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Author Topic:   Driving onto a trailer
Mullet posted 08-13-2001 12:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for Mullet   Send Email to Mullet  
This may not be considered a Whaler post but since most of us trailer Whalers I'll take that chance. I have always driven my boats onto the trailers unless there are extreme circumstances such as water too shallow to put the motor down. However, on another post there was reference to driving a boat onto a trailer being illegal. This was in the Great Lakes area. This got me thinking. Who else drives onto trailer and does anyone know where else this may be illegal?
Bigshot posted 08-13-2001 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Most ramps near me do not allow it but everyone still does it. It undermines the ramp and causes humps from the washed away dirt. Our yacht club ramp collapsed due to drive-ons. I have owned many Float-on trailers, never seen one that said drive-on. I personally think it is dangerous and unnecessary. I walk my boats on and then winch the last few feet. A good winch is the key along with trailer guides.
triblet posted 08-13-2001 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I usually float my Montauk on at the
Monterey Breakwater, though I will occasionally
drive it on there if I've got someone on the
boat that can back the trailer down for me.

I always drive it on at Pt. Lobos. The ramp
is narrow, with BIG rocks on both sides, and
no finger piers, and wave action.

Depth isn't an issue -- if it's deep enough
to get it on the trailer, I can run the
engine. I tilt the engine till the tip of
the blades is just starting to come out of
the water.

It doesn't take a lot of power to put on the
trailer. It just kinda coasts up to within
a couple of feet of the winch, then Admiral
Linda winches it the last bit.


SuburbanBoy posted 08-13-2001 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
"No Power Loading or Unloading", I have seen this posted at every boat launch I have used in the past 30 days, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

As I recall, several members have stated that if the proper trailer is used (rollers under the keel) with the proper rollers (Stoltz, the honey colored version) and if it is all setup correctly, you whaler will just roll off or roll on. To load my 15', I will back the trailer into the water until the back roller is just underwater. I will winch it up the rest of the way. When I unload, I can't push the boat off the trailer when it is only submerged at the back roller. I have all of the Stoltz rollers, perhaps something is missing. In any case, "Power Loading" does not seem to be necessary for my setup.


Ventura16 posted 08-13-2001 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
For over 20 years, I've lived on an inland lake in Michigan (Detroit area) which has a Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR)-operated public access site. There is no sign prohibiting power loading/unloading and I've never seen any of the DNR personnel speak to anyone about it. The ramp is also frequented by the local sherrif's Marine Patrol doing safety checks, and they have never said anything to me about it. Their only usual comment is: "nice Whaler...I love those boats!"


russellbailey posted 08-13-2001 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
On the inland lakes I visit in the Southeast, most people power load to some extent. I've seen only a handful of people use winches to bring the boat up the trailer and have never seen a sign about not power loading.

The guys who go in and out here the most and the fastest are the bass fishermen. Most pairs I see have the boat motor running before the the truck even stops backing up. Coming back in they are equally fast - well under a minute. No winching there.

Most ramps we use go a long way into the water to accomodate fluctuating lake levels, and I don't think washing out the ramp is an issue.

With our Striper 15, I back in till it almost floats off, then push off. Coming in, I don't back in so far and just hit the all bunk trailer with a little speed - it almost always goes up until the stop hits home. The boat is enough out of the water at this point that wave action has no effect and it is always centered. Very quick and easy. I only sometimes have to give it any gas to push it up the trailer.

I can winch it to this point also, but that involves getting out with it still floating and just generally takes more time.

Mullet posted 08-13-2001 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mullet  Send Email to Mullet     
I think it is almost a courtesy thing. With my wife in the truck I can have the boat on the trailer and out of the water in less than a minute or two. Not aiming this at anyone on this board but it gripes me silly to sit there while someone lets out all the winch strap and take 10 minutes to winch the boat back onto the trailer.
Here is the routine. Back the boat almost into the water and take off the straps, put plug in and undo winch strap. Get in boat while wife backs into water far enough to float the boat. By this time engine is running and am off the trailer. Loading is almost reverse. She backs it in to a designated depth and I hit the trailer, raise the motor, and take a couple of turns on the winch and we are gone.
I do however understand blowing out the ramp. What I do is hit the trailer with enough speed that it takes little power to take it on up to the stop. Plus the ramps I use are designed for about a 3 to 4 ft tide change so they extend pretty far out.
Prettiest thing I ever saw was watching two guys load a Grady White. They had one of those spring pins that lock thru the bow eye when hit. One guy backed the truck into the water while the other was heading for the trailer in the boat. Just about as soon as the trailer stopped the boat rode onto the it, the pin sprang thru the bow eye, and the truck pulled it out. One fluid motion. I am sure they had practiced this but it was still pretty.
Macman posted 08-13-2001 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
I generally follow same procedure as you do, Mullet. I never have to "power load"; just a wee bit of throttle and on she goes!
tarbaby posted 08-13-2001 08:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for tarbaby  Send Email to tarbaby     
Not to rain on anyones parade but, I do not drive on. First off, I am not so lazy that I need to drive on the trailer. These boats are light so how hard can it be to crank one on? Second, These boats are not designed for doing this maneuver. The bottoms are thin skinned which will eventually cause lumps and gouges. Get off to the side a little and you are going to miss a keel roller and have a nice scrape on your bow. Take care of them for the next generation. My 2 cents.
GAwhale posted 08-13-2001 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAwhale  Send Email to GAwhale     
If you take the boat out of gear you lose practically all your steering. I have a float on Magic Tilt trailer. I have had the best luck when I am concetrating on lining up my boat straight (not the throttle). I just idle her up till she stops; shut off the engine; then jump out; and winch her the last two feet.

