1-man Boat Launching Tips?

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by Mr.T, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Haven't had the occasion yet to launch my boat alone, but expect that will become a regular occurrence this summer. I fish mostly at a Corps of Engineers lake and the ramps are generally 3 trailers wide, with docks on either side.

    Looking for tips, tricks, suggestions, etc. to make it easier, faster, safer and less likely to irritate the other folks waiting in line at the boat ramp.

    Especially wondering what the "right" way is for leaving the boat unattended while parking or retrieving the trailer?
     
  2. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    I tie a long rope to an anchor and put it out on shore then back in.
    Bill
     

  3. gadzooks

    gadzooks New Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    State:
    Kingwood, Tx (Houston)
    The only safe way to leave your boat to park the vehicle and trailer is to be sure that none of your gear is in plain site. That may mean leaving it in the vehicle and carrying it down after you park. Its not usually the boat people will take in the time it takes to park the car and get back to the boat, but your gear. One word of advice on leaving your vehicle parked at the launch site, do not leave anything out that can be used to bust out a window.
     
  4. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Always prep the boat for launch somewhere else than the ramp.Get it ready before you get in line.I used a rope with clips on both ends to launch.One clip to the boat eye the other went through a hole in the trailer.The rope was about 40 ft.Coil the rope on your front deck or somewhere to the front of the boat.When you back down and the boat comes off the trailer it will pay out smoothly and you have time to get out grab the rope and secure the boat to the dock OR pull it over to the shoreline and secure it.Clear the ramp as quickly as possible and go park.Coming back in don't try and stow gear when you get back on the trailer,pull out and out of the way to do your post fishing chores.Most of the COE ramps have a dock of some sort and I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone tie their boat up to the dock inside the launch bay.OR leave their wife holding the boat inside the bay.Always make sure your rope is securely tied to the clips.Knots come undone and it is embarassing to have to swim after the boat or worse have someone carry you out to it.A single person that is organized,and reasonably mobile can launch and clear just as fast as a couple of buddies,the key word is organized.
     
  5. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,538
    State:
    Greer, SC
    Name:
    Pat Chaney
    That's a great question, Mr. T! I've owned my boat for less than 1 year and have been un/loading it by myself most of that time, which used to make me very anxious. From observing others, this is what I've learned: 1. Use a ramp on a side (on odd-numbered ramps, if there is no dock nearby), so you can beach it and get back to your vehicle quickly. Make sure that the boat won't float away (that's happened to me twice) if there's any wind (use your anchor, or tie-up well to the dock). 2. When you unload it, make sure that all you have to do is float it off of the trailer - no last minute loading of equipment while on the ramp. 3. When trailering at the end of the day, just do the reverse. Unload euipment & tie down once you're off of the ramp & in the parking lot. Before I got my trailer guide-ons, if there was any wind it would take me several tries to get my boat positioned the right way, so I would wait until there weren't so many people waiting. But now I can get in on the trailer on the 1st try. Good Luck!!!
     
  6. Rockjumper

    Rockjumper New Member

    Messages:
    358
    State:
    Parker,Pennsylvania
    Prep your boat other than the launch, and before you dock to take out.

    When unloading, I just back down beside the dock and stop just before the front of the boat is over the water and unhook my saftey chain and strap. Then take a rope and tie it to the dock or my trailer and put the boat in. About 20ft rope. Pull out and stop and tie to dock or anchor to shore and then go park.

    Taking out, I put the rear bunks just out of the water and the front roller just about water level. I motor up on the tailer and tie the winch strap on and if it isn't all the way on, I crank it on and jump on down on the trailer into the bed of the truck. Probally good idea to use your parking brake also.

    Just remember, I have met alot of nice people at the launch. Nobody wants to get embaressed. I have helped people back there trailer down the launch and have had people help me. Don't get into "hurried" rush. You could get into a costly repair bill. Take your time, it won't take to long.

    I have left my boat unattended. Because I had to. No body bothered my stuff, but I guess there is always a first.

