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Author Topic:   Launch Ramp Experiences
jimh posted 07-08-2002 06:20 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Over the long weekend (of perfect weather) I finally got the 20-REVENGE back in the water this season. A couple of things that happened on the launch ramp reminded me I ought to mention them.

DEPTH GAUGE: When I first got the boat (in late summer 2000) I experimented when loading it on the trailer, looking for what was going to work best. Mainly I tried backing in the trailer to different depths. After several iterations, I found a depth that seemed to work best. Before hauling out that time, I marked the depth on the trailer fender with a piece of white tape. Now when I back in to load the boat, I look in the rear view mirror and put the waterline right at that mark. Doing this has improved the efficiency of the loading dramatically.

Of course, not all ramps have the same slope so the exact depth of the rear of the trailer is variable. I guess if I had installed those long white guide poles I could have marked the depth on them. (I had better get around to that project next.)

The simple piece of tape on the trailer fender has been very helpful in getting the trailer set to the proper position for loading the boat. I suggest it next time you find you have hit the loading just right.

(This is more humorous than helpful.)
Boaters are usually pretty helpful, but that is not always a blessing. Last Saturday we were waiting to haul out, the boat sitting at a seawall adjacent to the ramp. While the ramp cleared I fetched my trailer and backed it into position. Instead of starting up the boat engines I just shoved the Whaler off the dock and let it drift across the ramp area to the dock at the ramp.

As I landed at the ramp a helpful fellow (who was waiting for his friend to launch on the other side of the ramp) grabbed my bowline and gave a huge pull. Before I could get out of the boat and stop it, he had hauled the Whaler forward and grounded the boat on the trailer fender!

I bit my tongue and just said "Thanks, I'll take it from here."

Then I had to heave the boat off the trailer fender and gently guide it onto the keel rollers.

I have found it almost universal that people who do not own boats or have much boating experience always over estimate how much pull it takes on a line to make a small boat like a Whaler move in the water.

(This is more anectodal than informative.)
As it happened that Saturdat night, when we approached the haul out area the ramp was busy so we tied to the seawall adjacent to the ramp. I left the boat to get the trailer, and, by the time I returned with the rig, I saw the guy who had been at the ramp coming up the incline with his boat and trailer.

"Great," I thought, "the ramp is all mine."

I backed the trailer down the incline to the ramp, but discovered in the 30-seconds the ramp had been vacant another boater had motored in and tied to the ramp's dock.

He sees me backing down, my trailer starting to enter the water, and comes running up to stop me.

After a few words are exchanged, I offer to leave the ramp and let him go first, if he thinks he really is ahead of me in line, having reached the ramp dock before I could.

What seems to be troubling him is why I didn't leave my boat at the ramp dock when I went to get the trailer. Ah, I explain, because when I got to the ramp there were boats there hauling out!

He sees the light, and backs out of the ramp so I can move over.

It seems like ramps are a constant source of raised levels of testosterone. People become rather irrational about these things. In reflection I guess my backing the trailer into the water while his boat was at the dock must have set him off. I probably should have stopped short and gotten out to discuss the situation.

But I mention all this because the worst behavior I have ever seen associated with boating has occurred at launch ramps, particularly ones where the participants have been boating and having a few beers. So my judgement is to err on the side of letting the other guy go first, even if he wasn't next in line, rather than getting punched in the nose by a drunk boater.

By the way, the guy at the ramp in my story above was hauling a 17-foot Bayliner bowrider. (I am serious--I did not make that up!)

acseatsri posted 07-08-2002 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
If it's any consolation, I used a trip to the launch ramp- WITHOUT THE BOAT- to convince my wife that getting a slip was worth the expense. We spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon there. Sometimes I think it's more entertaining than going to a movie!
David Ratusnik posted 07-08-2002 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
I've always found that the LOAD side of the equation was the most entertaining. David
Eric posted 07-08-2002 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
Ah, the old "ramp stories" thread, one of my favorites. It (the ramp, that is) is surely the center of small boating stupidity. I hope there's lots of replies to this one, because I love reading them!
Jay A posted 07-08-2002 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Here's one: I went by the ramp in our town the other day and someone was launching from a trailer a kayak ! Yes a kayak ! A small one man kayak on a trailer fit for an 18' boat ! And yes he was using the winch!
bdb posted 07-09-2002 07:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Geez Jim were you way over here at my ramp? It's like deja vu all over again.

