You have all seen it. That boater in a hurry or all too knowing when it comes to putting his boat in the water.
To avoid the Comic relief and embarrassment, here are some tips as you get ready to descend that ramp.
How to Backup a Boat Trailer
Now it’s time to back down the ramp, which some people consider the biggest challenge of all.
- To make it easier, pull forward far enough that you start backing with the truck and trailer in alignment.
- Then make tiny incremental steering corrections as you’re backing up a boat trailer; over-steering is often the cause of a botched backing job.
- Remember that the trailer will swing in the opposite direction of where you steer; some people find it helpful to place their hands at the bottom of the wheel, while reminding themselves to move their hands in the direction they want the trailer to go.
- When the back of the boat begins to float, you may be able to release the bow eye and motor or tug the boat off the trailer.
Every rig is a bit different and different ramps have different grades; in some cases you may need to back down until the tow vehicles’ rear tires are getting wet and in others you may not need to back down nearly as far. Just remember to take your time and don’t be afraid to move the rig farther down the ramp if necessary if the boat doesn’t float free on the first try.
Launching a Boat
Getting the boat off the trailer at a boat ramp is far easier than removing a boat from a trailer on land—the water and the boat’s buoyancy will do all the work for you. Though it may seem daunting the first few times you do it, you’ll be launching the boat like a pro in no time. Before you launch, however, there’s some preparation to be done:
- Remove all tie-downs and ropes (but not the winch hook, or the boat could slide off the trailer prematurely).
- Add a rope to the boat so you can secure it at the pier once it’s off the trailer.
- Load any gear hauled in your tow vehicle into the boat.
- Put in the drain plug.
- If your trailer has incandescent lights, unplug them from the tow vehicle (otherwise, they can heat up when you step on the brakes and then pop when submerged in cool water).
As a matter of boat ramp etiquette, it’s considered polite to pull over in the parking lot to make all your preparations. That way other boaters can continue using the ramp, as you get prepped.