No matter whether you are a new boat owner or a seasoned veteran, you should follow proper etiquette at the boat ramp. When boaters congregate at the ramp, if somebody doesn’t follow these standard practices, or isn’t prepared, chaos can ensue. Often time when these rules aren’t followed, it creates a ripple effect, causing longer lines, frustrating other boaters which lead to more mistakes and an even longer wait.
5 Tips to Help Ensure a Smooth Launch for Everybody
Following these unwritten rules, using common sense, and good manners will help to take the stress out of the situation for everybody. All of the boaters have the same goal: to get into the water and safely and fast as possible.
Be talkative and aware
Communication is essential. Make sure to talk to your guests before you head to the ramp to ensure that they don’t park in spaces that are reserved for boats and trailers, let them know what your plan is to load and unload your boat, and to let everybody know what they can do to help. If you articulate your plan ahead of time, it is more likely that everybody will know what they can do to help, or how to get out of the way to not bother others.
Load your boat ahead of time, and unload after you are out
One thing that we see often is people not knowing when the proper time is to load/unload their boat. Start loading you are waiting in line to get your boat to the ramp instead of doing it at the foot of the ramp. This is just being courteous of others. Don’t make anybody wait for you to load your boat so that you can head out; this is a surefire way to ruffle feathers.
Don’t leave your boat tied up your boat next to the ramp
Another thing that we see is somebody tying up their boat at the launch dock right next to the ramp, then parking their tow vehicle. This makes it so that the next person in line can’t launch until you get back. It’s not proper etiquette and should be avoided at all costs. Move your boat immediately to the far end of the dock so that there’s room for the next person.
Do not delay your launch
Here is another way to annoy fellow boaters boat at the ramp and at the gas dock: not launching your boat immediately, but instead waiting for your group to get back from something like using the bathrooms. It adds delay to your launch and will surely raise tempers.
Help out your fellow boaters
From time to time, we all need help. Make sure to keep an eye out and communicate with your fellow boaters. If you notice somebody struggling, or forgetting something, offer to help. A boater that is unfamiliar with procedures, or feels rushed, can lead to more mistakes, which at best creates a longer wait, and at worst can become a serious potential danger.
Besides the knowledge and skillset involved in launching a boat, there is also a big social aspect to properly launching a boat. Launching a boat is a skill that you develop over time; nobody is perfect right away. Keep that in mind next time you are at the ramp, and if you notice somebody struggling, offer to lend a hand or some advice. It creates a friendly environment for everybody.