I've pretty much decided to get a helicopter and just sling the boat to where I want it.

Harpoon Harry, in pilot training

Bigshot posted 07-09-2002 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I have a boat ramp in my back good stories to tell except when my bud Brian was "helping" me launch my carolina skiff. I let go of the winch lock and it started rolling. He went to slow it down and it pushed him right into the canal. Not very funny but all I have.
Ventura16 posted 07-09-2002 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
I just love to sit and watch the action at ramps...never a dull moment!

We were up in Lexington, Mich. doing some salmon fishing a few weekends ago. My buddy keeps his Grady-White 272 Sailfish in the marina, which is right next to the public launch ramp. We were sitting in the cockpit, relaxing after an early morning outing when we heard a tremendously loud scraping sound.
You guessed it...some guy forgot to raise his lower unit (I/O) and started to pull his 20' Bayliner (no kidding) up the ramp at warp speed. The lower unit cut a gouge about a foot deep and 10 feet long into the pavement of the ramp...until it dug in far enough to get hung up...then his forward motion pulled the trailer almost all the way out from under the boat. When he finally realized what was happening and stopped, the boat was balanced only by the bow of the boat resting on the rear crossmember of the trailer and the lower unit stuck in the ramp. It took a tow truck and about 10 guys over two hours to get it back onto the trailer...blocking one third of a very busy ramp the entire time...what a mess! But it provided a lot of entertainment for us...I just hope I'm not the next one to do a "stupid ramp trick"...I've certainly done my share, but never one like that.


whaleryo posted 07-09-2002 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for whaleryo  Send Email to whaleryo     
I was next in line to launch after a middle aged couple with old-looking jet skis. They probably bought them used and this was apparently their first outing. The husband was trying to help his, shall we say "full-figured", wife mount the PWC. Try as she might, she just couldn't stay on. It would look like she had it licked, then the thing would tilt to one side and she'd fall off into the water. This was repeated again and again. Of course the whole time, their car and trailer are blocking the ramp. At first I was annoyed that they were holding us up, but then I started to enjoy the entertainment. I turned away for a moment to talk to my son, and when I looked back, the jet ski was doing slow circles (without driver) in the bay. The husband retrieved the wayward PWC, loaded them back on the trailer, and left. It was great!


Tom W Clark posted 07-09-2002 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Sometimes I feel like I’ve seen it all, but I’m sure I haven’t. Launch ramps are an excellent place for entertainment at the expense of others but the scene can be a pretty sad one too.

I’ve witnessed three separate “launchings” of tow vehicles into the water.

The first was an old Datsun wagon that slipped into Cooper Lake near Roslyn, WA in 1980, The driver stalled the engine and didn’t get back on the brake quick enough and panicked. The gas slick that rose to the surface of this pristine lake made me sick.

The second accident was at Seattle’s Shilshole marina. An International Scout was parked on the ramp after having launched it’s load. The parking brake slipped or it came out of gear and the whole thing started rolling. The driver was tending to his boat directly behind the rig. He ran into the water to avoid being run over which he very nearly was.

The third dunking occurred at Olsen’s Resort in Sekiu, WA. Again a fellow had just launched his boat for an extended fishing vacation. His large (and fairly new) Ford pickup truck was parked on the ramp but apparently was not in “park”. The truck rolled into the salt water of the bay and I remember watching as his tool and tackle boxes floated out of the bed into deeper water and eventually sank. Talk about heart breaking...

The only near tragedy involving a Whaler I have witnessed was an incident at Shilshole where two guys in their Montauk were returning from a day’s fishing. This boat had the forward shelter, windshield and flying top set.

