How To Launch a Boat By Yourself

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer… which means boating season is here! But before you can enjoy your summer full of boating, you’ll have to launch it into the lake. 

Launching a boat can be one of the most difficult and stressful aspects of boating. This stress only gets worse if you’re launching a boat without any other helpers.

But don’t worry, today’s post has you covered! You will know just how to launch a boat by yourself…

What to bring when you launch & load the boat by yourself- 

Boat Launches Around Southern Saratoga County

1) A rope with a clamp to attach to your truck (mine attaches from my anchor to my truck)

2) A pre-launch checklist if you are new to boating. 

3) A stake, stick, anything to hook your boat onto while you drive the truck away (only if there are no poles, trees, etc.. to latch to!

4) Boots – if you don’t have a drotto latch or don’t want to stand on the tongue (or don’t mind getting wet). Totally optional but can be helpful for new boaters.

  1. Prepping your Boat at Home-

Preparation is key when wanting to launch a boat by yourself. 

  • Start by hooking up the garden hose to your boat motor and make sure it runs at home before getting to the ramp fully loaded only to learn the boat motor isn’t running.
  • Load up all of your gear at the house. Lures, Ice, Rods, Beer, or whatever else you want for a day on the water.
  • Install the boat plug BEFORE leaving the house. Some people will say to do it at the ramp to drain any water from the bilge. I prefer to do it at the house first just to make sure I don’t overlook this step at the ramp when trying to hurry and get in/out of the water quickly.
  1. Prepping your Boat on the Ramp-
  • Find a staging area away from the ramp and begin your final pre-launch preparations.
  • Fix your antenna to its upright position.
  • Turn on your battery switches.
  • Load your safety equipment.
  • Load all other personal and essential gear for your trip.
  • Tie on your boat fenders.
  • Remove all safety straps and tie-downs. Leave the winch strap loosely connected.
  • Double-check that your drain plug is installed properly.

Next, you need a dock line with loops on either end. Put one loop over the metal trailer stand where the winch is located. Attach the other loop end to your bow cleat making sure both ends are secure.

This line should have slack in it because when you launch the boat, this is what is going to hold the boat when you back it into the water and let it slide into the water.

Personalized Dock Lines
  1. Approach the Boat Ramp-

Now that you have all the tedious tasks behind you, you can focus on the last few steps required to safely launch your boat. Back your boat to the water’s edge to begin to stage your launch. Set your parking brake and put the car in park. Before unhooking the bow of the boat from the winch cable, you need to tie a dock line from the bow of your boat to your tow vehicle. Measure the distance from your vehicle to your boat to ensure you have the appropriate length of rope. This rope will act as a substitute for having an additional person in the boat and will allow you to maneuver your boat safely to the dock once it is in the water. Tie one end to a bow cleat and the other securely to your vehicle.

  1. Launch the Boat-

You are now ready to disconnect your winch cable from the bow of your boat. Check to make sure the dock line is securely tied to both ends then hop back in your vehicle for launch. Back your boat into the water until you see the boat start to float up from the trailer. Once the boat begins to float, give the brakes a firm press to help fully release the boat from the trailer. Once your boat has broken free, park the vehicle (making sure to set your parking brake) and untie the end of the dock line attached to your vehicle. Use the dock line to safely maneuver to the dock or other access point, and secure your boat to a dock cleat. Once the boat is clear, return to your vehicle to pull away and park.

  1. Enjoy your Day-

You have now launched your boat all by yourself, go park your trailer vehicle so you can get ready to relax on your boat at your new lakefront home!

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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