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tcbass

How do you load your boat: Powerload or Winch?

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I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread so I started this one. I was told that powerloading your boat was bad because it builds up debris and rocks into a pile behind the outboard that can cause a buildup that other boaters can hit when they are launching your boats. The other reason was that it will cause debris that is created to get sucked into your engine. At one public launch I saw a sign that said no powerloading. The reason it stated for not doing it was the buildup of debris. Personally, I was launching my boat at a relatively deep ramp and as I was backing straight away from the dock I hit some rocks. I looked down and there was a scooped out portion in front of the rocks. I believe that powerloading had caused these scooped out area and debris pile that my lower unit hit. No proof that's what did it, but it definitely appeared to be. 

I don't know if powerloading is bad, I don't know if it's been proven, but that's my question here. Anyone ever hear of anyone ruining their engine by powerloading?

 

 

How do you load your boat: Powerload or Winch?

 

And have you ever had any issues with either or someone you heard about?

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I load both ways depending on where and if I have a partner with me that knows how I load my boat.

I haven't had any issues doing this but I am not the retard that doesn't get his trailer in the lake far enough and then sits there full throttle trying to make the impossible happen. This is what I have read causes the holes and mounds at the ends of the ramp. It was a parks and wildlife article and it makes sense so I don't run my engine like that at the ramp. I learned to back the trailer in just a foot more and the boat goes on effortless. 

From watching the numerous boaters that the owners have a lifetime of experience powerloading does not require full throttle bursts. I'm not a expert but I can easily powerload my boat with no winch and never really rev the engine up at all. I guess some places may be different that I haven't been that make it more difficult??? But I have seen some really bad boat loading as I am sure many of you have as well.   

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Always power load if possible. 

As for debris building up on ramp to the point it could be a concern, on a paved/concrete ramp, I doubt that would ever happen.  The main lake I fish can change levels by 10 to 13 feet during dry seasons and I've never seen a buildup on the ramp.  Now, you can and will get things that the prop can suck up and put small nicks in the leading edge of your prop, especially on shallower ramps.   I have a couple custom tuned, go fast props I will not power load with because of that.

If you happen to be using a dirt ramp, then I would avoid power loading, that lets the motor suck up all kinds of crud and will wreck a ramp fairly quickly.  That's when you just want to get a running start and let the boat slide up on the trailer far enough that you only have to winch it the last foot or so, and if you are good, it will hit the rest dead center without ramming the crap out of it. 

As mentioned above, the real trick to power loading is paying attention to just how deep the trailer is.  I watch my fenders and when the water is at just the right point on the finder, I know it only takes a slight bump on the throttle to push it to the center rest.   If it's a steep, deep ramp, then how far the finder is under water. 

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 How many ramps have you been to that had the same degree of angle? Not many for me up here, and alot of the ramps around here arent designed for low water extending far out into the depths. If they are concrete, they end abruptly, and after just one tourney of powerloading the ramps end drops a couple feet to the sand/mud. This is the "why" as trailers arent designed to drop over the edge of a concrete ramps.

 I check every ramp out, once I get there. If it looks like I cant launch a alternative lake is then chosen. If it looks like I can launch, I do so ever so intently, and slowly watching for my trailer to "suddenly" start dropping. If it does so,.. I stop immediately and pull back out. Because this means the ramp is compromised and the ramps end drops off to a washed out hole from powerloading.

 Its the launching that determines how I load the boat back on the trailer. If its a short distance to the ramps end and I barely got the boat off while launching I will get the trailer in as far as possible without going over the edge, and float the boat back on, winching the rest..

If its a good ramp then I can get it back on no problem, either floated or powerloaded.

If the ramp has a no powerloading policy, I will follow suit even though my trailer is a powerload type bunked trailer. Just back in a little further than needed, and float it on.,.. This is where angle comes into play. loading on a steep ramp with the floating method can put strain on the boats bow eye if not done right,... when you pull out, the tension changes on the  bow eye as the angle changes. So be careful, leave just a "very" little play on the strap, and I mean slight,... dont crank it so tightly as you would actually pulling the boat on.

 

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I try to get my trailer set right so that I just putt on to it.   Sometimes in a cross wind a little more power is necessary.  If a lake doesn't have a semi-decent launch site, I won't fish there.

