Tying Up at the Pier
Remember the part of the pre-launch checklist about prepping the docklines? Now they’ll be close at hand and ready for you to use them. Note that whenever possible, it’s considered polite to tie the boat up as far as possible from the launch point so other trailer boaters can still use the ramp while you park your tow vehicle. Once you’ve done so, cast off those lines and enjoy your time on the water.
Retrieving a Boat at the Launch Ramp
Retrieving a boat is more or less following all of the above steps in reverse. Getting the boat onto the trailer is certainly the most complicated part, but it’s less complex if you remember to remain flexible; as with launching, the process can differ a bit depending on variables like tidal flows and water levels. In most cases it’s best to drive the bow of the boat slowly over the center of the trailer until it stops, and if it goes on off-center, gently back off and try again.
Once the boat stops you can apply a bit of power with the steering wheel centered to help it move forward until the bow reaches the bow stop. You want the bow to be firmly touching the stop prior to trailering, but always use the minimal amount of power necessary to get the job done.
If the bow stops short, a buddy might be necessary to help you attach the winch strap and crank the winch a bit to help. Then, attach the safety chain to the bow eye, and you can pull your rig away from the ramp to secure the boat for the road.
Okay, new boater, those are the basics of how to launch a boat from a trailer and retrieve your boat from the water. We can’t guarantee that every trip will go smooth as silk, but we can promise you one thing: Practice makes perfect! You and your family are in for endless fun and adventure out on the water.