Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: The Whaler GAM or General Area
  More boat ramp stupidity

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   More boat ramp stupidity
johnk posted 06-01-2001 11:53 PM ET (US)   Profile for johnk   Send Email to johnk  
Watched a guy last week put his boat (non Whaler) back on the trailer by himself. After the trailer was positioned in the water he got in the boat and (attempted) to drive the boat on. Had the motor trimmed up and threw a roostertail about 60 feet behind the boat for literally 90 seconds. Picture for a moment 90 seconds and start counting slowly to's an eternity for a boat to be under what looked like full power under those conditions. The time was so long that I thought the motor controls had jammed and actually started to go over to help. He finally backed off the throttle half way, and while it was still throwing a smallish roostertail, he actually got out of the boat, waded to the winch, and began winching. I couldn't believe he put himself between a boat under power and the back of his truck. After winching, he waded back, got in the boat and shut it down.....
I truly pictured myself reading about his 'accident' on the front page of the county paper the next morning....

And I thought I had seen everything at the ramp....


whalernut posted 06-02-2001 02:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
John, that dude is NUTS! I don`t have a clue as to how that boat didn`t jump right up and smash Nutso, trailer, and vehicle! He is very lucky, and since it worked, he would probably attempt that again! Regards-Jack Graner.
bdb posted 06-02-2001 06:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Should this be moved to the Darwin site?

Harpoon Harry

lhg posted 06-02-2001 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I'll bet it was a carpeted all bunk "float on" trailer.
triblet posted 06-02-2001 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
It ain't the trailer, it's the captain.

Coil the bowline on the bowt. Drive the boat onto the trailer. When it stops, shut it
off and tilt it, walk to the bow, grab the bow line, jump off, hook up the winch line,
put the bow line back on board, winch it up, hook up the safety chain, drive up the ramp.


srd posted 06-04-2001 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for srd  Send Email to srd     
For the benefit of the less experienced power boaters - like me - on this site, I'd like to read a narrative of how to get the boat back on the trailer the right way.
triblet posted 06-04-2001 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
There are several variables:
Alone, with one helper, with two helpers.
Drive on, pull on

Alone, drive on:
Coil the bow line on the bow.
Drive the boat onto the trailer.
When it stops, shut it off and tilt it.
Walk to the bow,
grab the bow line,
jump off,
hook up the winch line,
put the bow line back on board,
winch it up,
hook up the safety chain,
drive up the ramp.

Everything else is just a variation on the

Don't take up ramp or dock space any longer
than necessary. Put the transom straps on
and all the other stuff in the parking lot,
not on the ramp.

Know how far your trailer needs to go
into the water. Mine needs the average
waterline about half way between the hub and
the top of the tire. Your's will vary.

Putting on the boat on the trailer isn't too
hard, but you GOTTA keep some speed. Go slow
and the wind and current take over. About
3-4 knots is right for my boat (montauk) and
my trailer. Trim the motor up a bit so that
you keep it off the bottom.
It's best if you can back way
off from the trailer and take a long straight
shot at it and get used to the wind and
current. Stand dead center in the boat and
keep your body on the centerline of the
trailer. If the wind is from the side, the
boat may be pointed as much as 10 or 15
degrees to windward of the trailer. Don't
worry about this, just keep your bod on the
centerline of the trailer. Just before the
bow goes through the Ezguiders, straighten
out. Go to forward idle until the boat
stops (might be too much on a roller trailer)
then you can goose it a little farther.
Stay put through a couple of wave cycles so
you know it's as far up as it will go with
out the winch.

Practice makes perfect. Saturday I drove on,
25 knot wind, with only about a boat length
and half between the end of the trailer and
a boat tied up on the finger pier. No muss,
no fuss.

Don't stand in front a boat that's in gear
and running and nobody at the throttle.
That's farm animal stupid.


Do not wrap a dock line around your hand.
If stuff hits the fan, you go in the drink,
maybe next to a running boat.

Do not put your body between a boat and the
dock. Even a little boat can crunch bones.

