Boat Launch Ramp Etiquette
To avoid delays and obstructing the boat ramp when launching and retrieving your boat, complete as much of the preparation, loading, and unloading in the "staging area" as possible. Other boaties will appreciate your consideration. Here are some Mariner tips to help you.
NOTE: Launching situations may depend on each boat ramp and with different tide and water levels. Launching must progress slowly until you are familiar with the water and ramp levels. You should adapt the following steps for your safe launch and retrieval.
- Never use the actual ramp to prepare and load your boat.
- Ensure that all required safety equipment is on board.
- Make sure the trailer coupler is linked securely to the ball hitch and unplug the trailer lights.
- Make sure the vessel's bung plug is firmly in place.
- Move the vessel to the boat ramp.
- Be sure that the drive unit is clear prior to backing down the ramp.
- Back the trailer down the ramp to the water's edge. Unfasten all engine and transom tie-down straps.
- Back the trailer into the water until the point when the vessel is in appropriate water depth to lower the drive unit.
- Unhook the winch line but be sure you have a line to the bow or side cleats to control the boat.
- Back the trailer until approximately two-thirds of the rollers or bunks are submerged into the water.
- Slowly move the vessel onto the trailer far enough to attach the winch line to the bow eye of the vessel.
- You may finish pulling it onto the trailer by cranking the winch.
- To secure the bow eye to the trailer, you may consider adding an additional bow safety chain.
- Switch off the vessel's engine and raise the drive unit.
- Tow the vessel off the ramp and out of the way of others.
- In the staging area, secure the vessel to the trailer with the tie-down straps.
- Prepare your boat away from the ramp.
- Don't jump the line of those others waiting to launch or load.
- Clear the ramp area as quickly and safely as possible. Never use the launch ramp lanes to secure your boat for the ride home.
- Be considerate of other boaties.
- Don't take forever at the wash-down rack. Remember that other boaties want to wash their boats, too.
Propeller wash can wear away the sediment just beyond the ramp surface that may create a large hole. The eroded sediment piles up behind the propeller, making a mound. Trailer tires can stall out in these holes, and boats can run aground on the mound.
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