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Old 17-08-2009, 09:14   #1
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Silly Things Seen at the Boat Launch

Launching a boat often tends to be a calamity of sorts. And if you are a people watcher it can be a very entertaining way to waste a day away getting in some laughs ,head shakes or some plain down right disbelief as the spectacles endlessly unfold.

I will share two of thoes, but just one right now to start this off with to get this going...Its one of my own doing for lack of knowlage and I hope this helps someone else avoid the same fate...The next one was witnessed in total disbelief as it unfolded...and I still shake my head to this day about it..so if ya want to hear that one lets get about 50 stories to this thread...

Here we go.........

Many years ago after owning different small open skiffs and various small knock about boats on trailers I bought our first real cabin cruiser, a 22.5' Bayliner Skagit. It sat on a tandem Axel trailer and requires probably 18" or better of submersion over the fenders to flote it off of it.

Many launching without a single hitch including even my very fist launching had me thinking this was pretty much child's play and I routinely launched and retrieved the boat singlehandedly at great speed and seemingly little effort or concern..routinely getting praise and accolades from other launchers whom seemed befuddled or greatly uneasy at the whole process.

One particular day a few summers back we had quite the dry spell and the lake levels were dropping below their normal low water level. I didnt even notice it or think about it and off the end of the ramp I went with both axles.
Should not have been a big deal except for the fact that a lot of people "Power" onto there trailers and the prop wash erodes away all of the gravel at the end of most concrete ramps I was to learn. So my trailer was basically sitting on the frame and there was know way I was able to jerk that trailers wheels back onto the concrete even void of the boat and having 4 wheel drive.

I had to humbly walk 1/2 mile up the hill through the long line of impatiently waiting people wanting to launch or retrieve there own boats as I plugged up the boat launch... My head hung low, my face red with embarrassment... all thoes past praises and accolaids vanished in a humble pile of humility right there and then.

I returned with the park ranger and his front end loader tractor..We had to unhook my truck, he chained up to the tong and lifted it up about 10' allowing the forward Axel to raise up enough to jump up onto the concrete as he backed away.

A big grin from his kind face and a pat on the shoulder saying "Dont feel bad ..I have to do this once or twice per week"

That didnt help all that much at the time but now that I look back on it is just another part of learning everything boat. And our experiences regardless of the idiot factor we feel at the moment is an opertunity to share with someone else and help them avoid the same mistake.

That ramp now has a yellow line painted on the dock notifying all future boaters exactly where the end of the concrete ramp is at...It was the least I could do for my fellow Idiots....er..I mean "man"...........yep!... I are one of thoes....
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Old 17-08-2009, 09:23   #2
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As a kid, most of my boating was done in trailer dingies and the launch routine was well versed and slick, so I know about the disbelief at peoples stupidity when watching the tricks and the stunts of the jerks and the runts when it comes to boat handling.First rule- there must be a leader who gives all orders, and others must listen and obey.Thats it, like a well rehersed military opperation, your guaranteed success.
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:07   #3
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Just the other day at our community boat launch a guy backed his brand new 22' fiberglass fishing boat down the ramp, stepped on his brakes about halfway down the ramp, and BAM! the boat slid off the trailer and crashed onto the concrete. We heard the crash a block away across the canal. I watched as he had to wait for the tide to come up enough to float it to the dock. He then loaded it onto the trailer and left.

I don't know how much damage he did to it, but I suspect it leaks quite a bit...

Steve B.
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:13   #4
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Well, we have a local marina....

That has a Screened "porch" over viewing, as in like "Right Down There" the boat launching ramp...picnic tables, adult beverages consumed while watching the goings on and those out on the river. Never fails...
It can be a "military operation",
or a chinese fire drill.
Nothing in the middle.
Both Types are entertaining (& enlightening) to watch.

The folks that have it "high & tightly wrapped" are gone (including parking afterward and pick up of that driver) in less than a couple minutes.

