How to Launch a Boat: Tips for Beginners

If you just became a first-time boat owner, you’ll have a lot ahead of you.  Boating is a valuable and rewarding hobby, but there are plenty of things to learn! Driving your boat and learning the rules of the waterways are just some of the many things you’ll need to master. You’ll also have to master is how to launch your boat from the dock.

Get the Boat in OrderHow to Launch a Boat: Tips for Beginners

Before your boat hits the water, you should make sure everything is in order. Park next to your boat ramp to check your gear and ensure that your boat is ready for launch. Double check you’re the boat’s drain plug to make sure it is in place.

Don’t forget to load all the necessary gear onto your boat. Attach your lines to the bow and stern cleats and remove any trailer tie-downs and straps. Make sure you have plenty of life vests that are easily accessible.

Back the Boat Down the Ramp

You should get comfortable driving with your boat attached to your vehicle. Consider practicing by backing your boat into an empty parking space. When backing your boat down a ramp, slowly back down the ramp until the stern of your boat floats. We recommend having something with you to watch the boat and give you signals on how you are doing.

Ride your brakes as you back down the boat ramp; you’ll have to use very little gas. Try grasping the steering wheel at the bottom for optimum maneuverability as you drive down the ramp.

Setting the Boat Free

Once the boat is floating in the water, remove the bow strap and safety chain. Tilt the boat’s engine down and back the boat off the trailer. Wear water-friendly shoes and clothing, you might have to get into the water to unhook the boat.

Run your boat’s blower to evacuate the engine compartment and ensure the kill switch is set to run. Start the boat, and if the boat is running smoothly, release any remaining bow hooks that might be connecting the boat to the trailer. Once you’re finished, move your boat out of the way of other boats that might be trying to use the ramp and go park your tow vehicle.

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