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Trailering a boat- Tip's Article

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cat Mazter, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Cat Mazter

    Cat Mazter Pro Catfisherman

    Trailering a boat allows the owner to be mobile, agile but hopefully not hostile.

    For anglers, in particular, mobility and agility can be positives. Fishermen who tow aren’t wedded to a single body of water, and so may flit from lake to river to lake as bite opportunities arise. The ability to keep a boat at home also has obvious advantages when it comes to maintenance, cleaning, gear stowing and the installation of upgrades.

    A trailering trip, though, inevitably means the need to twice face boat ramps, both launching and loading. Ramps are where boaters sometimes lose their cool or give others reason to do so. An upsetting ramp experience quickly can turn a good vibe bad at the start of an outing or taint the end of a satisfying excursion.

    That ramps are bottlenecks is beyond debate. How much of a problem they represent depends on some factors, such as design and condition, that boaters can’t control and others, such as crowding, organization and courtesy, that they can, more or less.

    An angler, for example, who chooses to go out on a lake that attracts large numbers of recreational boaters probably should know to expect a wait in line at 10 a.m. on a warm Saturday. Many fishermen understand starting early helps avoid ramp jams and act accordingly, but many surprisingly don’t.

    Aggressive attempts to control what strangers do or to offer unwanted advice, on the other hand, are a futile and almost always counterproductive waste of effort that serves mainly to upset your own passengers. When is the last time raising a digit on the highway brought the desired response?

    The Boat Owners Association of the United States, a trade group, offers a range of tips to help make the ramp experience less stressful, therefore less likely to provoke bad behavior. Among them:

    • Have everything necessary transferred from the tow vehicle to the boat before backing down the ramp. Waiting to make the switch until after the boat is in the water causes delays and often elicits nasty stares.

    • Unhook the boat from the winch after, not before, the vessel is in the water. Once your boat is splashed, have the crew secure it to the dock away from the ramp while you park vehicle and trailer. That leaves the ramp open for the next vehicle.

    • Don’t make others wait while you have a discussion with your crew on where to go. Do that and the people behind you will gladly offer suggestions.

    • Help those backing in if they appear to need it. If you’re not experienced, don’t try to smooth out your technique at a crowded ramp. An empty parking lot is a better place to learn.

    • If you need help on a ramp, ask for it. But pick somewhere else to wander off on unrelated topics.

    • Trailer parking spaces are for tow vehicles. Guests should park their vehicles elsewhere.

    • Get into a routine at a ramp that will make the operation easier. Use a checklist until you remember what steps contribute to efficiency.

    • When returning to a ramp, first drop off the person who will get the tow vehicle and trailer from the parking lot. If conditions require, then wait in an out-of-the-way location until the tow vehicle arrives.

    • Once the boat is resting properly on the trailer, secure the safety chain to the bow eye and drive away from the ramp. The parking lot or tie-down area is the preferred place to secure tie-downs and transfer gear from the boat to the tow vehicle.

    Attitude might be the most important factor when it comes to the kind of experience people have in stressful situations, and boat ramps can produce stress. To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, nobody can make you angry unless you give the permission.

    Those who are perfect must remember that most people are not. It’s well to keep in mind most people are doing the best they can at the ramps and really aren’t trying to make you late for Wheel of Fortune.
  2. Fish2day

    Fish2day member

    Very good post Cat! Especially the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.
    Pages 54 and 55 of the Ohio Boat Operators Guide covers procedures for launching and loading pretty good.

  3. "• Trailer parking spaces are for tow vehicles. Guests should park their vehicles elsewhere. " Wish this would be known among the masses. Usually vehicles w/o trailers outnumber vehicles w/ trailers at CC North ramp. So many hospitals needing good brain surgeons, and they're all fishing or riding on someones wave runner.