Look Like a Pro at the Boat Ramp

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By Capt. Mel Berman, 970-WFLA

Some years back, I wrote an article entitled “Launch Ramp Follies” which detailed the many missteps of those who don’t quite get the hang of launching their boat. And for the observers of these inept boaters, it’s a grand show to behold – especially on busy holidays and weekends.  When launching your vessel at a boat ramp, does it seem like the whole world is watching your every move?

Well now to the rescue comes author Pat Piper  of Boat-US  Trailering Magazine with some excellent tips that will make you look like a seasoned veteran.

1. Prior to backing down the ramp have everything that needs to be transferred from the tow vehicle placed in the boat. Trailer boaters who wait until their vessel is in the water cause delays and get nasty stares.

2. Concrete and fiberglass don’t mix.  Unhook the boat from the winch after the vessel is in the water, not before.  Once your boat is splashed, have your crew secure it to the dock while you park your tow vehicle and trailer, leaving the ramp open for the next launch.

3. Don’t make others wait while you’re having a discussion with your crew on where to go or else those waiting in line behind you will happily offer suggestions.

4. Offer assistance if someone needs help. If you have never backed down a ramp, practice in a large parking lot prior to launching.

5. If you’re on the ramp and would like help, be succinct. This is not the time to ask questions about bleeding the brakes or to debate the advantages of bias ply tires.

6. Trailer parking spaces are for tow vehicles and trailers only.  Guests should park elsewhere.

7. Get into a routine at the ramp and use a checklist. It will make your life easier.

8. When returning to a ramp, drop off the person who will get the tow vehicle and trailer from the parking lot first and wait for them in an out-of-the-way location while they retrieve the vehicle.

9. Once the boat is on the trailer, secure safety chain to the bow eye and move up the ramp.  Secure the remaining tie downs and transfer stuff back to the tow vehicle when you get to the parking lot – not on the ramp.
Note: For more on boating information and tips, go to www.BoatUS.com

Note: For more on boating information and tips, go to www.BoatUS.com