Boating Tips: A Comprehensive Guide to Boat Ramp Etiquette

One of the most preferred methods of retrieving a vessel is by winching onto a trailer. While driving onto a particular trailer has the potential for causing significant damage to the vessel, it can undermine the ramp concrete pad leading to damage. Besides, this can render a boat ramp unserviceable, creating holes off the concrete area. Thus, choosing the right winch for a private boat ramp is essential.

In case your ramp offers wash down facilities, it is in your best interest to flush the engine and wash the trailing running gear. Note that others may want to use the facilities and that means you should do whatever you want to do quickly. Water is among the most precious commodities and must be used sparingly. Once your vessel is clean, consider moving away from the cleaning area.

Before moving away…

It is common knowledge that you should never leave your home before making sure you have everything you need. Ensure aboard the vessel you have the right equipment including safety chains, life jackets (for all passengers), trailer hitch, and the right tie-down straps.

Also, run the motor to be sure that it can start easily, check if the battery is charged, and find out if you have enough fuel. Finally, make sure that the vessel is properly secured to the trailer which should be safely connected to your car.

Prior to queueing for the ramp…

Consider parking your car in an area where it will not interfere with traffic flow. Pick all the items you require from the car and store them in your vessel. Follow the following steps;

  • Insert the switch in the ignition and remember to switch the battery on
  • Pump the fuel bulb to bring fuel to the vessel’s engine
  • Remove the tie down straps
  • Connect the winch handle to the trailer’s winch
  • Connect the bow rope to the boat and don’t forget to check the bungs

If you are a first-time boat, it is recommended to watch the other boaters and learn how to launch a boat.

Launch your boat safely

Before launching your boat, ensure all passengers (including children) are seated safely and wearing life jackets. Ensure no one is behind as you reverse your trailer into the water. Here are more tips.

  • Safely disconnect the winch and push the boat off the trailer into the water
  • Use the bow rope to the boat from the ramp
  • Ensure the engine is at a good height
  • Start the engine and have someone push the boat so that it can move away from the ramp.

In case the ramp is wide to allow launching of two or more boats, give enough space for the other trailers.

Retrieving the boat

Connect the trailer safely to your car and ensure that it has not been tampered with before you drive the ramp. Ensure the winch is long enough to allow safe retrieval of the vessel. Winch the boat carefully to the trailer, activate the winch brake, and carefully connect the safety chain.

After securing the boat, tow your trailer away from both the ramp and traffic flow. Turn the batter off and secure the tow lock, tie-down straps, and the safety equipment.

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