As they idled in towards the ramp from the end of the breakwater they were stowing their gear in anticipation of hauling the boat out. One of them folded the flying top forward and apparently one of the straps caught on the binnacle mount control and the throttle was pulled forward.

The engine, now under nearly full power, surged ahead and without any hands on the steering wheel the boat instantly turned to the right about 90° and shot up onto the boulders that the Shilshole breakwater is made of. In an instant that boat was almost completely out of the water and sitting at a 45° angle pointed skyward.

Both guys were OK but shaken. The motor had stalled when it hit the rocks. They gingerly steeped out of the boat and slid it back into the water and then paddled the 100’ or so to the ramp.

When they got the boat on their trailer I walked over and inspected the damage. The motor’s skeg and prop were mangled, but apart from some scratches, the hull had no damage that I could see. There were no punctures of the hull’s skin. I could hardly believe it.

whalerron posted 07-09-2002 12:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I was at Wye Landing on the Wye River which empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The landing gets very busy and people get very impatient. This day, there was close to a 1/2 hour wait to use the ramp.

There was a person there who got tired of waiting to pull his boat out of the water. He backed his Chevy 4x4 and trailer down the beach on the right side of the concrete ramps and loaded his 14 foot jonboat. When he pulled away, there was sand flying everywhere as he attempted to climb the soft sand. But, he did get the boat out. He left ruts in the beach that must have been 18 inches deep.

Another person who also was obviously tired of waiting decided to do the same thing on the left side of the ramps. This guy backed his 2 wheel drive truck and trailer down the the beach on the right side of the ramps. He floated his 24 footer onto the dual axle trailer and when he tried to pull away, the rig moved about a foot forward and then the rear tires dug holes in the sand and sank the truck to the rear axle.

He went over and had a discussion with the guy in the Chevy 4x4. Then, the 4x4 unhitched, backed over to the stuck truck and hitched up to the truck with chains. Then, with sand and gravel flying, the two trucks yanked and jerked but that boat really didn't want to move. They backed the whole mess down about 3 feet and then tried again. They gunned the engines in both trucks. The big tires on the Chevy were throwing sand 20 feet. This time, the boat came out of the water. When they got up onto dry land, the right side of the rear trailer axle was broken loose from the springs and the axle was twisted up like a pretzel. The guy had backed his trailer down over a submerged piling when he went to load from the beach.

squernt posted 07-09-2002 12:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for squernt  Send Email to squernt     
I have to agree that a boat ramp can be a very dangerous place, I've seen some very humorous things and some things that make you wonder what some people are thinking (or not thinking). After a couple trips to my local boat ramp I convinced the wife that a slip at the marina was a good investment during the summer months. I still use the ramp in the off season when the hi-tech rednecks have retreated for the winter. Although I am guilty of riding by the ramp and stoping to have some lunch and good laughs.
whaleryo posted 07-09-2002 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaleryo  Send Email to whaleryo     
This one sounds like urban legend, but it is not. This happened about 20 years ago on Long Island and I remember reading about it in Newsday.

Wantagh State park is located on the South Shore of Long Island. It has ball fields, picnic areas, a swimming pool, and a municipal marina with a large boat ramp facility. An old women became confused at night, took a wrong turn, and drove down one of the ramps into the water. She got out of the car ok before the car sank. The next day, divers were sent down to attach chains to the car so it could be brought up. While they were down there they noticed that the car was actually sitting on top of another car. When the second car was brought up, they found a skeleton in the drivers seat.
The car had apparently been down there for several years.


kingfish posted 07-09-2002 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

When you mentioned, "urban legend", I thought sure you were going to tell us about the boat that when launched, performed in a terribly sluggish fashion, couldn't get up on plane, etc., etc.. When the owner(s) finally gave up and came back to the ramp to pull it out, turned out the trailer was still strapped beneath it.

I've read the basic story presented in about a half-dozen different ways, and while there are some great mental images that do come up, I haven't quite been able to believe any of them.


