Home

 

Obituaries

 

Art & Leisure

 

Calendars

 

Puzzle Page

 

Coupons

Cover Story

Local

Sports

Outdoors

Classifieds

Contact Us

 

Fishing with Mike O'Brien

by Mike O'Brien
Launch Ramp Protocol
     

I waited, and waited, and waited. I circled the boat around and around until dizziness set in. At one point I even shut the motor off. It seemed to take forever for the people at the launch to get their boat in the water — 15 minutes in all. They backed the boat down the ramp at a speed similar to a snail headed to its own funeral. In addition, after they had the boat in the water, three trips were made to retrieve fishing gear from their car — five more minutes passed. In frustration, I finally called out, “Hey, this is a boat launch, not a dock,” checking my Irish temper as best circumstances would permit. My comment was acknowledged, as they then sped the process along.
A 20-minute wait at the doctor’s office or for a fish to bite might not seem prolonged, but waiting that length of time to put in or take out at a boat launch is pure frustration. Sure there are times when a line of boats will make for a considerable wait, but that doesn’t happen at local launch sites very often.
For most people, free time is at a premium. The lack of it seems to remove common courtesy from everyday life. However, boating and fishing are supposed to be relaxing, with the day beginning and our attitudes often formed at the boat launch. No doubt, new boaters need to be educated in proper boat launch etiquette, but common sense goes a long way.
First, if you do not have much experience backing a trailer up, practice in a large, empty parking lot before getting to the boat launch. Don’t make others wait, or be their entertainment for the day. When backing up, grab the bottom of the steering wheel, the trailer will go in the direction you move your hand. Offering assistance to someone in need is usually well received.
Don’t block the ramp. Another party might show up and be ready to launch. Some boaters have done this so many times they have it down to a regimented routine, taking only a couple of minutes to get their boat in the water and be on their way. Delays at the boat launch, at least, cause nasty stares. I have observed situations escalate into a verbal war, and have heard about people actually becoming physical.
Before the boat is in position on the ramp, remove the tie-down straps, attach the launch rope if needed and basically ready the boat to take off. Everything should be transferred from the tow vehicle before the boat is on the ramp or in the water. This includes coolers, PFDs — life jackets, fishing equipment, and any personal items. Anything needed for your day on the water should be on board before you tie up the ramp and get the bottom of your boat wet. If it helps, make a checklist.
Don’t unhook the boat from the winch until after it is over the water. Over the years, I have seen several boats sitting on the concrete. If possible, secure the boat out of the way of the launch until the tow vehicle and trailer are parked. This leaves the ramp open for other boaters. Remember, that it is a launch — not a dock.
The same goes for take out time, as well. Other boaters might be waiting to take out or put in. Drop off the person who will get the tow vehicle from the parking lot and wait for them in an out-of-the-way location. Get the boat on the trailer as quickly as possible. The ramp is not the place to work on your boat or discuss the day’s events. Once the boat is on the trailer, secure the safety chain to the bow eye and pull clear of the ramp. Then attach tie-down straps, check lights, and transfer needed items back to the tow vehicle.
Another frustration is when a boat approaches the launch or passes by too fast. The wake created can damage other boats, as they slam into the trailer or dock. This wave action can also make getting a boat on or off a trailer more challenging. I recall watching a boater take a bad fall at a launch as a large wave created by a fast-moving boat rocked his boat violently. Be aware of your boat’s wake and how it might be affecting others.
If people are meeting you at the launch, make sure they are aware that trailer-parking spaces are for tow vehicles and trailers only. They should park their vehicle accordingly.
At the boat launch, manners matter. Respect others and use a little common sense. Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to put the plug in the boat before you launch!




 
 
Click on a writer's photo below to read their articles.
 
 
Jim Webb, Jr.
From The Publisher
 
Steph Nordstrom
From The Editor
 
Fishing With
Mike O'Brien
 
Outdoors With
Ken Hunter
 
Scott on Sports
Scott Lowery
 
Sporting Matters
Jamie Spencer
 
The Jaded Eye
Gerry Ayers
 
Faith Conversations
Tim Hartzell
 
 
 
 
Home
 
Obituaries
 
Sports
 
Calendars
 
Puzzle Page
 
Coupons
 
Cover Story
Local News
Art & Leisure
Outdoors
Classifieds
Contact Us