By Chris Coleman, Channel3Outdoors.com Contributor - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Launching and loading a boat can be a simple task with a little preparation and practice.
Most weekend bass tournament anglers are very good at boat-ramp etiquette, simply because they have to be.
I've watched hundreds of boats be launched in less than an hour many times at bass tournaments I have attended over the years. It is something that I never really gave much thought to, until watching everyone launch and load there boats this weekend at the local boat ramp.
The problems usually begin when you mix in the less-experienced recreational boaters. They park on the end of the ramp and then begin getting their boat ready for the water, hauling stuff down from the parking lot, and in general creating frustration for other boaters waiting to use the launch ramp.
Here's how you can make your day less of a hassle and easier for you and other boaters using the same ramp.
Most public boat ramps have staging areas or parking areas that are used to prepare your boat before launching.
Use this area to remove tie-downs, straps, install drain plugs, remove motor supports, and transfer gear from your vehicle to the boat.
If your boat has not been used in a while, it would be wise to use a water-flush hose attachment to ensure your boat motor will start and run prior to making your trip to the lake.
Sitting on a boat ramp with a motor that won't start can be extremely frustrating to you and everyone around you.
Once you are 100% ready to launch your boat enter the launch lane and wait for your turn to back down the ramp.
For many boaters, backing the trailer down the ramp is one of the hardest tasks involved with launching their boat.
Like many other skills, learning to back a trailer just takes practice.
Take some time and go to your ramp after peak use time and practice backing your trailer down the ramp and into the water to avoid getting sideways and blocking the entire ramp. This can be very embarrassing for you and aggravating to others.
All boat trailers have sweet spots, which is where the boat loads quickly and with ease onto your trailer.
One common mistake is to back in too far into the water causing the boat to float and drift over the trailer.
This makes it almost impossible to get a good fit on the trailer and usually the loader has to walk out into the water to hook the boat to the trailer.
While not backing in far enough means the loader will not be able to wench the boat up to its proper position on the trailer.
With practice, you can find this sweet spot by finding just the right distance to back in and get a water mark on your trailer which allows you to arrive at this same spot each time you back into the water.
Loading your boat onto the trailer with speed and skill will make loading an easy and pleasant experience.
After securing your boat to the trailer, then proceed up the ramp and away from the launching area opening up the ramp for the next boater in line.
Following a few rules, using common sense, and learning loading skills will make your launching experience pleasant for all.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:13 PM EDT2013-05-19 17:13:36 GMT
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