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Loading alone for the beginner


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OK, this will be just my second season with the boat.  I have never loaded or unloaded alone, always with the help of another.  I am fine backing the trailer (I've driven dump trucks w/ trailers behind them for the past 5 years) so thats not the problem.  

Unloading the boat alone probably wouldn't be too bad,  I would simply tie the bow line to the front of the boat before taking it off of the trailer, use the rope to bring the boat over to the dock, tie it up, pull the trailer out and away I go.

Now for the loading....... Getting the boat to the dock shouldn't be too bad.   But how to get it onto the trailer?  I usually have either my father or fiance' drive the boat partially onto the trailer.  I then take the bowline and pull it the rest of the way up.  Then I winch it up on.

How do you do this alone?  I have read about a "boat buddy" that locks in place once you drive the boat onto the trailer.  I have heard mixed reviews about this.  

How does everyone here load alone?  Sorry for the beginner question.

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When unloading alone I leave the winch strap hooked and back the trailer in the water and then crawl on the pickup and then into the boat. Unhook the winch stap and pull the boat up on the bank or at the dock then walk over and pull the truck out of the water.

When loading alone I either park on the bank or the dock, walk up and back the trailer in the water. DRIVE the boat onto the trailer and with in still in gear but at low idle I walk up and hook the winch strap. Walk back turn off and trim up the motor and crawl from the boat to the truck, and away I go.

It helps is you have a boat ramp that can accomidate multiply rigs or someone might get upset! LOL! I tell them that if they'd give me a hand this would go a lot faster. Most people will help out!

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buy a bow protecter so you can beach the boat without tearing up the bottom. Loading i just drive the boat on the trailer hitch the winch and climb on my truck to avoid getting soaked then pull out of peoples way the get everything else done. Nothing worse then waiting in a 100 degree truck while someone takes all day loading on the trailer

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Pretty much what has already been said.  If you can find a landings with less traffic use it, put in at off hours until you get the hang of it.  If there are alot of boats waiting to launch let them go ahead at first.  Tie a long tag line to your boat and attach it to the truck or trailer while launching just in case it drifts alittle you can pull it back.  Put tread tape on the surfaces that you will be stepping on  trailer tounge, bumper, ect.  Make sure you have every thing ready to launch and double check before you get on the ramp if you think you will feel rushed make a list plug, straps, and so on.  The more you do it the easier it gets.  If some one else is loading or unloading  offer to help they may return the favor.  Just hooking the winch hook is a big help if your boat slides.  I find if I back the trailer farther in the water to wet the carpet on the bunks ( if you have it) then pull out where you want the trailer to be, the boat will slide into place easier.

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Just a tip for backing the trailer into the water (when loading):  

I have the vertical guide rollers at the back of the trailer marked with electrical tape at the correct depth.  That way, I can back to the correct depth every time using my side view mirror.  Too deep the boat floats off center, too shallow you have to winch it.

Also, something you may already know.  When pulling onto the trailer to the forward stop.  Leave the big motor engaged and just above idle to help hold it up on the trailer while you hook up and tighten the bow winch strap.  

-Fisher

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I was at the landing one morning getting ready to put in. I heard a terrible racket headed to the ramp. The was a small truck pulling a small boat and trailer with a flat. He whirled around at the ramp got out and unhooked the boat got back in and put it in gear then roared backwards until the boat trailer was barely in the water, he hit the brakes. The boat flew off the trailer into the water, he had about a 75 foot rope tied to the boat and to the truck.   The boat was foating at the end of the rope. He jumped out pulls the boat over to the bank and moved the truck. I ask him if he knew he had a flat, he just waved and said he had a pile of wheels at home and just lived a few miles from there.  I should have ask him if he had a pile of boats too. I didn't stick around to watch him load back up. I wouldn't recomend this approach.

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ive seen that too, I have seen one guy back up without the winch attatched and had the boat come off the trailer and then he hit the boat with the trailor. Made me laugh but would laugh if it happened to me. This same guy in about half of our tourneys forgets to put his plug in and has to reload the load + last year he unloaded and back into a rocky shorline had to go home. Not the best with boats i guess lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

I loosen the winch strap slightly leaving the strap hooked to the boat.When I back down the launch area,I wait until I see the boat float a little off the trailer.I jump in the back of the truck ,undo the stap from the boat,and push the boat off of the trailer(with me in it).I thenuse the trolling motor to get to the dock.Tie off the boat,park the truck,and go fishing.

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I loosen the winch strap slightly leaving the strap hooked to the boat.When I back down the launch area,I wait until I see the boat float a little off the trailer.I jump in the back of the truck ,undo the stap from the boat,and push the boat off of the trailer(with me in it).I thenuse the trolling motor to get to the dock.Tie off the boat,park the truck,and go fishing.

Thats the easy part....I'm stuck on the reloading alone.  Pull up to dock, tie off. Go get truck back trailer into water.  Getting the boat on the trailer alone is the part I'm having a hard time with.  Sounds like you just drive up the trailer.....leave motor at idle and in gear to hold it in place and place winch strap on.

