What is it about a boat ramp that makes us feel pressured to perform? Boat launches are public places where all eyes are on you as you back down the narrow concrete ramp, after all. There are other people waiting to launch their boats. There are also kids and other adults with nothing better to do than hope you fail. These and other factors can cause even the most experienced person make a mistake. To help you avoid accidents, Signal Connect shares these eight boat launching tips. These will help prepare you before the next time you back your vessel down the local boat ramp.
Just so you know, boat launch accidents are a real thing, and they happen all the time. Just check out this short collection of boat launch fails:
Avoid Boat Launch Bloopers
Whether it ends up a viral video or not, you don’t want to have a boat launch accident. In most cases, it ends with someone’s vehicle completely submerged. The tow bill on that one is going to be high because they have to pull your vehicle out of the water, then tow you home. And let’s not forget the costly repair bills that come with fixing a vehicle that was once a submarine! The good news is that these types of accidents can be avoided. All you need are some helpful boat launching tips. We reached out to boat owners and asked them about the proper way to launch a vessel.
The following eight tips are what they gave us to pass on to boat owners like you:
1. Wear Clothes That Can Get Wet
This step often gets overlooked because most people never imagine having an emergency situation at the boat launch. These things happen though, so it’s best to be prepared. In addition to wearing clothes that can get wet, remember to wear shoes that offer good traction even under water. There have been many slips, trips, and falls at boat launches. You’ve probably seen a few yourself. That’s why it’s better to be prepared.
2. Protect Important Belongings
Like we said in point No. 1, you never know when you might have to jump out of your vehicle and into the water. If you do, you probably won’t have time to empty your pockets first. That’s why we recommend you protect items such as your cellphone, keys, key fobs, etc. Put them in a waterproof container, or even a sealed plastic baggie. These options offer the protection that your pockets can’t.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Backing a boat and trailer down a boat ramp is a serious task. That’s why it’s you shouldn’t have your stereo blasting, or be using your cell phone while launching your boat. You need to focus your attention on the task at end, so put the phone in a waterproof container, turn off the music, and roll down the windows in your vehicle. With your windows down, it’s easier to hear directions being called out by your friend. It’s also easier for you to see and hear everything going on in and around the boat ramp.
4. Boat Launch Etiquette
This rule is a very important one because if you break it, you won’t win friends and influence people at the boat launch. Then, if something does go wrong, no one will be eager to help you get out of a jam. One of the worst violations of boat launch etiquette is pulling up to the ramp then stopping. When you do this, you can block other people from using the ramp for several minutes. If you need time to arrange your gear or prep for the launch, pull to the side where you won’t block the ramp. Those who are ready to launch their boats will appreciate this.
5. Check Your Trailer Wheels
Before you drive your trailer and boat down to the water, check the wheels to your trailer. You can do this by touching the hubs to make sure they are not hot. If they are, you need to have your trailer bearing serviced. It’s best to wait for them to cool before putting your boat in the water. (Good thing you followed rule No. 4, which deals with boat launch etiquette.)
6. Launch Prep and Launch
This is the point where you remove the safety straps (not the bow strap), place the drain plug, load your gear, and pull the trailer’s light plug. Once all of that is done, back the boat down the ramp and into the water until the stern begins to float. Now it’s time to put the tow vehicle into park and apply the parking brake.
7. Release the Boat from the Trailer
Once your boat is touching the water and your tow vehicle is safely parked, it’s time to remove the bow strap and chain. Next step is to tilt the engine down and slowly back the boat off the trailer until it’s completely in the water. (Note: If the boat launch has a low grade, remove the safety chain and take out a couple feet of line from the winch. Re-engage the winch, back down the rap, and tap the brakes. This will move the boat back a few feet off the trailer and make it easier to launch.)
8. Loading Your Boat at the Ramp
When it’s time to call it a day, back your truck down the boat launch until the trailer is mostly submerged. After putting your tow vehicle in park and setting the parking brake, motor the boat onto the trailer, then hook the bow to the strap. Once you winch it tight, you can attach the chain. From there, it’s basically doing the load in process in reverse. Be sure to do each step slowly and carefully to ensure your boat is secure on the trailer before you head out on the road.
Good Luck at the Boat Launch Ramp!
While we might get a chuckle out of the boat launch accidents found on YouTube, we don’t want this to happen to you. That’s why we’ve gathered these boat launching tips and shared them here. This tips are designed to give you a better chance of getting your boat – but not your vehicle – in the water. Boating can be fun as long as you stay safe and have a plan. Follow this advice and you should have no problems launching a boat from a trailer.
Bonus Tip: Get the Best Marine Equipment
The right marine equipment helps keeps you sailing safely and straight. Signal Connect wants you to have the marine supplies you need, whether you’re out to sea or in the marina. Solid Signal, a division of our company, carries a huge selection of marine parts and accessories. This includes antenna control units, marine antennas, and marine antenna extenders. We also stock marine audio speakers, marine compasses and gauges, and more. You’re welcome to search Solid Signal’s vast online inventory for the marine equipment you need. If you have questions about a specific product or its installation, give Solid Signal a call at 888-233-7563.