Your goal is to be as efficient as possible when it’s your turn to actually back down and launch. With that in mind park in a designated staging area, or out of the way or traffic, to prepare your boat and do the following:
- Visit the pay station and take care of a launching fee if one is required.
- Install the boat drain plug.
- Check that the key is in the ignition. This would be a good time to bump the key into the “start” position just to make sure you don’t have a dead battery.
- Load all your gear into the boat—fishing tackle, coolers, tubes, skis, etc.
- Attach fenders to the dock side of the boat.
- Remove the transom tie-down straps and the outboard motor brace if you use one.
- Attach dock lines to the bow and stern cleats.
- Unplug the trailer lights from the tow vehicle to keep cold water from damaging the hot bulbs
5 Tips for Good Boat Ramp Etiquette
- Always complete all prep work first in the staging area—out of the way of ramp where other boaters are launching.
- Launch quickly and efficiently; have others in your crew assist you to make the process easier, if possible.
- As soon as the boat is off the trailer, pull back up the ramp and park in a designated spot.
- When retrieving your boat, use a courtesy dock or tie up away from the launch area until your trailer is in place.
- Load the boat onto the trailer, secure the winch at the bow and the safety chain; then proceed to the staging area to finish unloading and securing your trailer.