Launching your boatMarch 05, 2019 by
How to Launch Your Boat with Precision
The weather has finally warmed enough and the water is calling. You’ve prepped everything at home, started the motor with the earmuffs, put the plug in, checked the bilge, lights work, you are all set for a get day on the water and fueled up. Launching a boat can be very stressful... Follow these steps to a smooth, safe and efficient boat launch.
1. KNOW THE LAUNCH
Look at the ramp for any submerged hazards, sharp drop-offs, broken concrete, low over hanging limbs or algae-covered slippery spots.
2. CHECK YOUR BOAT
Test-start the engine while your boat is still on the trailer to make sure it’s running properly. Double check the bilge drain plugs are securely tightened. Raise the outboard motor to the upper limit of its range. Center the steering, verify the life jackets are readily available.
3. IF YOU HAVE 4WD SWITCH OVER
With slick surfaces, if your vehicle has the option, switch to 4WD.
4. CHECK THE TRAILER
Disconnect the tail-lights. Remove the tie-down straps. Unhook the bow strap attached to the winch and secure the hook. (If your trailer has brakes) Disengage the brake with the lever located on the trailer tongue.
5. USE YOUR HELPER
Have someone there that can help you either tie the boat off or start and move the boat. Seen a few guys go swimming at this point.
6. PREPARE TO LAUNCH
Lower the windows and adjust the mirrors on the tow vehicle so you can watch the boat as it enters the water. Begin slowly backing up, keeping the boat centered on the ramp. If the trailer starts to turn, drive forward and try again. As the boat enters the water, occasionally and gently tap the brakes.
7. STOP & LAUNCH
For most launches, stop just before the tow vehicle’s rear wheels reach the water’s edge. The boat should now be floating free from the trailer. Have your helper tie it off or trim down the motor, start the engine and move the boat.
8. SLOWLY DRIVE FORWARD
Pull forward slowly and carefully, and park your vehicle in the designated area. Lock your vehicle and have a lock on your trailer. If you are not parking in the lot, stop and reattach the tail-lamp cable, otherwise, remember to plug these in after you pull the boat out for the day. Always use the boat transom tie-downs while trailering the boat on the road.
To launch solo, you’ll need a mooring line tied to a dock or the trailer to hold your boat. When you’ve stopped the launch vehicle when the rear wheels are at the water’s edge, put the vehicle in park and board the boat (walk down the trailer’s tongue to stay dry). Detach the mooring line, lower the trim, start the engine, drive the boat to a dock and tie off before removing your vehicle from the ramp. Solo launching is time consuming, so be courteous of fellow launchers and try to have a helper whenever possible to keep the line moving.
If you've never backed a trailer up, find an empty parking lot, use the lines in the lot to represent the launch and practice until you are feeling good. Shopping Centers after hours, Big Church lots except on Sunday, a field and set up cones- big open spaces without a lot of people watching