VTfisherman posted 07-09-2002 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for VTfisherman  Send Email to VTfisherman     
A couple years ago while were were getting ready to launch a couple fellas in a brand new (still had the temp plates) Ford F150 pulled in to launch their aluminum fishing boat. The driver backed the trailer into the water and got out to unhook and push the boat off. He couldn't move the boat so he asked his buddy to back up the truck a little farther. His buddy gets out of the passenger seat STUMBLES around the front of the truck obviously drunk and backs up the truck until his buddy signals him to stop. He then gets out of the truck and stumbles back to help launch the boat. You guessed it... the trucks starts moving slowly down the ramp as the two drunks start frantically trying to get inside the cab. Apparently drunk #2 had hit the auto door lock button as he got out of the truck. Within about a minute the truck was completely submerged. The only way you could tell it was there was because the boat was still attached to the trailer at the bow eye and the stern was sticking up at about a 45* angle.
NEVER SCARED posted 07-09-2002 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
The thing I see the most is when the boat is loaded on the trailer and they drive up the ramp only to hear a grinding sound. Oooops! forgot to tilt the engine up. This happens all the time. I also like when some guys dry start the engine before dunking it. People that fish with me try to help load the boat by pulling on the bow line while on the dock. I say "your just gonna hang the reverse chine on the trailer guides". They also "laso" the docks cleat to stop the boat when docking. Thats like stoping your car by tying a chain to your bumper and fire hydrant. Its never a good idea to stop 2000 pounds instantly.
Bigshot posted 07-09-2002 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Man you guys really put my story to shame.....gonna start hanging out at ramps:)
Tallydon posted 07-09-2002 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
The one incident that I remember most is when this young fellow and his 20' older boat (that wasn't well maintained) blocked one of the two ramps in the St. Marks River, Florida on a beautiful Saturday afternoon last summer. He tried everything to get his motor to start so he could back away from his trailer. Because he couldn't start it, he began to dismantle it at the ramp while there was a line of boaters waiting to launch or retrive. He went to his truck and got his tools and proceeded to remove the starter from the motor. By then, people started to say something to him and suggested that he remove his boat and trailer and work on it at some other location.

He did not appreciate those remarks and cursed these folks along with his wife who looked like she was growing uncomfortable with the situation. I'm in the next ramp and just finished retriving my boat and I'm about to leave when this "ramp mechanic" folds and decides to leave. So he walks up to his wife, who was sitting the driver seat, and tells her to pull the boat out. You guessed it, he didn't raise his motor and there was horrible sound as the skeg caught something while boat and trailer were in motion. He ended up breaking his transom (which was probably rotted anyway) and the forward motion almost completely pulled off his old merc from the boat. It was hanging there off the transom with only the cables providing the needed support. Then, he blames his wife for his stupidity. Boat ramp adventures, you'll gota love them.

simonmeridew posted 07-09-2002 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Maybe they should check the DNA on the skeleton and try to match it up with Jimmy Hoffa
Jay A posted 07-09-2002 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Back in my late teens I worked for a local tow company. We got a call from the police to tow a "stolen" car that was torched in the woods. Half way to the yard motorists were blowing their horns and flashing their lights at us! We looked back and was amazed to see the car in flames again! No problem....We were near the boat ramp! Yup, we backed that flaming Firebird down the ramp and put out that fire for good! (And we were glad it was high tide!)
DCPeters posted 07-10-2002 12:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
Too funny.

I had the kids fishing at a nearby launch on Ontario last weekend. On my arrival I saw a 18' i/o 454 mercruser inside with the plug out draining...turns out he had just sunk it at the launch. His first outing on the boat, perhaps any boat. Forgot the plug.

After draining and new, borrowed battery the thing started. Fired up pretty quick and the guy tried to take off, having forgotten to lower the unit. Spinning way fast, pushing next to no water. We yelled, he trimmed the unit down and it bit and almost launched the boat into the air!

It is way too easy to buy a boat and get into trouble. The passenger was a bit green, and he hadn't even left the creek for the 4 footers on the lake!