Someone, perhaps in this forum, gave me the idea to spray the carpeted bunks with silicone spray. It was not a good idea. When I first applied it, I had a difficult time hooking and unhooking the bow fitting. The boat kept wanting to slide down.

triblet posted 08-13-2001 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
GAWhale, I was probably the one that
suggested the silicone. Works real well,
eh? ;-)

And my trick for driving the boat on the
trailer is to make sure I'm standing dead
center between the gunwales and just drive
the boat so my eyes stay on the centerline
of the trailer. In a cross wind or cross
current, the boat will be pointed
up wind/current, but as long as I keep myself
on the centerline, and just straighten at the
last momement it works great. The EzGuiders
do the last little fine centering.

Mullet: I would never undo the winch strap
before the boat's in the water. If it comes
off the trailer, it's a nasty drop to the


Whalerdan posted 08-14-2001 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
Especially if you're in it.
Whaletosh posted 08-14-2001 07:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
My wife and I have never power loaded the boat. We also rarely take more than 2-3 minutes to load the boat. Even when I load the boat myself I rarely exceed 4 minutes. Whether power loading or winching, practicing is the key to limmiting ones time at the ramp.


Mullet posted 08-14-2001 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mullet  Send Email to Mullet     
triblet, not my boat. Ten men and two mules couldn't pull it off the bunks, I have to float it off. When loading and the bunks are wet it just slides right on. Also, don't consider this laziness, just easier and faster.
where2 posted 08-14-2001 06:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
SuburbanBoy, What arrangement of 15' are you using? My 15' Sport needs a gentle shoulder to push it off the trailer, and a gentle bump of the hip to get it off the floating lift (lift is built just like a roller trailer). I have Stoltz on both, and usually never dunk the rear roller on either. Sounds like your bunks might be 1/2" too high on the trailer?
where2 posted 08-14-2001 06:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Mullet, Funny thing about that winch cable: If I hook it to the last cross member on the trailer, I don't spend 3 minutes unwinding it. All alone, I can usually winch the boat on the trailer (No dunking, I don't even get the frame wet) faster than the power load guys. Then again, I have a good winch, and a properly setup trailer, I guess.

My gripe is the guy who washes the entire boat off at the top of the ramp before he tows it home. (I use a municipal ramp for Locals Only, How far can the house be? 3 Miles??)

SuburbanBoy posted 08-14-2001 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Where2, thanks for the suggestion. Somewhere on this web site are instructions on how to set up the "bunks". Yes, I too suspect that I need to adjust something, probably the bunks. Just switching to the poly rollers, (Stolz), made it infinitly easier to winch up. They are very expensive, and I installed one at a time over a period of a week. Watching my wife winch the 15 up without the poly rollers convinced me to start the swap-out. I think their center of the new poly's are about 1/4" lower than the cracked, old rotted rubber rollers. The roller that made the most difference was the first, and largest roller.


grogden posted 08-14-2001 10:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for grogden  Send Email to grogden     
my 2 cents,I tie up on the finger dock, back my just adequate trailer down to the edge o f the water,drive the boat right on and if the wind or waves arent too bad its winched on and driven out in about two minutes.IF you dont drive it on how do you keep from getting realy wet, at least where I live.
triblet posted 08-14-2001 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Don't want to get wet? Wear a drysuit. ;-)
Seriously though, I can and have done it
without getting wet.

How to avoid getting wet? Well, first get
the trailer in far enough that you can get
the boat most of the way on. I have no
problem with this because my trailer has a
really long tongue. I don't even get my
truck tires wet. Put the boat as far on the
trailer as you can, either driving or using
the bow and stern lines. Go up by the truck,
jump down, walk down the tongue and winch it
up. You can jump down on the ramp when the
waves are out, jump back up on the tongue
when they come in.

When I've got another diver, I usually have
them just wade in. When I'm solo, I try
to stay dry so I don't track saltwater into
the truck. I've already rinsed my suit off
before I've gone to get the truck, so it's
clean, and I want to keep it that way.

On a decent ramp, I can put the boat on the
trailer in about two minutes, solo, not
counting go-get-the-truck time.


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