How to Launch Your Boat from Your Boat Trailer By YourselfMaddy Scheinost
Launching Your Boat By Yourself
Before You Hit the Ramp, Get Everything Ready
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ve probably had to deal with one of “those guys”. You know, guys that block the ramp while they go through their to-do checklist—and everyone else waits. But since you’re above all that, since you’re a person who respects the unwritten boaters’ etiquette rule of considering other people’s time and convenience, you’re going to get everything ready to go before you hit the ramp. Preparation is key to launching a boat by yourself. Load all the gear you need in the boat, life jackets, fishing gear, snacks, whatever. Attach fenders to the dock side of your boat. Unplug the boat trailer lights, and remove all the tie-downs. Make sure your drain plug is inserted—for obvious reasons!
Attach At Least One Rope to Your Boat
Since it’s embarrassing when you put your boat too far into the water and it starts to float away, causing you to jump in the lake to rescue it, attach a guide rope to your boat. You may also use it to guide your boat to the dock, and then attach your boat to the dock. Where you attach the rope on your boat—stern, bow or side railing—will depend on the ramp/dock situation; attach the other end to a cleat in your truck bed or something immovable on the dock. The point is that the rope will act as a fail-safe that takes the place of a partner to help you control where your boat goes—or doesn’t go—once it hits the water.
Descend Down the Ramp to the Lake
Move your tow vehicle into position so your boat trailer and vehicle are aligned, allowing you to back straight down. Slow and steady. If there is a dock at the ramp, back your trailer down as close to it as possible. When you reach the edge of the lake, put your tow vehicle in park and set the emergency brake. Unhook the boat trailer safety chains and, if you have a winch, strip out about two feet of length. Slowly back your boat and trailer into the water, until your boat begins to float. This will allow the nose of your boat to release from the boat trailer roller. Step onto the boat trailer tongue, then into the boat. Move your boat to the dock, attach it, then move your boat from the ramp to the parking area.
Then…Enjoy Your Day!
The three P’s will make launching your boat by yourself easier—preparation, planning and patience. Plus, keep boat safety tips in mind. You’ll also want to check your vehicle, boat and trailer each time you stop along the way, coming and going, to head off any issues that might arise. Take a look at your vehicle tires, and give your trailer tires a quick inspection to be to be certain they are properly inflated to maximum PSI (pounds per square inch) since PSI that is too low or too high can lead to blowouts on the road—a hassle you’d really prefer to avoid. Also look for signs of wear, cracking on the tread surface or bulges in the sidewall that may have developed while you’re on the road.
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