My brother-in-law tells a much funnier story from last summer. He took his boat with five ten year old or younger kids and one 14 year old to the launch for a day of tubing and skiing. on arrival at the launch, they noted a fairly large crowd off to the right hand side of the launch that seemed to be dressed well, but gave them little thought.

He proceeded to get the kids in their jackets, do his pre-flight operations, basically getting ready to launch. He backs up, launches and ties up the boat. After parking the trailer, he walks back to the boat and then notices that the crowd is actually a funeral...casting ashes of some fisherman into the lake! The ashes are there floating at the launch. Folks crying, etc.

Now what to do...stay or of the kids says...don't turn on the motor, the guy will get sucked into the motor! After several awkward moments someone from the funeral signals that it's ok for him to fire up his motor and get out of there!

Funnier when he tells it, but a pretty unusual experience. And goes to show you should cast ashes out at sea, not at the launch.

EddieS posted 07-10-2002 02:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for EddieS  Send Email to EddieS     

Your story reminds me of an experience that my best friend and his father had. This is not a ramp story but related to ashes.

One of my buddies fathers longtime neighbors died and his wife approached him about spreading his ashes at sea. He reluctantly agreed, and told her he would do it as soon as he could. Time passed and they finally figured they had to get the job done. They launched the boat in Bodega Bay, and headed out to sea. To spread ashes in CA you need to be 3 to 7 miles offshore (I cannot remember exactly) at any rate it was not the nicest of days. There was a good swell running with some bad wind chop, they finally get far enough out and begin to prepare for the spreading of the ashes. My buddy Joe stands up to empty the urn and as he inverts the thing a gust of wind comes up and blows the ashes all over the boat and covers his father head to toe with ash. Father was not amused with son! Last time either one of them agreed to spreading ashes at sea!


where2 posted 07-10-2002 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Reminds me of the day I was eating lunch at the ramp around the corner. A couple of teenage women pull in on a pair of wave runners. One takes off life jacket and goes to back car down ramp. (long car, short trailer, empty trailer). She tries about 4 times to get it out of the parking space, and gives up. Other woman comes up, barely gets it out of the parking space after three tries, then after a couple of tries backing toward the ramp, decides to pull all the way around the circular parking lot, rather than try to back the trailer up anymore. She does that fine, but then pulls too far away from the ramp, and can't see the trailer as she tries to back up. Jack-knifed the trailer a couple of times, until a commercial fisherman came and picked up the trailer and set it straight behind the car again. He had to do this 3 more times until she got the trailer to the water.

Fortunately, this was a weekday so the ramp traffic was very light. A friend and I were quite amused, and slightly late returning to work from lunch, as this whole thing took 25 minutes to unfold. Also reminded me to teach my wife and friends to back the trailer up at the house, to avoid ramp embarrasment.

rsgwynn1 posted 07-11-2002 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
I once tried to launch my 19' Hyrda-Sports without taking the retaining straps off the stern. My stepson said, "I know this sounds weird, but the trailer seems to be floating under the boat." So, with great speed, I went to the back of the boat proceeded to cut the straps. If I'd thought about it a minute, all I would have had to do was pull the trailer back up the ramp and let the boat settle back down on t. Duh. Luckily this was in February and there were no witnesses.

Another time, I was in a 12 ft. aluminum boat with a six horse engine. I had just put one of those clamp-on seat swivels in the boat, and it wasn't properly tightened. When I put the motor in forward, I did a beautiful catapult over the transom while the boat proceeded across the bayou and a couple of feet up the bank. Luckily this was in August and there were witnesses, one of whom towed me to shore (I was holding onto the float cusion for dear life; my sandals had come halfway off and I couldn't kick at all).

