View Full Version : launching alone

05-02-2004, 02:01 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on an easy way to launch a 20 foot boat when your alone? I have done it many times with another person backing me down the ramp while I'm in the boat but never gave it much thought on how I can do it alone.

05-02-2004, 08:39 PM
Here's what I do:
Get the boat ready to go before you get to the ramp. Have it untied except for the one at the bow, key in the ignition, the whole 9.
Back the trailer in just enough to be able to back the boat off it.
Hop in the boat, back it off the trailer.
Dock the boat ASAP somewhere near the ramp.
Go park your truck and trailer.
Walk back to the dock and go for a rip on the lake.

Once you do it a few times, it is a piece of cake.

05-02-2004, 08:56 PM
You shouldn't use the boat engine to power the boat off the trailer because it undermines the base of the ramp. It's best to have a long line tied to the bow and push the boat off the trailer then walk it over to the dock, tie it up, and pull the trailer out. If you have an all-roller trailer it's pretty easy to roll the boat off once you unhook the winch hook.

Joe Kerr
05-03-2004, 02:30 AM
Often it depends on the kind of trailer you have and the conditions at the launch ramp you choose. In addition to the information already posted for you here's one of the ways I launch.

I get the boat ready (check that drain plug of course). Get all my gear on board.

Back the trailer down the ramp to a spot just before it starts to float. Put a stern line on and tie it to a dock post with some slack. Also a line on the bow (or mid cleat) depending on your trailer, boat and the ramp.

Back the trailer down a little more, slowly. The back of the boat will start to float. I give the vehicle a little jerk by quickly applying the brakes. The boat usually floats off the trailer and is held in place by the lines I've placed.

Again it depends on the ramp and how crowded it is. I may move the boat and then park the trailer or tie the boat better and then park the trailer.

If you have any doubts then feel free to ask another boater for help.

The real question is, why can't you get your wife or significant other to get in the water and do the launching? :look:

Good luck and happy boating

05-03-2004, 09:15 AM
My wife is the one that usually backs me down the ramp. We have a new baby and she dosen't want to come we with me this week. I'm itching to go out!!

Throbbin Rods
05-04-2004, 07:01 AM
Practice Practice Practice. I have a Starcraft Islander 190V, a fairly large and heavy boat. I launch and load alone 90% of the time. At the approach to the launch get everything ready including a long dock line off the bow. Remove any transom straps or gunwale straps. Unplug the trailer lights. When it's your turn back the boat in till the water is just under the tops of your trailer's fenders. Get out and unhook the safety strap and winch. Push the boat off and pull it out of the way to tie up. Get in your rig and drive it away so the next person can do the same. I am consistently faster than the guys with smaller boats who don't practice practice practice. If you are not sure fo your trailer maneuvering skills, find an empty parking lot some Sunday morning and set out some cones. Practice backing through them from several different approaches and angles. One tip is to place your right hand at the bottom of your steering wheel and the turn the wheel in the direction you wish the boat to go. Happy boating and if I see you on the launch you can be sure I'll offer to help.
Throbbin Rods

meredith necker
05-04-2004, 12:27 PM
That won't work very well if the launch ramp is too shallow. Just wondering how you manage to get into the boat when it is on the trailer in the water. I would advise anyone trying this to make absolutely sure their battery is up and that they have a paddle.

05-04-2004, 06:51 PM
Thats the thing, getting into the boat while the trailer is already in the water isn't an easy thing to do. Going into the 45 deg water isn't something that I want to do also. So it seems like roping the boat to the dock with a long line an jerking the boat off the bunks is the best way. I launch at Meredith public docks and there is a small dock just off to the side of the ramp. Thanks for your feedback!

05-05-2004, 07:19 AM
I launch mine the way Joe Kerr does it. I haven't received any slack from people behind me because I'm usually faster than most couples. It works and like Kevin Plante said, once you do it a few times, it's a piece of cake. When I'm by myself, I usually launch at the town ramp in Merideth or Center Harbor because of the parking situation and steepness of the ramps.

Sandy Beach
05-05-2004, 09:08 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions on an easy way to launch a 20 foot boat when your alone? I have done it many times with another person backing me down the ramp while I'm in the boat but never gave it much thought on how I can do it alone.

You now have methods to launch your boat by yourself. Have you thought about going solo getting the boat out of the water?
Your trip is not done until the boat is back on the trailer and you are on the way home. Or do you have that all planned out? How will you get to the point where you drive your boat on to the trailer? Then what will you do?

If all else fails, stop by your local boat yard and ask them to hoist your boat from the trailer and drop it in the water while you park and do the reverse on your way home. It will cost a few bucks but is the easy way out.

See you on the lake or the beach or the forum :) .
Sandy Beach

Seaplane Pilot
05-06-2004, 08:58 AM
I saw the most amazing thing 2 weeks ago at Harilla Landing. A gentleman pulled his Boston Whaler (approximately 14') up on the launch ramp from the water, pulled out a wheelchair, hopped in and wheeled himself up the hill. He came back down in his pickup truck, and backed his boat trailer into the water. He then jumped back in his wheelchair, tied the boat line to the chair, and pushed the boat back out into the water. He was manuevering the boat with the line, but there was a little bit of wind so it took him a couple of tries but he finally got the boat lined up on the trailer. He cranked the boat up on the trailer from his wheelchair, got back in his truck and drove away. He was not alone...he had his dog with him. I was totally impressed with what I witnessed. That was proof positive that a boat can be launched with one person - from a wheelchair.

05-06-2004, 09:33 AM
Wow, that is amazing since my husband and I sometimes have difficulty and we have four good legs! :rolleye1:

Throbbin Rods
05-06-2004, 05:05 PM
That would be my good buddy, the Tin Troller. Son of a gun catches all the fish too! He has an average of 6 or 8 fish per trip so far this year.

05-07-2004, 04:02 PM
Went out yesterday. Backed down the ramp, made my way across the tougue of the trailer, climbed over the bow and backed it down. Wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. If the dock on the side was there it would have been easier. Does anyone know when they put the dock next to the ramp in the water?