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How to properly launch a boat

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Whether you are new to boating or a boating veteran, knowing how to launch a boat from a ramp is a necessity. You won’t be getting on the water unless you or a friend understand the basics and etiquette of launching your boat. This may be one of the most stressful parts of boating as a beginner, and that is why we are here to try and help! Here are some simple steps to follow to spend majority of your day on the water and less time in the parking lot; and avoid having you look like this:

Step 1: Place All Your Gear in The Boat & Install Drain Plug

Before you even think about backing up the ramp, park your truck and trailer away from the ramp so that others can still access it. During this time, you need to double check and make sure that all the gear you are taking on the boat is in the boat. Doing this now will save you from forgetting anything and time from walking back and forth after your boat is already in the water.

Also at this time, you want to properly install the boat’s drain plug. Unless you plan on getting in a sinking boat.

Step 2: Prepare to Reverse & Reverse

Now you want to prepare to reverse down the ramp and into the water. Make sure the area is clear and position your vehicle properly, so you can back straight into the water. The best way to get into this position, if space allows, is to drive parallel to the ramp to start and turn so you are perpendicular to the shoreline but aligned perfectly with the ramp.

Step 3: Release the Winch

When getting closer to the water, make sure you stop before the winch is submerged. At this time, you want to release the winch and tie a rope to your boat and have a friend hold it or tie it down to a dock cleat, so it doesn’t float away.

Step 4: Float the Boat

Now you want to reverse your vehicle until the boat begins to float. Once the floating begins, stop your vehicle, and move the boat out of the way to reduce any kinds of damage to your boat or your trailer.

Step 5: Park Your Vehicle

One you have moved the boat away a safe distance to prevent any damage, slowly drive forward out of the water and find a place to park out of the way, so others can have enough space and safely get their boat in the water.

Step 6: Return to Your Boat

Have a great time on the water!

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