What did I miss?

benjy 58 posted 06-04-2001 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for benjy 58  Send Email to benjy 58     
Enen more fun is watching people back up a trailer to put the boat in the water. Some people look like there trying to push cooked spaghetti. I watched one guy unhook everything them back up about 20mph and slam on the brakes. He did launch that puppy but mabe he should have had a way to hold onto a line. went out about 25 feet from the ramp. Looked like a cold swim.
sport15er posted 06-04-2001 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for sport15er  Send Email to sport15er     
I had a good laugh last week at the ramp, (luckily, no one was hurt...) A young lady on a jetski was waiting on her better? half to get the trailer backed down the ramp. All went well it seemed, while he hooked the winch hook to the bow eye... Now, while she's still sitting on the ski; he pulls away, and the ski goes off the back of the trailer, and is pulled about 3 feet up the concrete boat ramp!! (major gelcoat scratching)
It seems he didn't lock down the winch before taking off.......
triblet posted 06-04-2001 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Or put on the safety chain.

I bet it was an interesting conversation
that night. ;-)


Dick posted 06-04-2001 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
That is the best short course on loading I have ever seen.
I'm with you, practice-practice & practice. Each boat and trailer combo is different but the basics are the same
lhg posted 06-05-2001 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
A good, well greased poly keel roller trailer, where you don't have someone with you to drive it on, requires a slightly different technique. And when you do have someone to drive it on, it can't be done with one person, as someone has to be at the winch to hook it up. Otherwise the boat will roll back into the water.

As long as there is a side dock, the trailer is backed in as close to the dock as possible, and no farther than to the point where the winch operator can still keep dry feet.

Usually, the rear keel rollers will be a little below the water surface, unless ramp is very steep. The winch strap is pulled out almost the full length of the trailer, and laid over the frame before backing it in. Person holding boat steps down to trailer frame, which is above water, picks up winch strap/cable, and holding onto bow rail, guides nose of boat into "v notch" of first roller it floats on to, and person at winch takes up the tension and starts winding. The tension pulls the boat on straight, and care is taken that as boat approaches each set of rollers, that it will hit the "v notch". Always comes on perfectly straight this way. When the boat bow eye tucks under the bow stop roller, a safety chain is hooked on, and out you go.

My 25 Outrage has a 5 to 1 and 12 to 1 gear ratio 2500lb winch, but usually the 5 to 1 is all that's needed, and usually only one arm to winch. People have stood around in amazement as a lady winches up the 5500 lbs of the 25 Outrage with one hand, at 5 to 1 ratio.

Whaletosh posted 06-05-2001 08:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Not launch ramp, but similar. Two weeks ago one of my co-workers saw a boat come off of a trailer at a busy intersection. The only way to get it out of the way and clear traffic was to drag it about 100 feet into a parking lot. Ouch! I'll bet the owner wishes he had used proper tie downs!


P.S. this wasn't the result of a panic stop, the boat simply slid off the trailer.

reelescape1 posted 06-05-2001 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
This is from the local club,

Andy Shultz (Tarreel)
Monday, June 04, 2001 - 10:16 pm
Speaking of lost keys, i've got one to top that. I launched by myself at Wappoo a few months ago and headed towards Kiawah to do some fishing. On the way back i started looking for my truck keys as i got close to the ramp. I couldn't find them anywhere, and I thought for sure that I had locked them in the truck. To my suprise, when I got to the ramp I saw that I didn't lock them in the truck, but I never even parked the truck. There it was, sitting in the middle ramp at Wappoo, trailer in the water, engine running, and door standing wide open. It was sitting there for over four hours. Fortunately it was during the week and trailer traffic was at a minimum. How stupid can I be. Good thing i had a full tank of gas.

Chesapeake posted 06-05-2001 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Triblet mentioned something in passing that is worth re-discussing a second time. NEVER put your body between your boat and an immovable object. If you are at sea or in the bay, don't tie up to large pilings or bridges.

About five years ago I was vacationing in Ocean City, NJ and was out in a friend's whaler. As we approached a large bridge, the coast guard was there with four boats (no whalers) and a young woman was hysterical in one of them. Back at the dock, one of the coast guard captain recounted the story.

Apparently, the captain had previously tied up to the bridge and was leaning over the boat to untie himself when another boater happens by and made a very slight to moderate wake. The wake lifted the tied up boat and pushed it into the bridge support. Unfortunately, the captain's head was between the gunnel and the bridge support and was instantly crushed. He was dead before the boat settled back from the wake.

As I said, the coast guard captain recounted this story back at the dock... while he washed down the deck of this guy's boat as seagulls swept down for... Well, you can imagine the rest. I don't mean to be so dark, but it is a story that has haunted me for years.

We all unthinkingly and innocently occasionally do things that are inherently unsafe and get away with it. At the time, I never would have thought twice about tying up in the bay...

