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‘Take Your Time’…Good Advice Sometimes but NOT at the Boat Launch! [VIDEO]

Boating on China Lake
Docking the boat in China

I’ve learned a lot of things about boating in the last few years like: how to pull tubers and skiiers, how to make a boat ride smoothly on the water and how to keep a propeller in pristine shape by avoiding objects such as rocks. I, unlike many, however, knew instinctively to get in and out of the launch area as quickly as possible. Not all have this God-given instinct, apparently…

Honestly, I’ve had a very good year so far. I say “so far” because, at some point, I’m gonna be ready to blow my top at someone who has NO RESPECT for anyone except himself (yes, it’s a ‘him’ 99.9% of the time) at the PUBLIC (not private) boat ramp.

Last year was pretty sucky. Not only did I deal with big waits, but I showed up on bass tournament days when you have to park a mile away once the boat is in and, if you time your return wrong, you have to compete with 2 dozen or so bass boats to get out. But, that’s just me whining. What this article is REALLY for is to offer advice to boaters.

Whether you have a 14-foot fishing boat with a 3 horse outboard or a 25 foot fiberglass with an inboard, launch time should be about the same…5 minutes. Here’s how to accomplish that.

First, prep the boat in a parking lot or, if there are a few people ahead of you, while you’re waiting in line. Put the fenders on, get the rope(s) ready, turn the blower fan on (important for inboards), make sure the plug is in and remove the tie down straps. Novices, do not unhook the winch line until the boat is ready to launch.

During this prep time, you should also put coolers, food, toys, poles, tackle, skis, phones, sunglasses and any other miscellaneous items you’re taking with you, INTO THE BOAT. No people….yet.

When it’s your turn, your craft should be all ready to go. Just back it into the water (hopefully this isn’t part of your practice backing a trailer…which I have, sadly, seen), give a passenger or bystander a rope and push it off the trailer. As soon as it’s clear, find a place to park and hurry back to the dock. NOW is NOT the time to start bringing coolers to the boat. I actually yelled at a guy for doing that last year. It was the first time I’d ever done that but that kind of behavior is enough to put the late Mother Theresa’s nose out of joint!

Once you’re back at the boat, everyone else going on the trip should be already to jump in so you can cast off. Just make sure that, before you do, the engine’s going to start. Last week, some poor guy and his family in China, who launched fairly quickly, cast off only to find out the engine wasn’t going to start. I felt bad for the guy. Luckily, after some finagling, it did go.

Anyway, if you have any question as to whether or not your poking along at the boat launch is infuriating others waiting to get in, the answer is, yes. Yes it is. So move it along. You’ve been warned! :-)

Get more tips on boating from our expert, Kurt Gagnon.

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