When faced with the challenges and obstacles at boat launches, the task of putting your boat in the water can be easier if adequately prepared. Public boat launches can be a hectic place mainly because of the number of inexperienced people in a hurry. Boat access for trailers may be limited in your area based on the number of public boat ramps available, making them even busier. Here are some tips to overcome challenges and obstacles when at the boat launch.

Test your boat before getting to the boat launch 

One of the biggest obstacles faced is from boat owners who use a boat once or twice a year. Inexperienced boaters are under the impression the motor will start every time without a glitch; WRONG countless people back the boat in the water only to find out it won’t start and learn how quickly those around them become unfriendly. 


Test your batteries and engine before leaving the house. 

Crowds at the Boat Launch

Public boat launches are crowded places, especially on the weekends. Be prepared to have long lines to both launch and retrieve your boat.


Get to the boat ramp early and beat out the masses of weekend boat warriors who clog up space because they slept in on a day off. 

Preparing the boat at the ramp

When you arrive at the boat launch, some people fail to realize that they are blocking traffic by preparing the boat in vehicles’ flow.


Pull off in an area that does not keep other trucks and trailers from progressing to reduce the wait time for launching boats.

Know the condition of the boat ramp before backing down:

Some public boat ramps are very well maintained while others are in shambles. Launches that are in poor condition can lead to trouble for both the trailer and the tow vehicle.


  1. Inspect the ramp to look for large potholes and try to avoid them.
  2. The slopes can be extremely slippery, beware that you can slip and fall, and your trucks tires can slide both launching and retrieving the boat.
  3. Know where the concrete pad ends in the water. Dropping the trailer tires off the back end of the concrete and into the sea bed can spell disaster, especially when pulling the boat out. 

Dock space at boat ramps

If not directly lined up with the ramp, a boat launch will have a place to secure the boat while you park the vehicle. It can be tricky and stressful to leave your truck and trailer in the slip while docking the vessel clear of traffic.


  1. If you’re alone, don’t leave any valuables in the vehicle. 
  2. Have dock lines and fenders ready.
  3. Don’t feel pressured by others who are waiting in line. 
  4. Bring someone with you to move the truck while another handles the boat.

Parking your vehicle at a Boat Launch 

A concern from many boat owners at public boat ramps is the security of the tow vehicle. Often trucks and trailers are left in parking lots well into the evening hours and sometimes through the night. 


  1. Remove all valuables from the truck. Don’t leave anything worth taking behind particularly if it can be seen through a window. 
  2. Park under a light in the parking lot if this is an option. Keeping the car in a well-lit area will significantly reduce the chances of theft. 
  3. Although not directly related to unwanted break-ins, remember to take your keys. Often you’re running back to the boat to move it out of the way, and things are forgotten. 


Challenges and obstacles can be overcome at boat launches if you are prepared and remember key steps. The process is simple, and once you have a routine, it will become like clockwork. Avoid being rushed by others because that is when mistakes occur. See you at the boat ramp!