Just don't want someone on this site to unthinkingly miss an important warning imbedded in Chuck's message.

triblet posted 06-05-2001 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I very nearly learned about that the hard
way too. In my pre whaler days, I'd been
out on one of Monterey's commercial dive
boats. The lens cap came off as my camera
was being handed down to me on the dock.
Thinking it would be $50 part, I quickly
laid the camera down and started to reach
between the boat and the dock to grab it
before it sank. All of a sudden I found
myself accelerating upwards. The divemaster
was a BIG dude and he'd just picked me up
like sack of dog food (I'm not little: 6'5",
205). He hadn't even
started to put me down when the boat (50')
banged into the side of the dock, right at
what would have been elbow level.

Turns out the new lens cap was $13.


andygere posted 06-05-2001 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I use lhg's method to retrieve my Montauk, and it really works well. On most ramps, I am able to just get the sternmost roller into the water without submerging my trailer's wheel bearings. I do add one more trick for safety. I purchased a plastic wheel chock at West Marine and tied a 10 foot length of rope to it. When I (or my wife) back the Jeep down the ramp, the chock goes behind the rear wheel. When pulling the trailer up the ramp (both loaded and unloaded), the chock is left in place and just dragged along with the rope until trailer and Jeep are clear of the ramp. This prevents a "roll back disaster" that can happen from slippery shoes on clutch pedals, steep mossy ramps or failed emergency brakes.
Arch Autenreith posted 06-05-2001 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
About 12 years ago, during my marriage years, I backed the trailer into the water, put it in park, put on the emergency brake and got out to take the boat off the trailer and hold it because of a fresh onshore breeze. For the first time I asked my wife to park the car and trailer. I watched the reverse lights go on, stay on, and then she couldn't figure out why the car didn't move. She continued to push the accelerator pedal to the floor and then realized that the emergency brake was still on. With the pedal still to the metal she starts groping for the emergency brake handle! I only had seconds to run out of the water and start yelling to her to stop what she was trying to do. I did make it in time, fortunately. Both trailer and car would have been in mid-river if I hadn't. I now shudder to think what if she hadn't been able to get out of the car quickly enough if she did back into the water. The water Gods must have been looking out for us that day....again.
Whaler4me posted 06-05-2001 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler4me  Send Email to Whaler4me     
A couple of weeks ago I was at a ramp picking up a Nautica tender for a client. Also at the ramp with me was a 47' Apache powerboat. Hauling this boat was a sight to be seen.
The tow truck was a F-350 Ford Dually. The boat, an Apache 47' with triple inboards, and the trailer had to be at least 55' long.
Also of note the trailer had no winch to pull the boat. The ramp is quite steep and not very long in length about 30' in length before it drops off to 15' in depth.
Anyway they slowly manouvered the boat in line with the trailer, once the boat driver felt the trailer under the boat, he SLAMMED the three throttles to WOT at this point the noised level was deafening. The exhausts were under the water, but the air pressure from those big block engines shot water and exhaust gasses several feet behind the boat.
The Apache slowly eased up the trailer and stopped, with the engines still wide open.
At this point the driver and truck driver both started scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get this beast the extra 10' forward on the trailer. The truck backed down the ramp maybe four feet untill the wheels were at the very end of the ramp, well this must have been enough because when the boat started back up the trailer at WOT the boat shot forward, and stopped within 6" of the back of the Ford. Very scary, yet quite amusing for the bystanders.
lhg posted 06-05-2001 02:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
With a v bottom boat like that, all they needed was a good keel roller trailer and about eight cross members, each with dual rollers, and a good winch. The Egyptians learned about 6000 years ago that heavy things are best moved on rollers. Is the boat industry that far behind the times? The bigger the boat, the more you need rollers.
blackdog posted 06-05-2001 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I never power load probably because I donít think I can handle it safely. I thought power loading was illegal?
One trick I picked up on from my boat sales man. If you have 4 wheel drive itís a good idea to use it on the ramp. The tongue weight may shift upward when you launch & retrieve making the rear wheels pick up slightly and the parking brake may not be effective. Of course its best to have some one in the truck, in gear foot on brake.


lhg posted 06-05-2001 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Around the midwest, where launching ramps are often in sand bottom areas, power loading is usually illegal, since the prop wash pushes out the sand underlying the pavement, causing it to collapse.

