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How to launch a boat

How to launch a boat

Table of Contents

The wrong way to launch a boat

People that have grown up boating seem to think that there is nothing to towing and launching a boat correctly. When you are around it a lot its like second nature maneuvering your vehicle so the trailer goes where you want it to go and slipping into the water for a fun filled day.  But if you don’t have that experience, you will find that it can be very stressful trying to get a boat off the trailer and on the water.  The same is true when pulling the boat out of the water. You have lines of people waiting for their turn. All eyes are on you as you try to back your vehicle down the ramp with the boat behind you.  One wrong turn and you have to pull out of it and start all over.  If you have others launching on either side of you, that adds even more stress to the situation.  So what is a new boater to do? Below I have listed some steps to get your boat launched with ease in hopes that your boating adventure goes of without a hitch.

Once you have arrived at the lake and are waiting your turn to back down the ramp, you will want do some prep work. If there is no line for the ramp, simply pull over and do this work out of everyone’s way.
– Load everything you need into the boat
– Remove transom straps from the boat
– Put the drain plug in!!!!!! -PUT THE DRIAN PLUG IN! –PUT THE DRIAN PLUG IN!!!
– Disconnect trailer lights
– Throw mooring fenders over the side of the boat
– Have mooring lines ready and accessible

Now to LAUNCH:
– Back your boat down the ramp until the engine is in the water enough to run
– Put your vehicle in park, engage the parking break and maybe chuck the wheel
– Remove the bow strap and safety chain from the boat
– Start your boat engine, put it in reverse and gently back up
– If boat doesn’t move, you may need to back your vehicle further into the water
– If someone is with you to drive the boat then have them drive off while you park the car. They can pick you back up on the dock. This allows others to launch their boat while you park your vehicle.

Hauling your boat out:
– When backing your trailer down, go deep enough to get the boat on but not so deep that the boat will go over the trailer
– If trailer has bunks,  carefully drive the boat up the trailer. Don’t overpower it, make sure you are properly aligned & steering wheel is centered.
– Once on the trailer, winch the boat up to the top & connect the safety chain
– Turn off the motor and raise it up
– Move your vehicle and tailer out of the way so others can use the ramp
– Unload the boat
– Put mooring fenders & ropes inside the boat
– Connect trailer lights
– Connect transom straps