It was “almost” the end to a perfect day on the water.
As the sun was setting, the Carter family returned to the public boat launch to take their boat out and head home. Since the ramp was clear, they eased beside the dock, tied off, and proceeded to get their vehicle. The ramp was clear, no boats coming or going, and allowed for enough time for Mr. Carter to help his wife and kids get out of boat onto the dock. As he walked to get his truck another vehicle pulled in and started to back down the ramp in an effort to launch a boat.
“This surprised me because he could see that our boat was tied off and ready to be taken out,” Mr. Carter said. “I kindly asked him to let us get our boat out and we would be out of his way.”
The next several minutes resulted a mess of confusion for several people. The man refused to move his vehicle and trailer from the ramp, got out of his vehicle, took the lines from Mr. Carter’s wife and moved the boat around to the end of the dock. As a basic rule in boating, everyone should know that you don’t take it in your own hands to do anything with another person’s boat without their permission.
The man then launched his own boat almost hitting Mr. Carter’s bow. By this time, a crowd had gathered telling the man he was in the wrong and that he should be considerate of how he launches a boat at a public ramp.
With this in mind, Sea Tow Captains offered the following tips for utilizing public boat launches:
- Always wait your turn.
- When launching your boat, make sure that no one has been waiting to take their boat out of the water. When returning, make sure that no one has been waiting to launch their boat. A public boat ramp should be a give and take of people coming and going in an orderly fashion.
- Prepare your boat by removing the stern straps, pumping the fuel primer ball, and loading everything from your vehicle into the boat, before backing down the ramp.
- Once launched, walk or pilot the boat to the end of the dock where it is out of the way of other boats coming and going.
- If you have trouble starting your engine, walk the boat around to the opposite side of the ramp if possible, or to an area out of the way of the ramp to work on the motor.
- Practice common courtesy and if possible help others launching a boat by themselves, or families with kids.
Part of having a successful day on the water is ending it without issue at the boat ramp. What tips or advice do you have to boaters using a public ramp? Please share your thoughts below.