make sure the boat’s drain plug is firmly in place.
Back your Boat and trailer to the boat ramp.
Having a lookout or someone in the boat is helpful at this point.
- Check the drive unit prior to backing down the ramp.
- Run the exhaust blower, if the vessel is so equipped, for at least four minutes.
- Back the trailer down the ramp to the water's edge. Backing up a boat trailer can be intimidating for beginners. Practice backing up your boat before you head to the water. This video has helpful tips to practice backing up your boat. Set your self up for success and remove some of the stress!
- Remove all engine and transom tie-down straps.
- Back the trailer into the water until the vessel is in sufficient water depth to lower the drive unit.
- Bungee launch rope makes this much easier.
Lower the drive unit and start the engine. Once it is running steadily, back the boat slowly off the trailer.
Move the boat out of the way. Secure it to a courtesy dock while you pick up your passengers. Brush up on pulling your boat to the dock.
- Make sure your passengers have everything they need for the day, when they meet you at the dock. It is helpful for everyone to know how they can help untie your boat . Bungee dock ties are easy to slip off the cleats, you may consider using a looped end bungee dock tie
Remember, everyone behind you on the boat ramp is eager to get on the water too!
- Quickly move the towing vehicle off the ramp.
- Use at least two experienced people to launch and retrieve the boat. Launching your boat is not a 1 person job for beginner!
Be safe and enjoy your day on the water!
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