My friend George was out in his friend Bernie's aluminum boat duck hunting. As they approached the ramp, Bernie cried out, "When we get close to the dock, jump off." So when they got close, say six feet away, George jumped off the bow of the boat into six feet of muddy water. Unluckily, there were many witnesses. This, combined with the six foot alligator who ate his one teal, considerably dampened his enthusiasm for further duck hunting.

andiamo posted 07-11-2002 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for andiamo  Send Email to andiamo     
When I was nine or ten I was allowed to take the 12 ft tin boat around the point from the front dock to the back dock by my self for the first time. With my parents watching I went around the point and went to slow the motor. Being the first time I had sat on the wrong side of the engine so as I twisted the stalk instead of slowing I gunned it at exactly the same time as the lower unit hit the water intake pipe from the lake for the cottage. The boat jumped out of the water right onto the dock with me in the rear. The best stunt driver couldn't have done it on purpose. The family story has is that when I was asked if I was ok I responded "you did say land the boat didn't you". Who needs a ramp.

I hope my first outing in my new to me (1986) Montauk will be less eventful when I get her in August.

ChocLabWhaler posted 07-12-2002 07:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for ChocLabWhaler  Send Email to ChocLabWhaler     
I can't tell you how many times I punched rocks with my family's old aluminum boat. All it has is a 6hp on the back and alot of "marine-tex" gray on the bow!! Boy, I miss my childhood. But that's how to learn to drive a boat. I've also done some open water "spinning" at high speed. THAT's pretty exciting no matter how old you are. I haven't seen my father laugh like that in a long time... sure slowed me down for a while.
kingfish posted 07-12-2002 09:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Open water "spinning"? You wouldn't be talking about what we used to call a "brody", are you? Dad had a 17' Century Cheetah with a 318 4-bbl. back in the late 60's, that would take everything on our local lake but the Donzis, and when us kids were out alone, we'd crank her up to WOT then simultaneously spin the wheel and pull the throttle back. The result was a pretty impressive sheet of spray and the boat going backwards at a pretty good clip. Dad couldn't figure why the rudder linkage support blocks kept breaking...Anyway, we called it "brodying"; probably lucky we didn't swamp or flip the darn thing. It would certainly not have floated like a Whaler...


ChocLabWhaler posted 07-12-2002 04:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChocLabWhaler  Send Email to ChocLabWhaler     
Not "brodying"... I'm talking about WOT and not paying enough attention, reaching for something on the floor, like an open Diet Coke, shifting your weight to grab it, and the tiller goes to port HARD! Boat starts doing circle at WOT. Can be pretty exciting depending on how many people aboard and/or watching....
Brodying is fun WOT in a ski boat...
Jay A posted 07-12-2002 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Saw a husband and wife with the wife driving the pickup.The husband was shouting: "Go ahead back up" several times. The wife gets out of the truck,slams the door and yells: "Make up your mind,which is it? Back up or go ahead?"
Highwater posted 07-12-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
That's funny! "Go ahead, back up." These are great stories.

By the way, how far should you back up the trailer? Seems like some of the more confident (experienced?) boaters at my ramp like to run their boats up onto the trailer using the boat's engine. Other people crank and crank and crank until I fear that the bow eye is about to pop out. I don't do either; instead I back the car so far into the water that the exhaust pipe is blowing bubbles. I am probably the source of other people's funny stories and don't even know it!

