Launching Your Boat

Have you ever tried watching one of those youtube videos on "Launching Your Boat?" Try it sometime, you will start feeling a whole lot better about your launch mishaps. You suddenly become fully aware that there are those out there who are doing it a lot worse than you. Here are some quick tips to help you become proficient at launching  a boat correctly everytime.

Check, Check and Recheck

Do not get sloppy when preparing to launch your vessel. Run through a pre-launch checklist covering all the basics, such as the drain plug being in for deck boats. Check for the simplest things, which could really save you out on the water. Don't forget to look the trailer over either. Most importantly check the parking brakes on your towing vehicle. Also, get out and check the launch lane, before beginning your launch for obstructions or interference. Always check to see that you have packed the right tools to assist you should the towing vehicle end up in the water, like a winch.

Practice, Practice and Practice

New boaters can't practice launching enough. Find an empty parking lot to practice backing up with a boat in tow. Its trickier than one would think. It can take quiet awhile to perfect the method. Practice speeds up this skill tremendously. When your at the launch ramp make friends with everyone. Don't hesitate to ask them for help if you need it. Remember to return the favor if you ever see someone struggling also. There is such a thing as etiquette at the dock. Familiarize yourself with what others expect out of fellow boaters for a much more pleasant experience out of your launch. If someone appears to be in a huge hurry its always best to let them go on ahead. Be prepared fully by the time you are at the launch. Nothing is more irritating to fellow boaters than having to wait for an unprepared boater to launch.

At Day's End

Common courtesy is most important here. Everyone is usually tired and ready to get home, be patient. When it comes your time, be prepared to move quickly and efficiently. Have your gear ready to take off the boat. Have get the boat ready to go on the trailer, while your waiting in line. Let someone out to go get the trailer as soon as you have the option.

Once the trailer arrives, slowly back it into the water using the boat's bow and stern lines to line the boat up. After that guide the boat onto the trailer instead of driving it for optimum safety. Watch for individuals being in the direct line of the winch cable in case it breaks. Once you are back up in the parking lot, make sure all loose gear is stowed away securely, drain all water from the boat and check that your lights are hooked up to the vehicle before you drive off. Last but not least do the environment a favor and always make sure your boat is cleaned and free of invasive critters before you go to launch it again.