The boat ramp is a place that makes or brakes your day. It can set the tone for your trip and it can also end it before it begins. In this short “How To” I will discuss how to load and and unload your boat like a boss.
I spend hours of my week at the boat ramp and I have seen it all. First let’s discuss some big No-No’s of boat ramp etiquette.
- Make sure to have your boat loaded with all your equipment for the day before you back down the ramp. The ramp is not a loading-zone.
- Take time before you approach to unstrap your boat and trim your motor at the boat ramp.
- Do not remove your safety chain or come along strap from the bow until you are backed in and your vessel is afloat.
- Every trailer will have a water line were it is easy to load and unload make sure you are aware of yours each one is different.
The tell tale sign of a newbie:
A boat has a bow and a stern which require a bow line and a stern line. That being said one long single rope tied to the bow will not do! This will cause a variety of problems.
Make sure to have 2 ropes! A light breeze and one rope will make you very unpopular at your local boat ramp.
Next, every boat docks better on one side or there other do to things like kicker motors or down riggers or seating configuration. Know what side is best for you and your boat.
Make sure to have good fenders. 2 of them. Place them on the side you prefer to dock on and do so before backing down the ramp.
Before I go on, make sure to check your boat plug! Don’t worry I will remind you again.
Pre adjust your fender ropes so they hang at the correct height! You will thank me for this.
Now your ready to back in since you know what side your docking on and your ropes and fenders are in place. Since you already know what the correct depth to back your trailer in, by knowing were the good water line on your trailer is, your almost home free.
Always put your boat close to the dock so it’s one easy step from the dock to your boat.
Ok now I’m going to rock your world. Loading and un loading is a ONE person job. Yep. I said it. If your relying on help your blowing it. To meany fights between husbands and wives, fathers and sons or old friends happen because people can’t do this alone. I currently fish about 200 days a year. Not all are work days mind you, but all require time at the ramp. Zero days do I need help. Wind or no wind, steep ramps, changing tides and no dock are all thing I face alone. As well as swift rivers, rocky river bars and 4×4 only access. Nothing will faze you after this blog.
So we have backed in to the correct depth and we don’t want to get wet. No problem. Walk along your trailer unclip your boat and safety chain. Now simply walk down the dock and pull your stern line, tie it off. Then tie off your bow and that’s it. Your boat was already loaded so park your truck and your off.
No dock? No problem
After unlatching your boat step from your trailer onto your vessel and drive it off under power.
The loading is the same but in reverse. Dock your boat, tie your stern, then your bow (when leaving the dock untie your bow first then your stern). Walk up get your vehicle. Back in as close to the dock as possible, hop in your boat, adjust your trim to “trailer ” as well as trimming your kicker motor and drive your boat into place. Because you have found your perfect level your boat will be no problem to load. A trailer too deep will turn your boat sideways on you or it won’t sit level on your trailer.
A trailer to shallow will not easily load and you will need to work way too hard to seat it correctly on the bunks.
Let’s say there is no dock or your dealing with high wind? Leave the motor in gear and climb out over the bow on to the trailer to secure the chain and strap when a dock is not available. Make sure your safety chain and come-along are secure. Double check your trim on the main and kicker. Visually inspect your trailer latch and chains then pull your boat out of the way and finish what you need to do before hitting the road.
Always remember to check your plug before backing down the boat ramp.
The number one thing is practice. Go to your local ramp at an “off time” and practice. Your day will be so much better with a pain free launch. Don’t be the one every one is joking about at the boat ramp. Remember to be helpful to others. People who don’t know what they are doing will have bad attitudes at the ramp. Don’t let it effect your day. Learn to be a pro. Do it on your own and catch more fish!
Check out my latest fishing report here: N. California Fishing Report