    DON'T FORGET TO PUT THE PLUG IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. 1stpalindrone

    1stpalindrone New Member

    Messages:
    84
    State:
    Denton, Texas
    Hmmm.. I've been launchin my boat soley for awhile now. I've tried several diff. things but my easiest is using a non-popular ramp or a multi lane ramp as not to block too much for too long. I've also found people arent as impatient watching one guy launching. Anyway, I prep and load everything before hitting the ramp. I unhook everything but the saftey chain and back far enough into the h20 that my boat is just about to come off and the engine is in enough to run it. I park, with brake on and in gear, shut off the truck climb from the bed to the nose of the boat and then into drivers seat. I warm up my engine until I know I'll have no problems once off the trailer and then unhook the safety chain. With a little coaxing mine comes off pretty easy with a little gas in REV. I then tie up at the dock, run to the truck and park and run back to the dock. I've never had fisherman steal from me or get mad for taking too long, although like I said I use a non-popular ramp.:cool:
    Lucas
     
  8. gottafish

    gottafish New Member

    Messages:
    308
    State:
    Chesapeake, VA
    I have a loop in the end of my bowline which I attach to the bow support post on the front of the trailer. Back down deep enough to float the boat off then pull the trailer out of the water enough to get the hubs out of the water to reduce water intrusion. Climb out, remove the rope from the trailer and pull the boat out of the way and tie off to the dock or on the bank or wherever. I then park the truck, get back to the boat and I'm gone. Doesn't take more than a couple of minutes and it's nearly as easy as launching with a partner.

    Be sure not to prep your boat at the ramp. Do it out of the way before you back down.

    /Scott
     
  9. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    When I launch alone, I get in and out pretty quick. It's probably easier with a small boat.

    In the parking lot (away from the ramp), I check the drain plug, the battery connections, lift the motor, and get all my gear in the boat. I'll unhook my tie down straps, and let out several feet of the safety rope from the trailer winch. (My boat never slides off my carpeted bunks unless it's floating.)

    I back down the ramp until the boat just starts to float. I stop, climb out on the trailer tongue, grab my front anchor and give it a toss someplace safe. Then I unhook the safety rope and gently push the boat off the trailer. If the boat is already "floating away", I use the safety rope to pull it close enough to get the anchor to toss and gently push the boat back away as mentioned above. If it's windy, I might tie the anchor rope off real quick to be sure the boat doesn't take-off.

    I quickly park, and climb into the boat and move away from the launch before starting the motor and arranging things where they need to be.

    There's probably a dozen ways to launch, but the key thing for me is having everything you need in the boat before launching so I can park, jump in the boat, and start fishing...



    Shawn
     
  10. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    i launch alot by my self, so i stop short of the ramp (where others can go around if needed) and prep. first thing i do is put in plug. i don't dieviate from this. if i can't find it i look. i do not do anything else till its located and in. then i remove straps from the rear of the boat and motor and un hook the chain. i leave winch attached and tight. i put rods tackle ect in the boat in a safe position as to not rip in 1/2 when i dock. get all clothes and camera and phone and put on the dash of boat or in glove comp. doing this on the ramp or dock can lead to wet ruined or lost equip,. then un plug lights. i don't have to go through this step any more though since i got sealed led's.

    then go and back it down just enough so i can walk dry behind boat. then i get out and double check plug, make sure straps are off and all gear is in. then since i lack power trim i now raise outdoard and drop the tow support and insert my position rod and lower motor. back her in till she just bigins to ease off trailer and climb on the tounge and start her up. chech again to the back to make sure no water is comming in. then dock and pull truck up to the lot. im fortunate enough that the lake i frequent has lots visable from the dock or just a short walk.

    i would suggest if you are far from it get maybe some velcro straps to lock down rods. thiefs are much less likly to grab and run if there is more time to unhook. or if you have rod compartments attach a hinge lock and get a small padlock. someone also mentioned not leaving in plain sight. great tip. any phones or cameras ect left in truck put under seat or cover with a sweatshirt or something and lock it up. when camping i always leave boat in water out of sight so i got a treestand cable lock i wrap through the trolling motor and the deck rail and lock it. and remove all fishing gear. i seen some boc buddies at clinton leave rods i water all night far from sight. amazing they were there in the morn. even though the rear of thier boat sunk submerging 100% of the brigs motor.

    when i run into a store for just a quick min or get gas i always put rods down in floor of boat so if ya want to grab em ya got to climb in. ive lost none. me and a buddie stopped for a drink one eve after we were done catching some channels. he stood and watched me grab my abu 6500 x2 about $150 total and a 6600 d5 abu at $99.83 and a 5500 and put them into cab and lock it. we were in the alley. he left his new okuma spinning rod and reel and 2 tiger combos hanging out of the rear of boat. i still have mine. he never located his. take the time to do the extra. youll loose less gear. personally i would have rather had the fish than his cheap outfits, lmao.:rolleyes:
     
  11. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    I suggest taking 2-3 hours off and sit at a busy ramp; use a video camera and observe everything, then go home, invite friends over, and watch the video. After you're through laughing (or cursing), you will know what not to do. :) Maybe I'll get someone to tape me unloading on a bad day, and you can all get a good laugh!

