Video: How NOT to Launch a Boat

For anglers throughout much of the country, spring is the start of boating season. There’s a right way and a wrong way to launch a boat. Here’s what NOT to do.

Video: How NOT to Launch a Boat

If you live in the southern half of the United States, your boating season never ends. In my home state of Minnesota, our lakes and rivers become ice covered in the winter. And the same is true in other northern tier states. That means anglers like me must store our boats for a few months, then prep them in spring for the open-water season.

In the 3.5-minute YouTube video below, you’ll learn how NOT to launch a boat. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never made a mistake at the boat ramp, but thankfully my errors have been minor. 

Specifically, twice I’ve forgotten to remove the two transom straps when launching my Skeeter fiberglass boat (launching it solo). Both times it took me a few seconds to realize I had a problem when the boat failed to float off the trailer; I was watching the scene through my driver’s side rearview mirror. The solution was easy — drive my pickup forward until the boat and trailer were out of the water, then remove the straps. In both cases, I hadn’t removed the winch strap.

From what I’ve observed at boat ramps throughout the Midwest and Canada, the most common error is forgetting to install a boat’s drain plug. If you notice it early in the launching process, it’s not a big hassle, but it can be a major headache if you own a big boat and don’t notice it for several minutes.

The host of the video provides a few helpful tips for properly launching a boat. Backing up a boat trailer is certainly a learned skill, so practice if it’s new to you.

Tip: Visit a large parking lot, place two 5-gallon pails at a width that approximates a boat ramp, and practice backing up your boat and trailer between the pails. Practice approaching the pails from straight on, as well as both sides, because sometimes you must back up a trailer around corners, etc.

Note: While most of the clips highlighted in the compilation video below might make you laugh, launching a boat is a dangerous activity if not done correctly. At the 1:14 mark of the video, the person attempting to launch his boat solo is nearly run over when his SUV begins rolling back toward the water. Scary!

Be careful this fishing season, on the water and at the boat ramp.


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