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You may not really drive up the trailer at least not at first, use the motor to push the boat into place . Pull onto the trailer as far as you can slowly, when the boat stops accelerate so it slides as far up as possible then let off on the gas. By leaveing the motor in gear at an idle it helps hold the boat in place so it doesn't slide back down the trailer when you hook the winch line to the boat. The closer that you can get the bow of the boat to the nock or bracket on the trailer post, the less winch work you will have. After a few times you should be able to put it into place with no problems.

When you start to launch the boat notice where the water comes up to on the trailer just before it starts to float. Then when you back in the trailer stop just short of that point. (I have carpeted rails on my trailer and I back farther in then pull back out to that point. By wetting the rails down,  the boat will slide up on the trailer easier. If you have side rails or posts on your trailer you can probably load a little deeper and they help to center the boat and keeps it from floating around. I believe Fisher said he marks the roller posts with tape at the correct water depth.

It may be a little trial and error at first until you find where it loads the easiest for you and then it becomes second nature. The boat buddy takes the place of leaving the motor in gear.  I think it clamps off the boat automaticly.

Watch a few people load and I think you will put it together.

Don't forget to turn the motor off after you hook up the line. You probably want to raise it up some to before pulling out so it won't drag.

Before you back in the trailer pull a little extra winch line out so that you can easily reach it

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I think what is not being said here is the size of the boat being loaded. My 16' skeeter is loaded my backing the trailer in untill The rear guide roller is not quite submerged. I edge the boatup to the trailer ( motor in gear ) hook up winch,walk trailer and tighten up on trailer a foot or so.Than back truck father in. The boat will stay CENTERED on its guide roller.Then winch it up tight, no fuss no muss and no scratches or sideshows. :)

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Practice, practice.

I think the trick is not to have the trailer to farin the water or to fat out of the water.

once you find that optimal trailer location remember at what point the trailer is in the water.

Mine is when the fenders are just under water.

(works for most ramps)

steeper ramps I have a different benchmark.

Then I drive it up until I hit my large (roller ot the winch.

I load and unload faster than guys with two people trying to help.

I often get comments on Man is that fast.

It is just practice and paying attention to haw far your trailer is backed it to the water.

The rear of the boat is still floating above the trailer when it is hooked to the winch then I ease it out until it settles in the trailer

good luck and practice.

Go practice in and out when the ramp is not very busy

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Everyone gave some good ideas.  But here's what I do when I'm alone. (which is a lot)  Get a 25 foot rope or so. (longer if you need it) Unhook the boat, tie one end of the rope to the hull and the other end to the rear of the trailer.  Back the trailer into the water and let the boat float off, (I end up pushing or pulling it off)  pull the trailer out of the water just enough that you don't get wet,  Remember to go slow the boat will follow,( but if you have enough rope the boat will float towards the lake)  but you have 25 feet, untie the boat from the back of trailer, tie the boat off and park the auto and trailer.   As for loading, if you have a drive on trailer, (I don't) once the trailer is in the water, drive the boat onto the trailer about 3 to 4 feet from the wench, reach out grab the wench strap and hook up, crawl down the tongue to your car crank it up, pull it out.  Since I don't have a drive on trailer, thats what I do.  Hoped I helped

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Everyone has sounds ideas on loading/unloading.  But I am a hillbilly  :).  I have a 19' alum. fish/ski.  

I use my trailer wheel fenders as a guide to stop backing up.  Wehn by myself, I put my truck in park with emergency brake on.  I disconnect the wench strap, climb up into the boat start the engine and power off the trailer.  Then i tie up to the dock, park the truck.  Takes me about 3 min's start to finish.  I never get my feet wet.  Knock on wood, lol.  When i load by myself, I power onto the trailer as well.  Walk the trailer and secure the wench strap, tighten her up and pull out.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't know in lb's.  But they lift boats useing the eyes that are on them so at least 1/3 of the weight.  I would say that they should easily with stand any thing that could be applied by a winch and strap rated for your boats weight range.

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I was wondering because I did not get my boat all the way up to the stop by about 6 inches the first few times I loaded alone and I was afraid to winch it to much. It was on the trailer good just not all the way up to the stop.

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I would imagine the winch or strap would snap well before the boat was damaged.  Not to mention your hernia.  ;D  Useing the back straps and wetting the rails may help ease the chore.  You can also back in the water a little bit and take some weight off the boat.

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I just installed a Boat Buddy on my trailer yesterday and tried it for the first time and is it cool!! Just nosed the boat up to it and gave it a little push and bingo, the pin popped thru the bow eye and I was hooked up !!. This little thing is awesome. I fish alone quite a bit and this is going to save me a lot of hassles. I used to be able to do like a lot of the other guys, get the boat up and leave it in gear with some gas, then run up front and hook up, but since I installed a Hot Foot in it, the motor goes back to idle when I leave the seat and it wont hold the boat in position.

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