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Ramp Rage

ramp rage

By Nic DiGravio

I have been boating for over 20 years now and I have seen my share of "ramp rage" at boat launches. Almost every lake I go to launch my boat I see someone in the mix holding up the whole process. Tempers and tensions get hotter by the minute. Then comes "#@###@YOU#@###STU#@#@#.........". All this doesn't have to happen if the proper etiquette is used.

I have witnessed people in their boats at the ramp waiting for their trailer to show up from the other side of the parking lot. Mean while, two trailers that are ready to pick up their boats have to wait up to 20 minutes while the boat in the launch ramp waits for their trailer, just because they were FIRST! You would be surprised how many times this has happened.

One evening as I waited for a friend at a boat launch I witnessed about 98% of the boat owners pulling their pant legs up, taking their shoes off, getting into the water and pulling their heavy boats onto the trailer and then winching the rest. If you have to get into the water and pull your boat onto the trailer there is something wrong with the trailer set up. With a proper trailer setup you should be able to drive your boat on to the trailer and pull it out of the water in one motion. Then, when you park the truck and boat you should be able to winch it the rest of the way. Mind you, if you have a roller trailer, be sure that when you drive it on the trailer you LOCK it in place, or you will loose the boa

These scenarios have been going on for many years now and still continue to this day. If we all took the time to prepare the boat for launching, the busy ramp would function smooth as silk. If a bass tournament can have up to100 boats launching in no time flat, with no arguments or confusion, then a normal day at the ramp should move 'lickety split' Right? Hmmm............

These are the steps I follow when launching and trailering my boat:

Now, some of you are probably saying, "My trailer is too old to be driving my boat on to". Let me tell you, you can make a perfectly functional bunk trailer out of the one you already have by putting 2 by 6 pads, wrapped in carpet, in the place of those old 'washing machine' rollers that used to be there. Then, get yourself some stabilizers and you're off to the races. This reconditioning of your trailer is definitely cheaper than buying a new one. If you want, put a little flag on the front winch bumper so that it's easier to aim when you are trailering the boat. Try not to put too much of your trailer into the water because your boat won't find it's 'groove'. For that matter, not enough isn't good either. Take some time on a ramp that you know is not busy to practice so you can find the right positioning of the trailer for your boat. Once you find that magic setting it will be embedded in your head and you know you can use it because it WORKS!

The next time you go to your favorite lake and see someone having problems launching or trailering their boat, get out there and give them a hand. Chances are they are new at this and require your 'expertise'. If we all take the time to prepare our boats away from the ramp and launch only when we're ready, "Ramp Rage" will cease to exist. Safe boating!

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