PUBLISHED: 12:01 PM on Wednesday, July 20, 2005
BoatU.S.' Top Ten Tips on How to Avoid Stress, Stares and Honking Horns at the Launch Ramp
When launching your vessel at a boat ramp, does it seem like the whole world is watching your every move? EIn the June 2005 issue of BoatU.S. Trailering magazine, Chapman's Boating Etiquette author Pat Piper offers ten tips for happier boating:

1. Prior to backing down the ramp have everything that needs to be transferred from the tow vehicle placed in the boat. Trailer boaters who wait until their vessel is in the water cause delays and get nasty stares.

2. Concrete and fiberglass don't mix. EUnhook the boat from the winch after the vessel is in the water, not before. EOnce your boat is splashed, have your crew secure it to the dock while you park your tow vehicle and trailer, leaving the ramp open for the next launch.

3. Don't make others wait while you're having a discussion with your crew on where to go or else those waiting in line behind you will happily offer suggestions.

4. Offer assistance if someone needs help. If you have never backed down a ramp, practice in a large parking lot prior to launching.

5. If you're on the ramp and would like help, be succinct. This is not the time to ask questions about bleeding the brakes or to debate the advantages of bias ply tires.

6. Trailer parking spaces are for tow vehicles and trailers only. EGuests should park elsewhere.

7. Get into a routine at the ramp and use a checklist. It will make your life easier.

8. When returning to a ramp, drop off the person who will get the tow vehicle and trailer from the parking lot first and wait for them in an out-of-the-way location while they retrieve the vehicle.

9. Once the boat is on the trailer, secure safety chain to the bow eye and move up the ramp. ESecure the remaining tie downs and transfer stuff back to the tow vehicle when you get to the parking lot - not on the ramp.

10. If you'd like to talk to other boaters about launch ramp etiquette, your experiences at boat ramps or other boating related issues, go to the messages boards at