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Gary Howey

” IN 2017

How to not Launch Your Boat By Gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

July 17, 2017

  Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time setting at boat ramps waiting to launch and load my boat.

  Most of these were quick and painless, but a few that really sucked!

  Most anglers or boaters know where I’m coming from, when you have a 20 to 30-minute wait while there’s someone who is trying to launch their boat.

  More than likely, there will be several other boats who are in the water waiting to get to the dock that will have to cruise around the bay, with others waiting in their vehicle as one-boat clutters up the launching area.

  I’m sure the person who is doing this wouldn’t be doing it on purpose, they just aren’t aware of proper boat ramp etiquette.

  Most of you reading this column have run into similar situations.

 Another thing that will drive a person crazy who’s trying to launch their boat is the person that pulls into the boat ramp with their tarp on the boat, backs down just short of the water and then proceeds to remove the tarp while other boaters waiting to launch.

 Or how about the person that backs down to the water only to spend the next ten-minutes unloading all the ski equipment, inner tubes and picnic supplies into the boat?

Then there’s the person who backs down, unhooks his boat and ties it to the dock, then heads off to park his vehicle.  While he’s up there, he uses the bathroom and then five-minute later makes his way down to the boat.  As he finally pulls away from the dock, he can’t understand why the people in the six or eight boats waiting to launch behind him are not very friendly.

  Then how about those who pulls up to the dock, tie up, right where the next boat needs to launch and then heads up to get his rig and trailer.  

  With low water ramps and the distance a person has to go to park their trailer, it takes quite a while for you to get to and from the ramp and to the parking area.  If a boater or angler doesn’t launch or load the boat properly, it can tie up a boat dock and really screw things up.

  How about the person who backs their boat down to the dock, hits the starter and realizes the motor is not going to start.  Instead of putting the boat back on the trailer and pulling it up into the parking area to check it out, decides to pull the cover off the motor and thinks that the boat dock is a good place to overhaul the engine.

  The same goes when you are waiting for someone to load his or her boat.

    Well, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

Listed below are a few tips that will help to make launching and loading a boat a lot quicker, a lot less frustrating for those waiting behind you and will help to eliminate many arguments.

* Remove your tarp and load your gear in the parking lot before you back down the ramp.

By having everything ready to launch your boat when you get to the dock, will allow you to get on the water and to run to your hot spot and to put fish into the boat quicker quicker. (Outdoorsmen Productions Photo)

* If you are alone when launching your boat, use the restroom before you back down the ramp and try to tie it up out of the way so others can launch while you’re parking the trailer.

* Keep your motor in good running order, regularly service and winterize you motor, so it will start when you need it.

* If possible, when you get ready to launch or load the boat have someone in it to back off or on to the trailer.

* A great accessory on a boat trailer that helps you launch and unload quickly is the Drotto Catch & Release. It quickly mounts on your trailer near your V-Bow Stop and when the bow eye meets the Drotto, it locks onto the bow eye allowing you to load and get up the ramp quickly. To launch or release the boat from the Drotto unit, a lever that comes up in the front of the bow with a rope attached, all the driver has to do is pull the rope and your boat slides off the trailer. It’s reasonably price, mounts on the trailer quickly, for more information on the Drotto or to purchase one go to 

* If you are coming in to load the boat, have your partner drive the boat and drop you off at the dock.  Then they can back away from the dock and be out of the way of the other boats until you have your trailer in the water.

* When it is your turn to load, back your trailer in to the correct depth and have your partner run the boat on it.

Boating and fishing are part of the enjoyment you can get from the outdoors; setting at a boat ramp while someone ties up the launch is not a whole lot of fun.

With a little thought ahead of time and cooperation from your friends and other boaters, launching and loading boats is accomplished quickly and safely.

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