 

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My boat weighs 2000 pounds, the motor weighs 635,  I carry over 50 gallons of gasoline, 4 batteries, lots of baits, 2 power poles and a trolling motor.  There is no way I am going to crank that much up with a winch.  I always load with the outboard motor but I wouldn't call it power loading as I only have to give it throttle the last foot or so.  The rest is just idling up on to the trailer.  Proper depth is the key.

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 I posted this in the other thread too.

I can't call what I do power loading, but I only have to crank the winch about 2"-3".  The trailer is backed in just far enough that I can idle almost to the winch post.  I climb over thef trolling motor and on to the trailer, hook up the strap and crank the last couple inches.  Climb back in the boat and hop out on the dock.

 

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Beside forming debris at the end of the ramp, you also create a washout hole from power loading repeatedly.  I always check the ramp(s) till I know I am comfortable.  However, ramps can and will deteriorate and break off under water and you wont know it until the next time you launch there.  If it is too soft or I can feel and see the trailer suddenly drop a little, I am out of there and off  to another lake.  Boat and trailer and motor/gear weigh close to 2000 lbs and I am not using my back or truck to yank that out.

 

Thus, I dont need to powerload and put the trailer in deep enough so I can float on and then winch up the last foot.  Be safe out there.

 

 

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First let me clarify my term and use of power loading.  I almost never go full throttle to push the boat on the trailer, that's not good for boat, motor or ramp.  I rarely go past half throttle and that's just a quick burst to push it that last foot or so.  With about 2500 pounds of boat, motor and gear, you don't won't to be doing much winching.

The thing I do on some of the S***ty ramps I have to use, to keep from going full throttle to get the boat all the way on, I get it close, pull the boat out to level ground and then just jam on the brakes a couple times while rolling forward and let the inertia finish loading it for me. 

Some ramps are so shallow and have such a small grade, you need your vehicle halt way in the lake to get the trailer deep enough to load without using full power,   Since I don't like walking in the water and never learned to walk on the water, I have to get creative. 

 

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The only thing I'll add is if you're unfamiliar with the ramp trim your motor up!

Seen a lot of unnecessary damage that would have avoided by simply trimming the motor up!

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If you have a decent ramp and the area is not in a drought situation. You should be able to drive right on using very little power. You can't be afraid to get the rear tires on the tow vehicle wet. As said earlier, make sure the ramp is long enough and does not drop off. If low water or questionable ramp, I have used the winch normally for the last foot or so.

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On September 17, 2016 at 11:06 AM, Catt said:

The only thing I'll add is if you're unfamiliar with the ramp trim your motor up!

Seen a lot of unnecessary damage that would have avoided by simply trimming the motor up!

For those of you that have not tried this, it takes some weight off the bow end of the boat and makes power loading much easier as well as saving your engine/prop from damage.

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I powerload. All the lakes up here have stable water level, so the older concrete ramps don't extend very far out. They were designed for a time when smaller boats were the norm. You bring in a big 20' bass boat with a 250 on it, you're creating more current than was ever intended to happen on that ramp and further back so you end up making a blowout hole. The best thing I've found is to keep the motor trimmed up. It avoids sucking anything off the ramp or even on sand/gravel ramps. It also helps prevent the formation of a blowout hole because instead of creating a current that blows straight down the ramp, it just blows it out of the water. It's always interesting to see how many guys come in to even shallow ramps with their motors trimmed all the way down. With the motor trimmed down like that you're actually using physics against you plus making a blowout hole (depending on the ramp)

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He said blowout hole!  Lol.:lol:

 

Sorry, the inner 10 year old got the best of me..

 

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Glenn has a good short video tip on this site about making sure your bunks are wet.  

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I power load almost all the time...and I do a lot of it on unpaved landings.

I was thinking of this topic as I loaded my boat last night...

Power load does not mean full throttle and using the prop to dig a hole in the lake bottom...it means doing all the right things,  including getting your bunks wet and getting the trailer in the water far enough so that it's just a nudge of the throttle and you're on and ready to go.

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I prefer to power load because its so much easier and takes far less time than manual loading.  However, there are times when the water is low and heavy traffic causes these washouts of gravel/sand at the access so that's when I switch over to manual loading.  Hasn't happened since 2012 here because we've gotten plenty of rain/snow the past 3+ years now around here.

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