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How to Launch a Boat

Updated on November 10, 2014

Things to remember when launching a boat.

Launching a boat for those that do not go boating on a regular basis can be intimidating especially during a hot summer day when there is tons of other people at the launch ramp all wanting to also hit the lake or river and go have fun.

If you follow these basic steps you will get on the water quickly, safely, and without being one of those people that you can see in some of the videos below. Included on this page are several tip videos and examples of launching a boat, as well as some bad launches....follow the basics and do what they do.

Bass boat ready to launch and go fishing

Example of a busy day at the boat ramp

Boat Launching Tips

1. Stay in the parking lot to prepare your boat prior to going to the ramp.

2. Make sure to put your boat plug in the boat, so you don’t fill up with water.

3. Undo both trailer straps on the back left and right corners of the boat.

4. Remove the motor bracket if applicable

5. Load the boat with all your stuff, ice chests, fishing poles, wake boards, etc away from ramp.

6. If you are by yourself make sure to have a rope tied off on the boat or use the trailer strap depending on your boat and rig. Launching by yourself is easy when you have a system that works for your set up.

7. Put the car in park when you stop and get out on the ramp to unhook the trailer from the boat.

8. If you are with someone else, have them back the truck down slowly and start the boat as the engine goes under water and drive the boat off the trailer

9. Pull the boat to the end of the dock or off the docks to wait to pick up the rest of your friends.

10. Always keep your eyes aware of other boats, trucks, and people when around the launch ramp to prevent potential accidents.

Don't forget if you are just getting out again for the first time each year to take it slow when launching, idling out of the marina, and when passing other boaters, the worst way to start out a fun filled day on the water is with a boating accident or angering the marina folks by having a huge wake from going to fast.

If you live in Northern California then you have the opportunity to go boating and fishing on one of the most interesting bodies of water in the country the California Delta. Here is a list and details on some of the best California delta boat ramps.

Launch a boat by yourself video

Boat Launching Video Tips

A couple of video example of boat launches going bad.

Its is good to know how deep your trailer needs to go when reloading the boat back on, otherwise you end up doing what this guy did and have to reset the traile

Bad way to load a jetski after a day of fun on the lake. If you can afford the jetski, make sure and get a proper trailer.

More Jetski Launch Ramp Fun


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