A few years ago I saw a launch ramp attendent get after some guys trying to load their 30' cigarette boat on a bunk float on trailer, engines roaring, in spite of huge signs that said no power loading. Without the power, they simply could not get the boat on. The wimpy winch that came with the trailer was a joke, and the friction was too much. They couldn't back in far enough to float it on. He chased them out, and they had to go to a launching ramp 10 miles away.

triblet posted 06-05-2001 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Power loading is fine on the concrete ramps
I use.

Good point about 4 wheel drive, and another
advantage is that compound low makes the
truck back up more slowly, so you have more
reaction time.

However, counteracting the tongue weight
change is that the trucks weight distribution will shift aft when you back
down a slope. It's the exact same effect,
but on the truck rather than the trailer.


jacko posted 06-06-2001 04:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jacko  Send Email to jacko     

A long while ago when I was young my mum and some of her lady friends decided to take my dad's wheel steer 16ft Dory out for a drive on the water. It was trailered into the water and they all jumped aboard. I think it had a 20hp engine which started first time. Anyway concentrating more on their Gin & Tonics than safety they set for a trip around the bay at full throttle. After about 50 yards and at 15 Knots they hit a yacht broadside. It sounded like a bomb going off!Thankfully everyone was ok but the yacht and my dads Dory were a right mess.
If only mum had listened to dad when he said 'the steering was'nt fitted yet and she had to use the throttle grip.'

jimh posted 06-06-2001 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Reinforcing a point Larry mentions, the keel rollers work best when they are well greased and the Stoltz poly-roller style.

His big Outrage rolls more easily than my 15-Sport, as I still have the old style black rubber rollers. They tend to deflect under load and they don't roll as easily.

I think I am also going to add a small stool to use on those ramps where the winch post ends up over a few inches of water. In mid-summer it's not too bad to wade in, but in early season that water is too cold. A small stool would avoid all those dangerous maneuvers trying to walk down the trailer tongue to the winch. Place the stool in the water and gracefully step over to the winch!

I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a winner.


Bullbay posted 06-06-2001 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bullbay  Send Email to Bullbay     
I continue to experiment with my float on trailer/Montauk combination and still have not found the best way to put the boat on the trailer by my self. When I go to the bow with my rope the boat tends to float back and I have to be a real good cow boy to rope my wench to pull the boat back up and keep it stationary while I climb out on to the trailer. Any suggestions?
JB posted 06-06-2001 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
Since I experienced similar problems launching and retrieving by myself, a big help was the addition of a pair of those vertical guides at the rear of the trailer. At least now I can winch my 15' up by myself as the guides keep the boat centered...
TightPenny posted 06-07-2001 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
In the Barnegat Bay where I launch, the water depth is about 1-2' deep at the end of the trailer with the truck wheels at the waters edge.

Power loading is not an option. It is the old winch action that gets the boat on the rollers. Which is why I have an electric winch.

Hank posted 06-08-2001 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hank  Send Email to Hank     
If the stool doesn't work out consider a pair of kneelength wading boots. I bought a pair of Pro-line boots for $16. They're great. Slip off my boat shoes and slip on the boots. Cleated soles grip the ramp and I don't have to climb on the trailer tongue to handle the winch.
When I'm finished I have a pair of dry shoes on for driving.
blackdog posted 06-08-2001 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
How about some non skid on the trailer? I have almost busted my ass a couple times


Bigshot posted 06-18-2001 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I do not like power loading. If it was they safe way to load then why isn't a float-on called a drive-on? I have a 17 Montauk and a 24' Baja. both have alum. float-on traiilers and pvc guides(major necessity). I can from dry ground,trailer, dock, etc, use the bowline to guide the boat on, hook up winch, winch it 2-3 feet and drive away. I have more problems with washed out ramps from powerloaders than you can imagine in FL. On a short ramp, your options are limited. On a good ramp, no need to endanger onyone or anything, float it.
Toad2001 posted 06-19-2001 02:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Toad2001  Send Email to Toad2001     
I couldn't beleive it.
An oblivious Seadooer was doing donuts in front of an otherwise perfectly calm boat ramp while I was trying to load my 15' GLS (tonight). My gelcoat banging on galvanized metal, I chose a few choice words once he finally stopped circling, which eliminated the wave action.
I told his buddy who by this time was waiting for him with his Ford Probe's tailpipe submerged that I was tempted to re-launch my now trailered boat and do the same to them ensuring that if I had he would be mopping out his back seat.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.