Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boat Ramp Etiquette by P. Roberts

The most irritating experience for most boaters is at the boat ramp, waiting for someone who doesn't know what they are doing.
Typically, the guy pulls onto the ramp with his cover still on and turns off his car/truck, gets out, takes off the cover, load the life preservers, cooler, fishing equipment. If your lucky, he remembers to take off the rear tie-down straps and put in the drain plug.
OK, we've all done some stupid things at the ramp. If I had a dime for every bonehead move I've made I could probably buy a gallon of gas at a marina. If anyone should appreciate patience at a ramp it should be me. By the time you're waiting for a lane at the ramp to clear, your boat should be ready to go.Fishing equipment should be aboard, life jackets out and boat key in the ignition. And make sure your kill switch is connected too. There's nothing more embarrassing than grinding down the battery in front of impatient boaters.
Unless you have a roller trailer or ice on your bunks, your boat should be completely unstrapped. If your boat might slide off, keep the front winch strap/rope attached but take the rear straps off. Disconnect the safety chain/tie down and then disconnect the winch when the back of the boat is in the water.
The easiest way I have found to launch a boat is with a long line held by a second person, the rope should be 20 - 30 feet long with a clamp that attaches to the bow eye. Back the boat in and allow it to slide off the trailer. The person holding the rope should guide the boat to available pier space or to the shore.Or, even better, have a boat driver already at the helm.
If your launching alone, tie a line from the bow eye to the trailer or winch and let the boat float
off. Then, pull the boat to shore or to a pier before parking your vehicle.
The best etiquette tip is if you see anyone launching alone, chances are he or she would appreciate an offer of assistance.
Every bass boater's biggest pet peeve has to be people who can't back-up a trailer. Saturday morning at the ramp isn't the time or place to practice.
If your new to boating, take you boat/trailer to an empty school parking lot and practice.
Trailering your boat after a day on the water also should be done as quickly as possible. Get that boat on the trailer, attach the winch strap/rope and safety chain and go park before doing anything else. Remember to trim up your motor.
This season, let's practice good boat ramp etiquette. Not wasting the precious recreational time of others is good for every one's well being.

No comments:

Post a Comment