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Launching - Retrieving a boat

Launching - Retrieving


  1. Do initial launch preparations away from the ramp so as not to impede launching for others.
  2. Raise the outdrive or motor, remove the support bracket and install the drain plug.
  3. Disconnect the trailer wiring. Remove tie down straps and again check the drain plug.
  4. Make any equipment adjustments necessary and check the drain plug.
  5. Connect the fuel tank, check fluid levels and check the drain plug.
  6. Drive to the ramp and back the boat and trailer down the ramp, keeping the tow vehicle's wheels out of the water.
  7. Set the emergency brake, shift into Park, and block the wheels.
  8. Someone should get aboard the boat, turn on the blower, lower the motor, look for water entering the boat, sniff the bilge and start the motor.
  9. Make sure you have attached a bow line to the boat, then release the winch and disconnect the winch line.
  10. You should be able to launch the boat with a slight shove or by backing the boat off the trailer under power.
  11. Move the boat to an area away from the ramp to load additional equipment and passengers.
  12. Return the towing vehicle to the parking lot as soon as the boat is launched so the next person in line may proceed.


The steps for retrieving the boat are essentially the reverse of launching. You always should be courteous of others launching and retrieving.

  1. Unload the boat away from the ramp if possible.
  2. Back the trailer into the water, again keeping the tires of the tow vehicle at water's edge, not in the water.
  3. Maneuver the boat carefully onto the submerged trailer, attach a bow line and shut off the engine prior to raising it.
  4. Winch the boat onto the trailer and secure it. Stay away from the direct line of the winch cable. It could break and cause an injury.
  5. Pull the trailer and boat well away from the ramp area for cleanup, reloading, securing equipment and safety check. (Be sure to remove any remnants of nuisance species before leaving ramp area.)
  6. Remove the drain plug to allow water to drain from the bilge.

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