How Not to Launch a Boat: Tip No. 1
September 7, 2011
I don’t usually criticize people who have trouble at the launch ramp, having experienced my share of growing pains. However, an example of poor rampsmanship I witnessed last week in Plymouth, Massachusetts, prompted this post on launch-ramp etiquette.
The owner of a midsize cuddy cabin had splashed his boat, only to leave his companion holding the vessel in front of the ramp while he parked his truck and trailer. In the meantime, other boaters had to wait until the boat owner parked, paid his fee and clambered aboard his vessel.
The more efficient and far easier approach would have been to have someone at the helm as the boat was being launched. Upon entering the water, the helmsman could have started the engine and moved the boat to the nearby courtesy float while the driver of the tow vehicle parked the rig.
Assuming the boater’s companion was unable or unwilling to operate either the vessel or tow vehicle, or the boater was launching single-handed, the preferred approach would have been for the owner to back the boat off the trailer and dock it alongside the float, then return to his vehicle and remove it from the ramp. This would have reduced the amount of time the ramp was blocked, not to mention the risk of the boat being damaged if the wind had blown it sideways, which might have even blocked both ramps!