Launching a boat is no easy task, even when you have help. However, launching a boat alone is even more daunting. The process of launching a boat requires steps. Steps must be followed to help avoid mistakes that cause injury or damage. Knowing how to launch a boat alone is important. Follow these five tips the next time you’re dropping a boat in the water by yourself.
Prepare The Boat Before Backing Down The Ramp
Without a doubt, preparation is necessary, especially when launching a boat alone. It should be noted you don’t want to make preparations when you’re boat is halfway backed down the ramp. All prep work must be completed when you’re outside the flow of launches and retrievals.
Secure The Fenders And Dock Lines
Before you make your way down the ramp with the tow vehicle and trailer, secure the fenders and dock lines to the boat.
No sense in fumbling around at the last minute with must have items. With the dock lines and fenders in place, you’ll be prepared to secure the boat to the dock when it is back into the water.
Check The Drain Plug
Boaters often forget to reinstall the drain plug after draining the bilge on the previous trip. Unfortunately, water flows into the boat beneath the deck rapidly.
Avoid needing to jump into the water to install the drain plug. Instead, ensure it is secured before launching the boat.
Remove Transom Straps
I have witnessed boaters attempt to remove a boat from the trailer after it has been back down. Unfortunately, they could not make any progress because the stern straps were in place.
Without a doubt, it is essential to remove the stern strap before launching the vessel. The straps will prevent the boat from floating free from the trailer.
Ensure The Bow Eye And Winch Remain Connected
Unfortunately, boat owners remove the bow strap prematurely, and it results in damage to the boat.
First, depending on the slope of the ramp, you put yourself at risk of the boat sliding off the bunks.
Secondly, when the trailer is lowered into the water, the boat is at risk of drifting away before you can secure the lines to the dock.
Always remember to leave the bow connected to the winch when launching a vessel.
Apply The Parking Brake
Year after year, tow vehicles end up in the water because the driver failed to put the car in park or the gear slipped.
Avoid putting your vehicle at risk by applying the parking brake every time you back down the ramp. Importantly, the parking brake will keep you safe because the vehicle will not roll in your direction when disconnecting the boat.
Be Cautious Of Slippery Ramps When Disconnecting The Boat
No question, boat ramps are slippery below and above the waterline. The combination of wet surfaces combined with algae makes a boat ramp an ice skating rink at times.
Not only are you at risk as a person of a slip and fall, but vehicles also slide down the ramp.
When walking a boat ramp, make your best effort to use the vehicle and boat for stability. Slide one hand while treading cautiously. A slip could result in a head injury or broken bone.
Lastly, vehicles backing trailers down wet and algae lined ramps are prone to sliding. For this reason, it is important to drive slowly to prevent breaking at a rapid rate, causing the vehicle to slide.
Secure The Boat To The Dock And Start The Engine
Once the boat trailer and boat are in the water, disconnect the bow strap from the bow eye. With the boat free, you can grab the already positioned dock lines, pull the boat backward, and secure it to the dock clear of the trailer.
Once the boat is secured properly to the dock, I recommend starting the engine. Starting the engine allows the motor to warm up so it’s ready to go once the vehicle and trailer are pulled out and parked.
Don’t Leave Anything Behind
Finally, once you’re vehicle is parked, don’t leave anything behind. On a busy day, the ramp will be jam packed. Fellow boaters will not be happy if you slow up the pace by leaving something in the truck that requires a second trip.
Lastly, thefts are common at boat ramps. Ensure the vehicle is locked before jumping on the boat and heading out.
Follow The 5 Tips On How To Launch A Boat Alone
Look, I have launched a boat alone countless times. I can tell you that these five tips will make your life easier at the ramp. All too often, mistakes happen, causing injury or damage or a combination of the two. On weekends and holidays, tensions are high because of all the boaters lined up to launch and retrieve. Preparation ahead of time will alleviate stress.