Jay A posted 07-13-2002 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Highwater: Saltwater, I don't let any of my tow vehicle touch it! Fresh water no problem,go as deep as you want.(Just as long as you don't blow bubbles from your seat!)
whalerron posted 07-13-2002 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I saw a good one at the Dogwood Harbor ramp on Tilghman Island, MD today. I had to wait 30 minutes for a guy to load his boat onto his trailer. He had just been towed to the ramp because his motor died. He backed the trailer down to the ramp and submerged his trailer. The funny part was that he had never cranked his boat onto the trailer with the winch. Instead, he had always powered onto the trailer. Now, with no motor, he was lost. He had absolutely no idea how to get the boat onto the trailer without engine power. It took 2 more people to help him figure out how to do it. At one point, they tried pulling the boat onto the trailer by had with ropes. They finally ended up holding the boat in position in the water and backing the trailer under it. Then, they pulled both out of the water together. Gee, I wonder what the winch is used for?
By the way, the boat was a bayliner. Go figure.
Ed Stone posted 07-14-2002 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
They unhooked the boat from the trailer
and the driver handed the bow line to
his friend on the dock.The man on the dock
stuck his wrist in the loop of the bow
line.The driver backed down in the water
and hit his brakes.The man on the dock
followed the boat into the water with
the loop still around his wrist.
He splashed around in chest deep water
until someone pulled him back up the ramp.
The rope marks on his wrist looked bad.
They took him straight to the doctors.
Ed Stone.
Salmon Tub posted 07-15-2002 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
This is a great one, maybe it was one of you, went out this weekend to Bodega Bay for a little bit of fishing. It was a zoo, saw the launch ramp and decided to go eat breakfast first. As I finally launched and started heading out, I though to myself what a zoo the load would be. Got back to the dock and waited in the "line" to tie off to the pier. Some of the boaters dropped off guys to get their rigs to power load. The ramp could handle three at a time, one on each side using the fingers, and power loaders in the center. In any case, as I waited my turn, another guy in a Montauk dropped off his buddy to go get the car. I don't power load so I have to pick a side and wait in line. The end of the dock empties and I tie off. There are two boats in front on the dock, so I better run so I don't slow up the procession. I get my truck and come in and see the guy ahead of me finishing loading, there is one truck parked, and waiting, but since my boat is the next in line, it is my turn. The set up at the dock leaves no room for more than three abreast, and if two big boats are coming in or out, there is no room for a third. On top of this, in order to give the guys behind room to park, you need to scoot your boat in real close, so that the trailer just barely squeezes in under it, the fingers are too short, even during high tide. Well, I set up and get ready to back in and the guy in the parked truck comes pulling up next to me and asks why I feel that it is my turn, I tell him because my boat is next and ask where is his? he says out on the water, and says something to the effect of that I shouldn't park the boat while I get the car. This makes no sense since it is standard procedure at most docks, power loading is for the few that not only have the experience, but also causes alot of problems at the dock in that the wash starts pushing other boats around, making it difficult to control them. I tell him that If he wants, I can let him go and my boat will not allow him to pull his boats out, nor will it let the guys behind me proceed. Then I got in my truck and proceeded to load my boat. His real problem was not me, but other power loaders that kept cutting off his boat from getting to the edge of the ramp. The odd thing is, this guy didn't wait in line, pulled right up and dropped off, and then got upset when the same thing happened just not in his favor, so the moral of the story is, take your time, be patient, and when in Rome, do as the Romans. And I am curious if it was one of our fellow forum members.
jimh posted 07-15-2002 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It isn't just the boat launch ramp where people think they're next in line when there is not a clear cut queue. I almost got in a fight with a woman at the public library in our very upscale community--about the most genteel place on earth--because she thought she ought to be ahead of me.

At the boat ramp it is an everyday thing. I'm like you, if some loopey boater thinks he's next, it isn't worth a poke in the eye to find out if he's that wacko or not.

Jay A posted 07-16-2002 01:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Along with boat ramp follies,is waiting for the bridge to go up! In my area we have a river (It's actually a coastal water way connecting Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay and turning Cape Ann into an island)Boats on both sides jockeying for position. And always a few who want to be 1st thru! Once the bridge is up,"River" traffic has the right-of-way over harbor traffic (At least that's what it is suppose to be)And as much as an 8knt tidal current depending of time of day! Now the stage is set. Now picture several 100' whale watch boats,30' to 45' sportfishermen,small boats,big boats and sail boats too! All trying to navigate a 50' wide channel! The prossesion begins,then there is a gap in the parade! Then vessels on the other side crank it up and start thru....but wait! Here comes the usual under-powered sailboat attempting to fight the current! The canal rails are crowded with astonished onlookers.The bridge tender stands in his bridge house with his hands in the air! The crowd starts to cheer the "I-think-I can" sailboat on. All the while the awaiting boaters start to curse! It made it! The remaining boats resume the parade then the bridge goes down. Show over....Next show in about 15 minutes! I didn't begin to mention what goes on with the motorist above!
Salmon Tub posted 07-16-2002 05:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
No Jim, I think you didn't understand, I said if he wants he can go ahead but he and I both knew the futility of his position. He stood there for a second, looked at the ramp, at me, at the ramp, at me and made mention of my needing to learn how to power load, or something to that effect. I in no means meant to let him go ahead, nor would he have been able to even if I did. There was already a boat power loading, another behind it waiting... If he wanted to squeeze in somehow, he would have to try and make that ramp fit 4 rigs across which just wasn't going to happen. I just figured that I would explaine the situation to him in a way that he would have to think for a minute and realize that my him letting him go ahead would be useless.
whitefoot posted 07-17-2002 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for whitefoot  Send Email to whitefoot     
Thank god for ramps with a defined line and system. There is nothing I hate more than the free-for-all ramps where it is a mad scramble to get your boat up.
lhg posted 07-17-2002 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have determined that in recent years the launch ramp priorities have been changing, as the crowds and lines increase in the busy areas.

