Boat ramp dangers in south floridaboat launching safety

Boat Launching Safety

In this article, I would like to address a safety issue many boaters are over looking. Boat launching safety, the art of getting your boat off the trailer and into the water without a mishap. I spend my weekends at many south florida marinas in an effort to grow our companies customer base. Every time i hand out my business cards to boaters at the ramp i witness the scariest things. Boat owners continually make poor decisions when putting their boats in the water. As a marine technician, i spend a lot of time at boat ramps of all qualities, and am well aware of the dangers involved in launching a boat on a slippery ramp. This past weekend i witnessed a boat owner launch not only his boat but also his new F150 pickup. With the environmental issues involved, the fines that boat owner will be responsible for will easily run into the thousands of dollars without even including the damaged vehicle.

Boat launching Guide

  • Always check the ramp condition prior to launch to find where the slippery area begins. Low tide will leave a much larger area of dangerous slippery concrete which you must not allow your rear wheels to enter.
  • Align your vehicle with the ramp and back into stage the vessel for launch. The stage area is the area one car length ahead of where you will stop to launch the boat.
  • While in the pre-stage area, remove all tiedowns, ropes etcetera and put the drain plug(s) in. If this is a float on type trailer, unhook the winch and security chain from the bow eye.
  • Prior to backing the vehicle into launch position, check the ramp again and tell your assistant to not let you back into the slippery area.
  • With your assistants guidance, back your vehicle SLOWLY down the ramp until the boat is either floating or you have reached the end of your safety zone.
  • UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD YOU LOCK YOU BRAKES TO HELP LAUNCH THE BOAT. That is the number one way of causing yourself a very bad day of boating.
  • Remain in the vehicle with brake applied as your assistant guides the boat off the trailer. If the boat fails to launch at this point, place the vehicle in drive with the parking brake engaged and have your assistant attempt to push the vessel off the trailer.
  • If you still cannot launch, check for a better ramp. Don't risk putting yourself and others in danger.
  • The major causes of boat ramp mishaps


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