Avoiding Ramp Rage
April 29, 2016
What's worse than waiting to launch your boat? Waiting even longer behind unprepared or inconsiderate boaters who dilly-dally. Getting mad doesn't make the line move faster, so don't let delays ruin a nice day. Patience, preparedness, and politeness go a long way towards making your time at the boat launch safe and pleasant. Be prepared. Load your cooler and other belongings onto the boat before it's your turn at the ramp so you don't hold up traffic. Run your safety checks, set up electronics, and disconnect your tie-down straps in a parking space. Your boat should be ready to go when you back it up to the ramp. Follow the rules. Cutting in line is a sure way to make enemies of your fellow boaters. If your launch uses a ticket or number system, stick to it and wait your turn. Watch for other boats when you're launching yours, and motor slowly off the trailer rather than gunning it as soon as you're floating. Watch for people in the water, too; swimming is usually not allowed at boat launches, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Also watch for fishing lines, if people are fishing off the docks. Observe speed limits and no-wake rules. Keep it moving. Once your boat is in the water, have your driver park the tow vehicle while you move the boat to the farthest available point on the dock to pick up your passengers. The courtesy dock is not a place to linger, especially if other boaters are waiting for a spot. Encourage your friends to board quickly (but carefully) so you can get moving. Hold off on posing for pictures until you're launched and away from the ramp. Mind your manners. We've all heard the horror stories of lost tempers and hard words at the boat launch. Hot sun and heavy traffic can shorten fuses fast. Try to err on the side of kindness and cut your fellow boaters some slack; they're just as impatient to get in the water as you are. Being friendly and patient makes everyone's life easier, and your politeness might inspire others to follow your example. When in doubt, ask. If you get stuck or are unsure of how to proceed, ask a ramp attendant (if present) or another boater for help. If you're an experienced boater who sees someone in trouble, offer to lend a hand. Ultimately, the only person whose behavior you can control is your own. Do your part by being prepared, help your fellow boaters if they need it, and remember that boating is meant to be fun. Enjoy it! Find boat trailers and trailer accessories for less at Great Lakes Skipper.