Backing Your Boat Into The Water
Bass fishing lures millions of anglers each year. Warm weather signals fishermen to grab their gear, hook up their boats and head to their favorite lake. Anyone who has been to a boat ramp at first light on a warm spring Saturday realizes that bass fishing is a VERY popular sport.
We’ve all been in line at the boat ramp only to find that one inexperienced boater can bring the boat launch process to a grinding halt. There are things that you can do to expedite the process…experienced or not.
Before You Head To The Lake
If you have not been on the water since last summer or fall, invest in a pair of “ear muffs” for your motor, and test your it before you leave your house. Make sure that your motor is working properly and starts quickly. When you get to the boat ramp, you can quickly launch your boat and get out of the way for the next person to launch. Don’t wait until you are backed into the water only to find out that your motor won’t start.
If you have started your boat at home but find that it won’t start when you get to the lake, quickly check the following:
- Kill switch; did it get pulled accidentally?
- Battery connections; these sometimes loosen due to vibration from traveling.
- Make sure the ball on your fuel line is hard and primed. If your motor is not getting fuel, it won’t start!
Before You Get In Line
If you are launching your boat at a State Park or private marina, you most likely will have to pay a fee. Fill out the information on the envelope and pay your fee prior to getting in line at the ramp.
Also, unhook your straps and remove your transom saver prior to getting to the water. Only leave your front strap hooked until you boat is in the water.
Backing Your Boat Down the Ramp
Inexperience boaters are often uneasy about backing their boat down straight down the ramp. Follow these techniques
- Start by making sure your trailer is straight behind your truck. Keep your wheel in line with the side of your truck.
- Place one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel to determine which way you want the trailer to move. If your boat needs to go to the left, move your bottom hand to the left.
- Practice in a parking lot away from the lake until you are comfortable backing the trailer in a straight line.
Multi-Slot Boat Ramps
If the boat ramp you are using can accommodate more than one boat at a time, make sure you don’t take up more than one space. This seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, but it happens all the time.
- If you are fishing without a partner, make sure your front deck is clean and easily accessible. This will make climbing into your boat when it’s backed down the ramp quick and easy.
- Start your boat and quickly tie it off on the opposite side of the courtesy dock (if there is one) or pull your boat up onto the bank away from the ramp so you don’t block any other boaters once you move your tuck.
The courtesy dock is for unloading your boat. If you have to get rods ready, change lures, re-spool your reel, motor out to the middle of the cove or the lake. Hanging around the courtesy dock will prevent others who ARE launching their boat from using it.
Don’t be the guy at the ramp that everyone hates to have in front of them. Putting your boat in the water should be quick and easy. Do you have any other tips for getting your boat in the water quickly and easily? Let me know by leaving a comment!