It now seems that trailer-to-ramp order takes priority over landing the boat at the dock.
This is definitely against the single handed boater, or boater with a family where one person cannot handle either the boat or the trailer. When there is long of trailers to get the boats out, the sequence of which trailer is next in line at the ramp takes precedence. If you think about it, it's about the only way to keep things moving smoothly. It's the mandatory way where I launch. You get to bring your boat out when your trailer is in the ramp, just as you get to put it in when launching.

So this means people typically drop someone off who can get in line with the trailer, while another idles the boat around in the harbor, waiting. When your trailer comes down ramp, the boat operator brings it in for loading. If handled right by a launch ramp attendent, this system works. Anything else is a nightmare.

triblet posted 07-18-2002 12:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Launch ramp attendant?

That's a non-existant species in California.


andygere posted 07-24-2002 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I like to read these stories before I write the check for my slip fees each month. Worth every penny!
jimh posted 07-24-2002 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Well some launch ramp stories are better than others. Like this one...

On the Saturday of the Port Huron Rendezvous I hauled the boat up there, arriving about 10 a.m. I went to the launch ramp just upstream of the big downtown gathering of sailboats, etc. Caroline Farnsworth and kingfish came over to give me a hand launching.

Caroline expertly backs the boat into the water while John and I grab the lines and tie up to the courtesy dock. I hop aboard and work on getting the engines started. It is a beautiful sunny day, the engines fire up, I am letting them warm up a bit before I leave the dock. I lean over at the stern to throw the master breaker for the instruments, etc. That is when I notice the boat at the adjoining dock.

Next to us is a 24-foot Donzi type boat, the go-fast kind with the typical suning platform at the stern. Lying there on her stomach soaking up the sun is this very attractive young woman, say 22-years old at most, with no clothes on. I have to take a second look, then I see the dental floss thong bottom, but no top.

The noise from my two idling outboards seems to have disturbed her sun bathing, so she sits up on the stern cushions, modestly covering herself with one arm draped across her breasts.

I look over at kingfish to see if he has caught this on his radar screen. He's locked on to target, too.

"I think I better let these engines warm up a bit before casting off," I say. He nods agreement.

Our neighbor, who from what we can see--which is pretty much all of her--seems to have a wonderful tan that is not marred by any bathing suit lines at all.

From the cuddy cabin on the neighboring boat another young lass appears, almost the twin of the first save the wearing of a bathing suit. She tosses our sea-nymph the missing upper half of her bikini. This causes her to raise both arms overhead and wiggle into the tiny top.

At this point I am thinking to myself, "what a delightful start to a boating day."

OK, the show was over, I back out from the ramp and I am on my way.

So you see, not all boat launch ramp stories are depressing.

OutrageMan posted 07-24-2002 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     

EXACTLY where is this ramp. Did you get the model of that Donzi along with the registration numbers?

For a long time, Donzi has been advertising the sexual nature of their boats. It certainly seems like I have bought into the worng crowd with all of you Whaler owners.


DaveH posted 07-24-2002 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
I cannot think of a better subject for page 61 of Cetecea. Jim, er....ah, you did take pictures, didn't you?

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