Trailer Boating

Topic: What not to say at a boat ramp
BoatUS Member
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Joined: 24 September 2006
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Posts: 75
Posted: 28 March 2010 at 2:50pm | IP Logged
Everybody's got a story like this. But it still amazes me when you see it
unfold on the ramp...

Yesterday, we're coming back from wakeboarding. This other 20' SeaRay
bowrider with a wakeboard tower, with a husband/wife with a baby and 4
year old are coming back from a cruise on the lake. It looked like they
were relatively new boaters with a new boat.

The husband is doing most of the work getting the boat on the trailer, he
never steps foot in the boat, but rather drags it onto the bunks using the
bowline and winch's it 3' onto the trailer. We watch this as my wife drives
our boat onto the bunks, I crank it the last 6 inches, and pull the boat out
with the truck.

I then hear that unforgettable sound... I look to my left and see the guy's
outdrive scrape the ramp as they left it down. I yell out my window
"STOP".   Luckily, the ramp is at a steep angle, it only scraped a short
distance and was actually about 2 inches off the pavement when he
stopped. In all actuality, it probably didn't do much damage all things

What happened next left my wife and I's jaw on the floor. The guy gets
out with this bewildered look on his face, then looks at his wife and says
at the top of his lungs "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO

My wife and I both looked at each other and agreed: "You won't have to
tell her any more. Consider this the last time as the husband will just
have to learn to wakeboard by all by himself as this was the last time she
will go boating with him".

Finding a routine to launch and retrieve a boat is really important. It
doesn't have to be a 50/50 split on work, but everybody should know the
expectations. My wife drives the boat on our trailer unless it's really bad
weather. I hook the boat to the trailer and always ask her, as a second
check, "did you bring up the outdrive". Unless she answers "yes", I don't
pull the boat out. She's also one heck of a good wakeboard boat driver. I
guess I'm a pretty lucky guy.
Edited by Submariner on 28 March 2010 at 2:51pm

New Beginning, 2006 Maxum 2200 SR3, 260HP 5L MPI Merc.
Seattle, WA
BoatUS Member
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Joined: 28 February 2010
Location: East Providence, RI
Posts: 112
Posted: 28 March 2010 at 6:40pm | IP Logged

I agree totally, a plan and good comunication with your wife or anyone that is with you is a must. Me and my wife have a great system from the time we leave the driveway at home till we return home. She always puts the drive up and shuts down the batteries before I return with the trailer.

We see morons plenty of times. We average 5 min from the time we touch the dock till the time the boat is on the trailer and out of the way into the parking lot to lock it down. I have gotten many compliments on how fast and professional we are.


"Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
1996 Four Winns Vista 238 "Casper's Toy Too"
Audrey II
BoatUS Member
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Joined: 27 December 2009
Location: Haverstraw, NY
Posts: 2618
Posted: 28 March 2010 at 6:54pm | IP Logged
Good communications is key in boating whether trailering or docking I have seen many fight over what he said she should do.  Heck I have been in a few myself.  Anchoring is another source for a good fight.  I have learned to claim down a bit and my wife has gotten for good a handling the lines there in no more fighting we come and go and it's so quite sometimes my neighbors don't even notice we have returned.
Then there are the new boaters that the whole dock have to come and help in just to protect their own boats. It can be amusing it times.  

96' 440 Trojan express

BoatUS Member
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Joined: 24 September 2006
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Posts: 75
Posted: 29 March 2010 at 1:48pm | IP Logged
Oh yeah, and another thing... Before the above all transpired, they docked the boat, got off to get the tow vehicle, and I watched their little one (4 or 5 year old) wandering around the boat ramp/dock without a life jacket.  Apparently, those things are only needed on a boat. sigh...

New Beginning, 2006 Maxum 2200 SR3, 260HP 5L MPI Merc.
Seattle, WA
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Joined: 30 December 2007
Location: Kailua Hawaii
Posts: 128
Posted: 04 June 2010 at 7:47pm | IP Logged

We have a written list of things to do before the boat is launched, before we drop the anchor, before we raise the anchor, before we get to port, and before we leave the boat. It is a 38' boat, so the list is pretty long.

It helps a lot. Before the list we had an informal approach, and I got tired of running around doing stuff while everyone else was idle. Now we have a balanced approach, and it is amazing how much more quickly we are able to get through the various maneuvers.

Bruce Huddleston
Kailua Hawaii
2006 Maxum SY 3500

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