    I do about the same as gottafish. Works pretty good. I always have my stuff in the boat ready to unload before I get to the ramp (remove tie-downs and install drain plug:eek:), and I pull away from the ramp to secure and tie down. Never block a ramp if you can avoid it, no matter how many there may be.
     
  12. muskyman

    muskyman Active Member

    Messages:
    392
    State:
    Loudon TN
    Name:
    David
    Rockjumper is so right ; don't hurry dude. I have seen some nasty spills on the launch ramp. From dumping your boat on the concrete, to just plain old tripping and falling while walking down the ramp to your boat. It aint worth it dude. Just think about the whole launch procedure while your at home. Play everything out. This way you can set things up and think things through. Have everything in it's place. Have a mental checklist on what to do and how to do it. And back up plan too. What if the ramp is really really shallow ? What can you do ?
    I do alot of fishing by myself and everyone tells me the same thing - that I can launch my boat quicker by myself than any other guys using both of them for their rig. But I have a system. Nothing beats trial and error dude, just like time on the water.
     
  13. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    When I launch alone I have everything already in a bag that I just throw in the boat when I get to the ramp. Then I park out of the way, remove the transom saver, straps on the stern, screw the plug in. Prime motor, make sure it starts for a second. Then I just back in until the boat starts floating, push it off the trailer, tie it to the dock and park. Then I jump in the boat and go. :)
     
  14. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

    Messages:
    4,548
    State:
    Wside, Mil
    I've found the easiest way to launch my Catoon if launching alone is to wind off enough strap off of my winch that will allow me to back the trailer into the water and she'll float, I then pull forward enough where I can get on the tailgate of my truck, then the tongue and on the Toon. Unhook the winch strap hook, start'er up, back off the trailer, tie up at the Load/unload dock, return to truck, move to parking lot, return to boat, depart dock. I do leave my motor running so it'll warm, specially in the colder months, while parking the truck, it's not that great a distance. I realize some locations you may not be able to do this without losing your boat!
     
  15. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

    Messages:
    4,548
    State:
    Wside, Mil
    Jason, I just noticed your "signature", I'm with you a 101 percent!:thumbsup:
     
  16. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    People ask me all the time how I can throw back catfish in the 50-60# range and I just say, why would I kill a fish that is probably older than me and probably wont taste good at all. I havent kept a fish in months, and it was a small one.
     
  17. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

    Messages:
    4,548
    State:
    Wside, Mil
    Before I became "Conservation conscious" I'd keep, clean and eat the bigger fish. Actually, if they're cleaned properly, the big ones taste just as good as the smaller fish. If they're bled, cleaned of the redmeat(I know, I know some folks like it) and remove the lateral line(mudline), then I soak mine in well water, they'll taste just like a 3 or 4 lbr. (In my opinion anyway)
    I take pics, then tag and release all my "bigguns", also keep statistics on them in my fishing log.
     
  18. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Thanks for the great advice - looks like a little bit of thought ahead of time and a little bit of practice and I'll be set.

    I really don't think theft is much of an issue in this part of the country, but you never can tell I suppose. Only thing I'm nervous about is my GPS/fish finder - it's mounted on a RAM adjustable mount and takes about 10 seconds to remove. Good for me when I want to put it away but good for a thief also I guess.

    One thing I noticed several of you mention - the "safety chain" on your boat. What the heck is that? The only thing I have holding the boat to the trailer is the front winch cable (nylon webbing actually) and the rear tie-down straps.
     
  19. beeheck

    beeheck New Member

    Messages:
    631
    State:
    Iowa / Missouri
    I agree with most of what I've read here but no one has covered what you do when pulling your boat out. I just bought a 12' semi-V hull and the first time I put it up on the trailer I went up front to lean over the bow and crank it up the last little bit and hook the safety chain and just about went over. It rocked to each side because nothing is supporting the front of the boat on or to the trailer. My other boats are big enough I can just walk up front lean over and they don't move much but I out weigh this boat by a good hundred pounds and possibly more. How in the hey do I drive my boat up on the trailer and forget hooking up the safety chain from within the boat, won't do that twice, but I need to get out of the boat and somehow wench it up and onto the trailer. The way I have been doing it is get out of the boat and tie off to the dock, back the trailer down and pull the boat up by hand and walk out in the water and hook up the wench line and crank it on while in the water and then drive out. Got to be a better way.
     
  20. oldnndway

    oldnndway New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Texas
    ...and always MAKE SURE YOUR PLUG IS IN !