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  • Writer's pictureNew Wave Fishing Academy

Boat Ramp Etiquette

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

As the open water season ramps up the boat launches in your area will become increasingly busy! Everybody wants to get out on the water as quickly as possible but are often help up at the launch by others who aren't so prepared. If you are new to fishing or boating it can be nerve wracking to get to the launch and put your boat in with a line of other impatient boaters behind you. We feel your pain and are here to help! There are some unwritten boat launch rules that anyone using the launch should follow to make things go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Practice Backing Up A Trailer

No matter what you are going to have to back your boat into the water to launch it. If you are not comfortable enough backing up a trailer on your first attempt you should practice before getting to the launch. Find an empty parking lot other large open area and practice moving your trailer into a "parking spot" until you are comfortable doing this. Holding others up at the boat launch as you try to learn is a good way to make people angry and you will most likely get some nasty comments; so practice first!

2. Join The Queue

This goes for putting your boat into the water and when taking it out of the water. Be sure to check if there are others waiting in line before you. You won't make any friends by cutting someone off that has been waiting patiently in line. While you are waiting this is the perfect time to do number 3!

3. Be Prepared

Once you get to the launch the excitement is high and you may want to back your boat in right away, I get it! But you should take the time to prepare the boat in the parking lot before ever looking at the ramp. If you need to move any gear from the truck to the boat, take off straps, set up electronics or a trolling motor, unplug the lights, or get the kids settled you should do all this while waiting in line. Dropping the boat in the water should be fast and easy. If you try to do all this once you've put the boat in you will be blocking the ramp for others and holding up the whole show. Take a second to move out of the way and get organized before moving over to the launch.

4. Move Your Boat

After launching your boat don't leave it tied to the dock in the launch zone while you or a friend goes and parks the truck! This will just be in the way of others launching the boat and puts you at greater risk of someone bumping into it if they do try to sneak by. Once you launch your boat move it to the other side of the dock before tying it up to leave the launch area open for the next person in line.

5. No Park Zones

After you've launched the boat comes the most overlooked part of this whole endeavour; parking the truck and trailer. No matter how full or empty the parking lot is when you launch you should assume that it is going to fill up. Parking in a manner that takes up more than one space unnecessarily is a huge headache for others once the lot gets more full. When parking you should always avoid parking in the area of the turn around or path of the actual launch. This makes it more difficult for others to launch their boat and puts your truck / trailer at. greater risk of damage from someone backing into it. The figure below outlines some of these tips so that it can be visualized more clearly. Don't even think about parking in the red hashed off areas and certainly do not be the one to park across 6 spots because you were too lazy to back the trailer in.

6. Be Respectful

Last but not least is just to be respectful of others while at the launch. Everyone is there to try and enjoy a day on the water with friends and family. They may be new to launching their boat or just a little rusty. If you think someone could use a hand offer it instead of getting angry. If you could use a hand just ask. Most boaters are more than happy to help you so they can get into the water faster!

Leave a comment if there is anything you have picked up or noticed that we have missed! We all need to work together to ensure a smooth operation and that everyone is able to enjoy the day and sharing this knowledge is one way to do that!

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