Safe Boat Launching
April 6, 2016 2:07 PM | Tagged as Lake Springfield Marina, Launch ramp, Safety

   It’s getting to be that time of year again, soon every Saturday and Sunday will be spent on the water.  The lake will become busy and the ramps will become especially crowded.  Let’s go over boat launching safety and etiquette to refresh everyone’s memory.

   I know launching your boat can be the most stressful time of the day for most boaters.  The launches are busy; there are lines to get your boat in the water as well as lines to get your boat out of the water.  Make the most of this time and prepare your boat and trailer for the water.  Load the boat with all the coolers, towels, personal items, and equipment you will need for the day. Make sure the lower unit is raised to avoid scraping on the ramp.  Install the drain plug.  Release the securing straps.  Disconnect the trailer lights, and rig a line to avoid drifting after the boat is launched.  This is also a great time to check the battery to make sure it is charged.  Taking the time to prepare will make for a speedy launch and make room for other boaters.  Ramp etiquette is very important and will keep you in good standing with the other boaters around.

   Right before launching your boat, check the ramp conditions to find where the slippery area begins.  Roll down all the windows of the vehicle and have everyone, including pets, get out.  This is a safety precaution, in case something should go wrong, you will be able to escape the vehicle.  Also, make sure mobile devices are secured in a safe place and not stored in your pockets.  Nothing ruins your day like losing a phone to the water.  If you are new to boating you may want to practice backing your trailer up in your driveway or an empty parking lot before the big day (the first busy Saturday in the summer).  A helpful tip for maneuvering a trailer is to push the bottom of your car’s steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go.  While backing down the ramp, make sure to keep a tire stop handy in case you should need it.  Once the boat is floating, leave the engine of your vehicle running and don’t forget to set the parking brake.  Release the winch line and reverse the boat slowly off the trailer.

   As ramp etiquette goes, move the boat to a less crowded area to pick up your passengers.  Quickly get the vehicle out of the way of the ramp and to a designated trailer parking area.  I cannot say it enough, do not linger in the ramp area.  This will anger your fellow boaters.  If you follow these tips, you will be sure to have a safe summer of boat launching.  We look forward to seeing you all very soon at Lake Springfield Marina.     

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