You can easily launch your boat into the water at the boat ramp with out any problems with nobody helping you, if you know what to do and with a little practice. If you have followed our tips we gave in our previous article about what to do to get your boat and trailer ready to go launch it then go to the boat ramp and follow these tips on putting it in the water.
Once you get there if you have never used that particular ramp before, park your rig off to the side out of the way and get out and check the ramp and under water bottom you are going to back the trailer down into. It should not be too steep a grade or too shallow of water to get all the way in with your trailer. Water levels can change. There might not be enough water to launch one day but maybe not a few days later. Once you have determined that everything looks good you can get ready to back your trailer into the water. First thing to do is take off the trailer tie downs then double check to make sure you have the hull plug secured into the boat and that your boat propeller is properly installed on the prop shaft. If you have any gear that needs to be put in the boat you should do it now and stow the stuff away so you won’t be tripping over it when you get in the boat.
There are two types of trailers. Bunk trailers have the boat resting on carpet covered wood or aluminum rails. Roller trailers have the boat on a series of rubber rollers Each type of trailer has both different and similar ways to launch your boat. If there is a dock at the ramp you can back your rig into the water next to the dock with the boat still connected to the trailer. If you have a bunk trailer you need to get the trailer into the water far enough until the boat stern just starts to float. With roller trailers you don’t need to go in the water as far because the boat will easily roll off the trailer instead of having it slide off with a bunk trailer.
Once you get this far, there are now two ways to get the boat off the trailer and totally away and in the water. The first way you secure a rope to the front of the boat on a cleate. Then you disconnect the boat at the bow stand and simply push the boat off the trailer. Bunk trailers usually take a little more pushing effort. Then with the rope you guide the boat to the dock and tie it up. The second way is for the more experienced boater and might take some practice. Once the trailer is in the water from the dock get in the boat, if you have an outboard motor put it in normal driving position, if you have a sterndrive put the lower unit in the down position ( Turn on the blower motor if so equipped for a few minutes). Start the boat and put it in forward gear with little or no throttle so the boat prop will be pushing the boat up against the bowstand. You then can get out and disconnect the boat from the trailer and with the forward motion of the boat going on, it should not roll off or slide off the trailer. You then get in the boat put it in reverse and drive it off the trailer and to the dock and tie it off. Go park your tow vehicle and trailer now, get back to the boat and take off. Simple.
If you have no dock to use, the drive off method is not recommended because it might be too hard to get in and out of the boat without hurting yourself. Just push the boat off the trailer and beach it instead of tying to a dock.