A boat launch can be a daunting experience for someone who has never done it before. At a public launch, you might feel rushed to launch your boat as quickly as possible in order to avoid embarrassment.
Whether you’re launching a boat alone or with friends, at a public or private launch area, we walk you through the steps for launching a boat without any unfortunate mishaps.
Before getting to the fundamentals of launching your boat, you should have a good amount of practice backing up with your boat trailer. Boaters backing into the loading area too quickly can easily lose control of their trailer.
Try backing up your trailer in an empty area like a parking lot to avoid situations like these and become familiar with the way your trailer handles. After a few days of practice, you should get the hang of reversing your vehicle in a straight line without jackknifing the trailer.
Since public launch etiquette generally requires you to be quick and efficient, you should always prepare your boat before getting on the ramp. Upon arriving at your launch site, park in an accessible area and get everything organized:
When you’re ready to launch your boat, you will need to align the trailer so the boat can be reversed straight down the ramp. This is where your earlier practice will come in handy.
Once your parking brake is safely engaged and the stern of your boat is floating in the water, it is time to get your boat off the trailer. Since these final steps may require you to walk into the water, it is recommended to wear waterproof footwear or boots when removing your boat from the trailer.
Now that you know how to launch a boat by yourself or with a helper, you should follow the old adage that practice makes perfect. After a few successful launches, you will have mastered the art of launching a boat from a trailer and your flawless launch etiquette will much appreciated by your fellow boaters.
Keep in mind that you must obtain the Pleasure Craft Operator Card if you want to legally operate a boat on Canada’s waterways. This card is available when you purchase an online boating license in Canada and pass the official online boating course offered by Drive a Boat Canada.