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Ramz

First Time Boater Tips

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I've been fishing out of a bass boat my entire fishing life, but that bass boat belongs to my father and the boat is no longer in driving distance. I was given a 14 ft jon boat w/ trailer for free and after some fabrications to the trailer it is now ready to go. I have a trolling motor to go with the boat whcih is perfect for the small lakes I fish by my house. The only thing that makes me nervous is I have never launched a boat by myself. The boat launches on these small lakes are easily accesible but I still am nervous of what could go wrong. Is there any tips or words of confidence anyone can give to someone in my situation. Please try to leave out the horror stories. THANKS !!!

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It's best to have a front wheel or 4 wheel drive vehicle. The good thing is that boat is pretty lightweight, so it makes it easy to push it off the trailer, if needed. I never back into the water farther than I need to. If I go too far, my tailpipe is in the water. If it won't float off the trailer, push it off the trailer, then pull it aside to a dock or on shore. When you launch, you need to have a rope ready to go, attached to the boat. You'll get the hang of it after a couple launches.

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Don't forget the plug, and to detach it from the trailer. Back the boat up to right before it is floating off the trailer and tie it up to the dock (if you are alone) then finish backing it up and what I do is right near when I think it is almost off you can just tap the brakes quickly and it should pop it off.

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First, type boat launching into the search topic at the top of this page. There are many great threads about boat launching dos and dont's.

If you are going to practice launching your boat either go during the week or very early in the morning or very late in the evening. You do NOT want to "practice" at the ramp on a weekend during peak hours. You will just slow the process down and annoy seasoned boaters.

For me, I go through a mental checklist every time at the launch. In fact, I used to have it written down in my truck until it became habit. Go through this checklist every time without fail, exactly the same order and you will not forget a plug, a strap etc. I start in my truck once I pull up to the ramp

1. break on

2. unhook chain, unhook winch strap

3. walk down port side unhook rear strap

4. screw in plug and remove jack

5.walk around to starbord side and remove rear strap

6. when walking past captains seat flip on power and accessories

7. at front of boat check the hitch again just in case

8. get back in truck, open both windows

9. release brake

10. back boat into water.

As for opening both windows, this gives you much more awareness and allows you to hear someone yelling at you that you are about to hit the dock, etc.

With practice, you should be able to launch your boat in about 5 minutes even by yourself. If you want a crash coarse in what NOT to do, just go sit at the ramp on a Saturday around noon. Take a few cold ones cause it will be comical.. Good Luck

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we have all launched our boats for the first time. don't let anything cause you to rush. I have been launching alone for many years. it's not really hard. everything already said here is right on. one tip I would offer is to get a rope about 25'. hook one end to the bow eye and the other to something towards the front of the trailer. when your boat floats off the trailer you can just pull it to the dock or shore. as stritr said, try doing this after everyone has launched. if you need help, just ask. most fishermen are willing to give you a hand.

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Practice on the ramp you will be using on a day that it's not very busy, probably sometime in the middle of the week. Don't let anyone rush you to get your boat in the water any faster than you are comfortable with. Take your time and think thru every step outlined above. Practice makes perfect!

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All very good advice,

Just remain calm and like everyone has stated we have all had to go through the first time of doing it by ourselves.

Keep your thinking cap on, Take your time no matter how many people are there, and remind yourself that you are confident and can do this no problem.

Make a check list and go through it the night before so you have everything you need and if you must, Go ahead and check things off as you put the boat in, just like a grocery list.

The good thing about this is that you are starting with a light boat.

Make one mental note as you back the boat in...Note the water line on the trailer (how deep the trailer is in the water) as the back of the boat starts to lift off of the trailer, That way when you load the boat you will be in good shape and make it much easier on yourself.

Good luck and be safe!!! Oh and let us know how you did.

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