If you are like so many of us here at T-H Marine, then you are probably always looking for new ways to make time out on the water more enjoyable and successful. This includes looking for best practices and tips to eliminate headaches and stress. As we head into peak boating season, we put together a list of 10 important boat launch tips to remember, so you can have a good and safe time right when you go to get the boat out on the water.
These are helpful to just brush up on and remember yourself and they are critical when handing the keys over to someone else. If you have a kid or another loved one who you are trusting with your boat or teaching about boating, it may be a good idea to share this list with them.
1. Wear apparel that can get wet. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be an easy one to overlook, too. This is particularly easy to overlook with shoes. We've probably all forgotten to wear the right shoes when launching before. The best shoes are those that can get soaked and have good traction. Sandals and bare feet are common and they work most of the time, but when they don't work, they REALLY don't work and you trip, slip, fall in, or cause excess wear and tear you didn't mean to cause.
2. Be very aware of boat launch traffic. This could mean being courteous to a long line of people launching. Or it could mean people who are on there way in from the water. It could mean looking out for someone else having trouble with launching. And it could mean being aware of little kids fishing nearby who could get hurt if you don't seen them when you launch. There are many possibilities here, but the first step is to eliminate distractions (like the stereo and phone) and keep your eyes and ears open.
3. Roll down your windows. Short of being in the middle of a real downpour, it's a great idea to have your windows all rolled down during launch. This is important for a few reasons. One reason being that you can hear and see more when you don't have (often tinted) windows obscuring your sight and muffling noise from others who should be getting your attention. We think of times when someone is backing up and someone is yelling for them, but they can't hear with the windows up. That can be dangerous. Rolled down windows can also be your #1 way of preventing yourself from getting locked out of your car if you have to hop out.
4. Waterproof important belongings. There are some great waterproof containers you can get, but a good seal on a zip lock bag works well, too. Consider putting your pocket items in one if you are going to keep them in your pocket. This includes wallet, keys/key fobs, and your cell phone. If you have to jump in the water real quick, you don't want to have to clear your pockets in a split second. That is IF you remember. Otherwise, you could have some real damage on your hands.
5. Tend your boat-launch equipment and take the right steps right before you back in. Most often, this means making sure to get in good position with your vehicle and trailer and tending to the ropes, chains, and straps that you use for your boat and boat trailer. We highly recommend using our Z-Launch watercraft launch cord to make launching even easier and manageable. Launching is usually smoother when you have someone assisting you, but the Z-Launch is like having a very helpful extra set of hands. It can also go a long way to preventing some bad situations, like when we've seen grown met get pinned between a boat and dock. Be sure to check it out.
Whether you have the Z-Launch or not, you may consider connecting a long rope between a cleat on the boat and one of the last few poles on the boat launch dock. We've seen instances where a boater doesn't take into account the waves and wake, too. A poorly executed watercraft launch in adverse conditions can really cause damage the boat, the trailer, and the dock. When the boat wants to pull the opposite direction, you never want to be that guy whose boat is getting away from him either!
Stay tuned to our blog for more boat launch tips (and plenty of other advice) as we draw insight from our experiences, our products, our customers, and our professional anglers. Since we are boaters ourselves, it's our pleasure to serve everyone who loves getting out on the water.