Personally, sometimes I get quite a kick out of watching some people at the boat launch. I am not perfect in the art of boat launching; but I have practice and modified my technique to make it easier on myself and others. There are those that were born to launch and retrieve their boats with ease and then there are some who just cannot get the knack of it. It also seems that when we get more and more flustered, it leads to more frustration, which leads to more slips in the water because we are trying to hurry. In this article I’ve shared some basic steps and practices that I have learnt over the years to help simplify launching a boat and to help with overall boat launch courtesy.
I was at one of my favourite lakes a couple of years ago with a buddy. Although we were utilizing our float tubes, I witnessed one of the funniest things I have ever seen at a boat launch…
Firstly, we walked down to shore and were gearing up in our waders, lining our rods etc. As we were gearing up we observed a young lone male out in the water on a small boat bombing around waiting for the trailer to come to him. His father was backing up the truck. We noticed that he had backed in quite a ways, however it was his boat and he most likely knew the right depth to retrieve it. He got his son to come in and exit the boat. He then entered the boat. I remember the Dad saying something. I looked up to see him lean over the bow of the boat reaching down for something and then slip in so perfectly and exit like a duck coming from the depths. Thank goodness he was ok, just soaking wet!
The point of the story is, he could have avoided the chilly dip if he had asked for help. He was obviously reaching for something so why not ask his son or wife for help. He wasn’t inconveniencing anyone at the boat launch that day, but he could have made it much easier on himself by simply asking for assistance.
We all want to launch our boats, get out to our honey hole and to have a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. However, sometimes that tends to fall apart at the boat launch when we are not properly prepared, need assistance but don’t ask for help or even if we are in too much of a frantic hurry.
Here are some basic steps that can be practiced at the boat launch to make the process much easier and less stressful for all!
1. Pull into the launching area safely and slowly. These are family activities and the chances that a small child or dog may be running around are pretty good.
2. Get your equipment ready prior to backing down to the shore line. There can be a lot of tension built up when people are waiting to launch their boat even for the silliest reasons.
3. Wait until you are in the water to rig your lines, or do it away from the launch when you are taking the straps off.
4. The boat launch is not a place to socialize. Get in the water, secure your boat down on the dock, and go park.
5. Ensure everyone is aware that you are backing down to the water, advise them by voice or a couple of honks on the horn. If you are going on an outing with family or friends, recruit one of them as a spotter.
6. When parking, remember that you are not the only one with a boat and a trailer. Make room and don’t park so that others cannot manoeuvre around you.
7. When retrieving your boat by yourself and are obviously having difficulty, ask for help. We are all boaters, fishers etc. I don’t know one person that would turn down a request. The faster you get out, the sooner they get in.
8. Take care in walking on your boat trailer. One thing I will be putting on my trailer this year is Skateboard grip tape. It helps traction while walking along the beams of your trailer.
9. After you have retrieved your boat, clip it on with the main strap, pull out carefully and then secure it to your trailer out of the way of the ramp.
10. Ensure all straps are tight and your boat is secure. Same thing as when you arriving, pull out of the boat launch area carefully.
Make it a safe and enjoyable experience. Also, play your part as a conservationist. Clean your boat of any plant life that may be present. This will help in not contaminating your next favourite lake with the remnants of your last favourite lake.
Bent rods and tight lines!