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Launching and Trailering a Boat. How to make it easier?

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I recently upgraded to a 17.5 ft boat on a float on trailer. I keep it in my garage. Hooking up to it, running to the lake, launching, and the reverse of the process to get back to the garage is a good bit more cumbersome with this size boat than my prior 14ft. I am here to ask advice on technique and or systems that make this procedure easier for a solo mission. Once I am on the lake the solo part is nice.

To start with the trailer jack is broken and dose not jack up or down so I will be replacing it. What should I look for in a trailer jack? Tongue weight is only about 200lbs.

The retrieval winch is cable instead of strap. Does that mater?

There are side guide rollers. So that helps.

What else do the solo launchers here on BR do to make things easier?

Thanks in advance.

Surfer

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Practice, practice, practice and you guessed it more practice.  I could do it in my sleep if i had to.  Just keep doing what you are doing and it will get easier with time.

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First thing is if you don't mind getting wet then it's easier and quicker but if your one that doesn't want to get wet and climbs around the trailer tongue and truck bumper then that is harder and takes longer.

Launching Boat:

If it is cold or don't want to get wet, a lot of people will tie a long rope to the boat and back into the water and let the boat float off the trailer.  Some tie the rope to the back of the trailer, I usually put the end of the rope (or let out enough line to cover the distance needed) and close the bed cover down to keep all of the line from coming out.  Drive down to the water and slowly let the boat float off the trailer.  Then pull up slowly (you don't want to jerk the boat to shore from the rope), and pull up enjoy that you can walk behind the trailer.  Then with the rope pull the boat slowly to you (don't pull to fast of the boat's bottom will rub against the boat ramp more then you would like.  Once the boat is close enough grab it with your hand hand then hope on when it is close enough, and kind of push of the ramp as you jump to push the boat away.  Then you can move the boat to the dock.

If you don't mind getting wet like me, then I undo the back straps and all your normal things.  Then I back down to the water until I see the boat starting to flat.  Then I get out walk back to the boat, an dundo the front hook.  Then I start pushing the boat back off the trailer (since it is floating it is easier then trying to push off the boards or rollers).  Then I step up onto the trailer and walk down the wooden board that is screwed down onto the trailer under the boat (I suggest adding the board because it gives you something to walk on instead of the trailer rails, which you can slip off and hurt yourself).  Then when I get near the end of the board I hope onto the boat and with the momentum you float off and past the trailer.

Loading Boat:

I back the trailer a little lower then normally people.  I have long wood carpeted guide rails so I don't just need the back of trailer to help guide the boat on.  I use the trolling motor to guide the boat over and then I guide it in over the trailer with the guide rails helping keeping it in the right spot.  Then Then once I'm half way over the trailer I pull the trolling motor up and the momentum keep sht eboat going.  Then when the boat stops from one of the front keel rollers, I step off the boat to a wooden board that is screw on to the trailer under the boat.  Then I walk the boat up or if it is close enough, I pull the strap out and hook it to the boat.  Then I wrench it up as far as I can.  Then I get in my truck and slowly pull up as trailer and boat come out the boat's back lowers down onto the trailer perfectly.  Then once out of the water then pull off away from others so you are out of the way.  Then do your normal things.

That's my way, and the more you load and unload the boat the faster and easier it is.

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oh yeah about the cable vs strap, a lot of people like the strap because it doesn't get rushy after a long time and it comes out more freely then a cable.  Also the cables you don't want to grab the cable part with your hand because of a stray metal hair that can poke or cut you, while a strap is more hand friendly.  Usually the cable is stronger thou, but I don't think their is a big difference and that is usually most people last thing to look or worry about.

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I would suggest power loading and launching as the quickest method. Disconnect the straps on the back, remove your transom saver, and insert your drain plug. Back your trailer down until the bunks are wet for a good slippery surface. How far down you back your trailer depends on the trailer and boat so you'll have to experiment. Generally my back wheels are pretty close to the water so I have to jump in the back of the pickup and walk out on the tongue to disconnect the winch strap. Then I hop in, power her up, back her off the trailer, and pull up to the floating walkway, etc. and tie her off so I can go park the truck.

To load, back your trailer down until enough of the bunks are wet so the boat will slide on without too much throttle. Again, this varies with the type of boat and trailer and experimentation will be required. If you back the trailer down too far the boat will be floating well above the trailer and the bow of the boat may not hit the bunks soon enough which will cause it to shoot too low and go beneath the roller. If you don't back it up far enough your boat may end up a foot or two from the roller. (It doesn't take long to figure all of this out.) So you park your trailer at the right depth, you line up your boat nose with the roller and drive it onto the trailer. Sometimes a little extra punch on the throttle is needed to get the momentum to climb up to the roller.  Then climb out on the tongue and make sure the boat is firmly against the roller, connect your winch strap, and pull it up tight. If the boat isn't against the roller you will need to winch it up, or if it is too heavy, you will have to back it off and try again.

It's simpler than it sounds. It's a lot of fun learning this at a busy lake when other people are waiting for you to get out of their way. :( Don't let that stop you though.

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Chock your vehicle rear wheels.  Strange how few people do this but it can prevent a serious problem.  I run a few feet of chain from the chock to the undercarriage of the truck and just pull it along when I pull up the ramp.  

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Some of the waters I fish do not have a dock at the ramp. I use a rope that is 2 1/2 times longer than the boat. I tie one end to a boat cleat and the other to the trailer winch handle. When I launch, I just back in until the boat is floating and pull up just enough to not pull the boat forward, get out and pull the boat off to the side/dock. I power load when allowed. My tow vehicles (pickups) have covered beds so retrieval is a little more difficult solo without a dock.

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The secret is with your rope.

You prepare to launch or trailer your boat as usual but itis imperative that you tie the rope to the dock, securely.

If you do not tie the boat to the dock securely and the rope comes loose you will have to swim after your boat.  I know.

Also, when it is dark place a flashlight at the beginning of the ramp so you can see where the ramp begins.

There is no secret or easy way to launch or trailer your boat.  We all do it the same way.  :(

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I fish by myself much of the time.  I have a 140 rope on a spool.  I clip the rope to the bow eye or side cleat and back the boat into the water and float it off.  I am holding the spool out the window and let line out.

I get out and hold the rope to stop the boat.  It may be 50' off shore when I stop it.  I walk up the ramp unwinding the rope for another 50' or so, drop the spool and park the truck.

I walk back to the spool and reel in the boat to the ramp, climb aboard and go fishing.  I can do this proceedure nearly as fast as 2 regular guys can launch and get the truck out of the way because I get everything ready in the parking lot.

I take a pair of knee boots with me so that when I load, I can put them on to keep dry if the ramp incline is too shallow.  I do this because I have a tonneau cover on the truck bed.  It may look kind of funny but it works for me and has for years.

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