Ramp It UP!

Published: Fall 2013

You'll spend hours of your trailerable life sliding up and down a ramp, so make sure you've got the inside track with these tips.

Photo of launching a boat off a trailer

Slip Sliding Away

When launching in an extremely low tide or at a shallow ramp, if you can't back up far enough to float the boat, you can still get it off the trailer by "skidding" it. While a friend holds a bow line, pull the truck and trailer up the ramp 10 or 15 feet, then allow the tow vehicle to roll back down the ramp until the tires hit the water. Abruptly apply the brakes, and momentum will keep the boat moving. Obviously, you'll want to do this with care, and only try to skid the boat back a foot or two at a time until it's moved enough to back off under power.


Set, And Forget

On a warm sunny day (and at a quiet ramp), don a pair of swim shorts and submerge your trailer at different depths until you find out which is ideal for launching your boat. Then, wade out with a Sharpie, and mark the water level on the trailer. When you get home, make the mark clearer with some bright paint. In the future, there won't be any more guesswork; just back down until the paint marks hit the water, and you'll know you have it right.


Less Friction

If you're using a trailer with carpet covered bunks, liquid soap or paraffin wax on the bunks makes it easier to slide your boat on and off.



Boat-Ramp Etiquette

Always pull out of the way, prior to launching, to install drain plugs, put on lines, and load gear. That way, you won't clog up the ramp getting ready, while better-prepared boaters have to wait.


Timing Is Everything

Never pull into a ramp at the end of the day, tie up to the dock, and sit there blocking access for everyone else while your driver gets the tow vehicle. Instead, nose up to a pier, drop the driver, then back off and circle 100 yards or so away while you wait. This practice speeds up the process for everyone.


Eyes In The Back Of Your Head

A rear back-up camera takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you'll match up the ball and tongue in no time.


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