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Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Good etiquette at the ramp for happy launching

by D. Scott Croft on 12 Jul 2013
Will it go easy, or will someone mess everybody else up? Following a few tips can make boat launching a breeze for everyone. BoatUS Press Room
Impolite, self-centered behavior could properly describe a kindergarten sandbox at recess, but it also fits the description of the mayhem that some boat launch ramps experience on a busy summer weekend. If America's famed etiquette expert, Miss Manners, were to visit a launch ramp, what lack of courtesy would she find? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has the answer with these top five launch ramp etiquette rules that can make the task go a lot easier and faster for all.

Be talkative: The most surefire way to cause ramp snafus is to be silent with your guests. Speak up. Let them know they should avoid parking in spaces reserved for trailers/tow vehicles. Tell them how you will load and unload (more on that in a second). Before your return to the launch ramp dock, let your crew know what they can do to help. One more friendly tip: don't yell.

Know where to load and unload: Unloading your gear at the bottom of the boat launch ramp, which could have been done while waiting in line at the top of the boat ramp, shows a lack of courtesy Miss Manners would detest. It also is an all-too-common mistake boaters make when launching and one of the biggest causes of delays. Plan ahead. Put a checklist on your sun visor.

Don't be the launch ramp hog: Tying up your boat at the launch dock right next to the ramp, and then going to park the tow vehicle means the next person in line can't launch until you get back. Save everyone time by immediately moving your boat to the far end of the dock so there's room for the next person to launch or retrieve.

Delay-of-launch penalty: Not launching the boat immediately when it's off the trailer and, instead, waiting for the crew to return from the bathrooms again adds delays and simmers tempers. This is true at the gas dock, too. Tie up at the dock, refuel the boat, and leave as quickly and safely as possible. Don't keep others waiting to refuel because your crew has walked to a nearby restaurant - that earns you a serious 'delay-of-launch' penalty.

Lend a hand: We all need help from time to time. Be kind to your boating neighbor. Boat US website
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