A Course for Safe Boating
Tips for Launching Your Boat
Using a ramp to launch a boat requires practice. An empty parking lot is a
good place to practice backing your vehicle with a trailer. Do not practice at a
launching area when the parking lot and ramps are busy. To back the trailer
into the water, here are some safety tips:
The trailer turns in the direction opposite to the direction you turn the steer-
ing wheel. To adjust for this,
place your hand on the bottom of the steering
Now, when you turn the steering wheel to the right, the trailer will
turn to the right. (See at left side.)
Be comfortable using your sideview mirrors when backing a trailer.
Learn to guess distances when using the mirrors.
Before backing down the ramp, pull off to one side to let the bearings
cool for a short time. While waiting:
Do not remove the boat from the winch cable at this time.
Take off the boat’s cover. (It may be necessary to remove the cover before
you leave home to reduce wear from wind while driving.)
Attach a tag line to your boat so that it will not float away when launched.
Put the drain plug in your boat.
Check for adequate fuel level.
Remove the tie downs.
Unplug the lights.
Make sure that the boat’s lights and horns are in operating condition.
Make sure that necessary rowing, bailing, and safety equipment are
Make sure that you have a Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for
BACKING UP A TRAILER