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Boat Ramp Etiquette 101

Having a boat doesn't mean you know the right of way at a boat ramp. But every boater should know the boating etiquette to launch and retrieve boats on a ramp.

Boat Ramp Etiquette 101

If you plan to spend your day on a boat trip during summer weekends, you should know boat ramps can be a crowded place. When the boat ramp gets loaded, people become impatient. To maintain courtesy, order, and avoid any havoc, you must learn the basics of boat ramp etiquette.

Boat Ramp Etiquette 101 - How to Launch a Boat

Have you ever wondered what the proper boat ramp etiquette is? If you don't wish to be rude to others or embarrass yourself by being unprepared, our boat ramp etiquette 101 is what you need right now. Learn the basics to prevent yourself from spoiling the fun for everyone. Here's what you need to do when you are planning to be on a boat ramp.

1. Prep is the First Priority

If you rush to the ramp first and start doing all the prep work, it'll take a lot of time and your boat will be in the way of fellow boaters.

Look for a staging place or find a place where you won't be blocking the boat launch line. This is the best way to make room for others on the ramp who are ready to launch their boats.

Drive your vehicle to the launching spot after finishing the following tasks.

1. Install the boat plugs

2. Remove all straps

3. Load the boat with all the necessary gears, fishing tackle, coolers, skis, tubes, etc.

4. Pay the launching fee if needed

5. Remove transom tie-down straps and outbound motor braces if your boat has them

6. Attach the fenders

7. Unplug the trailer lights from the vehicle to save the hot bulbs from getting damaged in cold water

You're all set to get your boat on the ramp when everything is done.

2. Launch as Soon as You Can

Your goal should be to launch your boat as soon as you reach the ramp. Since many others will be waiting on the ramp, be on the lookout for people. Have someone outside your car watching to tell you when to stop or slow down for extra precaution.

Before launching your boat, start your engine and see if the batteries are charged. If the engine does not start for some reason, you can simply pull your vehicle off the ramp. As soon as you are away from the ramp, fix your vehicle issue.

You can secure the boat by tying it to the dock lines or someplace away from the launching area. If you are with a driver, you can ask them to move the boat out of the way for other boaters.

3. Finally, Retrieve Your Boat

First, drop a passenger off on shore to retrieve your car.

You can circle around the boat ramp or tie your boat away from the ramp and wait for the trailer to arrive. Even if there is no designated dock for waiting, you can move your boat away from the ramp.

Keep an eye on when your driver comes back so you can be in a position to pull up onto the ramp.

Once the trailer arrives on the ramp, load the boat on it. Once you get the boat on the ramp, tie the winch and safety chains properly and your driver can safely pull the boat out and away from the ramp.

One Last Thing

Before hitting the road, ensure your boat is properly drained, cleaned, and dried.

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