Going out on the boat for a day trip or even an extended trip should be something to look forward to and usually is. But, once you get to the boat ramp and you see the line of trucks and trailers trying to launch or recover, it is sometimes a kill joy. A little advice on launching and recovering your boat at the boat ramp
  • A little advice on launching and recovering your boat at the boat ramp

  • 10/16/2017


A little advice on launching and recovering your boat at the boat ramp


Marina, Lake Toho, Kissimmee, Florida


Going out on the boat for a day trip or even an extended trip should be something to look forward to and usually is. But, once you get to the boat ramp and you see the line of trucks and trailers trying to launch or recover, it is sometimes a kill joy. There are some things that you can do to speed up the launch time for yourself, and in turn, others. I like to use Maximo park boat ramp cause it is usually not too busy, but it does get crowded. Here is a link to some boat ramps in St. Pete. If one is too busy you might consider using another.


First of all, load anything that you can into the boat before you head out to the ramp.  Things that won’t blow away on the road, coolers, fishing poles, tackle boxes and the sort. If you have closed compartments on your boat, you can put light stuff in those before trailering too. Like towels, bags of groceries, life jackets and throwable floatation devices. Loading as much gear as you can before leaving for the boat ramp saves time and frustration.  Also, check all of your fluids the day before your trip and the morning of. I have seen quite a few people get to their boat to the ramp area and then realize that they need this or that before they can get underway for their trip. This is a great time to check the weather too.




Once you get to the boat ramp, pull off to the side and load the rest of your gear into the boat. If you try to load your gear while you have your boat on the ramp, it is an unnecessary delay for you and the other boaters trying to launch and is not the most courteous thing you could do. This is the time to put your boat plug in too.  Don’t forget your boat plug!!!  I keep a boat plug in one of my boat’s cup holders as well as in the map holder of my truck door with a cheap adjustable wrench to tighten the plug.


Check and recheck. Make sure that you have everything you need now. You don’t want to back down the ramp and figure out that you forgot your fishing license or boat keys. Done that. Not fun.


Ok, now that you have everything in the boat, get in line with the other trucks and trailers, if there are any, and wait your turn. If the boat ramp is busy, this is the time to break into your meditation Zen, light some incense, sip that coffee, etc.


Picture of Latte Art - Free Stock Photo


It can get frustrating at times. I do my best to watch all of the other boaters to see what they are doing that I might learn from, good or bad. Once it is your turn to get onto the ramp, go ahead and make your approach. If you don’t have a lot of experience backing a trailer, take your time doing it. It will take less time to go slow and get it right the first time than to approach, mess up and re-approach again and again. A term I learned a long time ago is, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. The overall goals to launching at a boat ramp are safety first and speed second. So now that you are on the ramp, launch your boat and get your truck and trailer off of the ramp as safely and quickly as possible. If you are launching alone or with no help, get your boat in the water and moor it up at a side pier that is not in line with one of the ramps if at all possible. Once moored up, go back to your truck and park it with the other trucks and trailers. Due Course can provide training for proper trailering techniques and other things. If you are interested, just give us a call.


Now go out and have a great day on the water!


This king made great tacos     




              Frank the Tank




OK, now you have spent the day fishing and funning, it’s time to go home. Prior to getting to the boat ramp, make all possible preparations to trailer the boat. Fenders rigged, mooring lines out and ready, bait well empty, light gear placed in a compartment so they don’t blow away on the road. Basically all the stuff that you prepped before leaving the house. Doing this before getting back to the ramp gets rid of any rushing that you might be urged to do to get home. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.


Ok, you are at the boat ramp area, if you have someone with you that you trust and is capable, have them get the trailer or drive your boat. Make sure you recheck the trailers coupling, light connection and safety chains before moving the trailer. This is by far the fastest way to trailer the boat and get out of the way. If you are alone or do not have anyone capable of helping, moor the boat on that side pier again, if there is one. Go get your trailer and get in line with the others if there are any. Back your trailer down the ramp when it is your turn. Get in your boat and trailer it.

                                                                    Trailer Hitch Stock Photos


I see a lot of people get their boat on the trailer and pull the truck and boat up the ramp before hooking up the bow strap and safety chain. I am not a big fan of this. All it takes is one little slip of the foot on the accelerator or one little bump and the boat could slide off of the trailer onto the ramp. This could cause lots of damage to your hull and engine potentially costing thousands of dollars to you and also causing more congestion at the ramp. Just hook up the boat properly while the trailer is still in the water and avoid any damage and delays.


Image result for busy boat ramp


Great! Your boat is on the trailer, your engine is trimmed up and the bow strap and safety chain are hooked up. Now, slowly pull the trailer up the ramp and out of the way. There are usually spots dedicated to allow room to get your boat all secure prior to getting on the road. If not, just make sure that you are out of the traffic lane so others can get by if needed.


Now you can get all of the gear that you need out of the boat and into the truck, put on the transom straps and pull the boat plug. Don’t forget your boat plug!!! Too many times I have seen a boat going down the road and the bilge pump kicks on and pumps water out on the road. Can you imagine if a convertible was driving by when that happened? If you pull the boat plug, this should not happen. I like to find an area that has a little bit of an incline in the ramp area to stop to allow more drainage through the plug while I am getting the boat/trailer road ready.


If the ramp area has a hose, I would use it to flush your engine. The sooner you flush your engine the better. If you wait until you get home, the warm engine will cause the salt water to evaporate in the cooling passages leaving salt crystals, so if you flush right away there is less chance of salt build up in your engine.


Check and recheck your boat and trailer and trailer to truck connections. If all is good, hit the road.


We hope that this has given you a few things to think about. If you have any good pointers or lessons learned, let us know.


As always, stay safe on the water.


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