The other folks?
Well, a few comments:
1-Always put the coolers on the boat, ice in the coolers, life jackets, fishing tackle, everything You plan on taking except the clothing on Your body at the time...ON THE BOAT BEFORE launching.
2-Don't forget to remove the transom tie-down strap(s) BEFORE They're under water.
3-Don't forget the lower unit support strut from trailer to outboard.
4-make sure You have the hitch locked on the ball.
5-safety chains attached (in case You screwed up on #4 or #6 next)
6-Make sure the cross pin for that removeable reciever hitch (don't ask me how they made it ALL the way to the ramp pulling that boat?) is INSTALLED.
7-Make sure Your trailer winch is serviceable and YOU KNOW HOW to operate it.
8-ALWAYS Install ALL Transom Drain plugs BEFORE Backing down the ramp
9-Be courteous and respectful to the Your Crew and the nearby observers trying to point out anything related to 1-8 or following that is trying to be pointed out, because You Don't KNOW EVERYTHING.
10-Have an excellent Parking Brake.
11-Get OUT of the backing vehicle rather than relying solely on ONE MIRROR (or more) to judge where You, the truck, the trailer AND THE BOAT are; also don't forget to Use #10 prior exiting the vehicle (as in Never trust an automatic transmission in "park").
12-If Your Azz is TOO Fat or Lazy to do #11, have spotters and LISTEN TO THEM
13-don't back in 1 inch farther than necessary.
14-Make sure Your starting battery is fully Charged.
15-Make sure Your fuel isn't old/stale
16-Make sure both #14 & #15 are applicable to the TOW VEHICLE as well
(seen more than 1 run "out of gas" due to the elevation of the ramp having insufficient fuel to reach the pickup in the tank)
17-Have a competent operator ON THE BOAT as You disconnect the trailer winch snap from it's bow (yes folks, they are that stupid), OR in lieu of same have a "painter line" available, secured, and drift it to tie up at nearby docks.
18-Make sure nobody is left behind prior departure...that's real embarrassing.
19-Don't deploy a trolling motor over the bow until the vessel has cleared the trailer wheel wells/fenders
20-Don't park Your tow vehicle/trailer where You block other boaters/customers in, or anyplace that's clearly marked "NO PARKING"...
and finally:
21-Don't forget to PAY whatever ramp fees are posted and most importantly of all...
Never EVER PISS OFF Marina Management/Ownership. Your 1st launch might definitely become Your LAST there, forever, AND it might not even wind up BEING Your "1st"?

Seen it all, most of it way more than once. Also learned, being STUPID can get people hurt...badly.
Leave Your ego at the house.
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:25   #5
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My Baba 40 is at a slip where from the cockpit I am looking at a boat launch. 2 weeks ago I watched a family back there boat into the water. This was a power boat about 22' long with a cuddy cabin. The very overweight wife is left at the dock holding onto the bow line as her husband parks the trailer. Wind hits the back of the boat and it starts drifting out from the dock. Keep in mind she is holding onto the bow line which is about 24 feet long. She walks to the back of the boat still holding the bow line and reaches for the stern of the boat. There is a rail that she grabs hold of when the stern is about 3 feet from the shore. As she grabs hold the stern starts to move further from the dock. Of course she is still holding the bow line. The stern keeps going further from the dock until she is almost parralel to the water. It made for a hillarious sight as she fell into the water over her head. The boat moved with her still holding the bow line and now the stern rail to the boat on the next pier where the people at that dock started looking around to see who the boat belonged to. She eventually got around to the bow of the boat and out of the water, still holding the bow line.

Sometimes people do some really stupid things.

Jeff
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:31   #6
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Originally Posted by 6string View Post
My Baba 40 is at a slip where from the cockpit I am looking at a boat launch. 2 weeks ago I watched a family back there boat into the water. This was a power boat about 22' long with a cuddy cabin. The very overweight wife is left at the dock holding onto the bow line as her husband parks the trailer. Wind hits the back of the boat and it starts drifting out from the dock. Keep in mind she is holding onto the bow line which is about 24 feet long. She walks to the back of the boat still holding the bow line and reaches for the stern of the boat. There is a rail that she grabs hold of when the stern is about 3 feet from the shore. As she grabs hold the stern starts to move further from the dock. Of course she is still holding the bow line. The stern keeps going further from the dock until she is almost parralel to the water. It made for a hillarious sight as she fell into the water over her head. The boat moved with her still holding the bow line and now the stern rail to the boat on the next pier where the people at that dock started looking around to see who the boat belonged to. She eventually got around to the bow of the boat and out of the water, still holding the bow line.

Sometimes people do some really stupid things.

Jeff
SV/Mezzaluna
& I bet her hubby's 1st line was
"well at least You didn't let go of that line & lose the boat".

Further bet he got punched when out of Your sight....

People acting like the water is filled with "cooties" and they're going to DIE if they get wet always makes me smile...
Boats are holes in the water designed to keep Your butt dry...most of the time.
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Old 17-08-2009, 17:45   #7
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A buddy of mine was putting his boat in the water on Memorial Day a few years ago. Very crowded, and quite an audience. His wife was backing the boat in, and asked, "How do you want to do this?". He shouted at the top of his voice: "Just jerk me off like you usually do!". The laughter was overwhelming.
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Old 17-08-2009, 19:17   #8
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"How do you want to do this?". He shouted at the top of his voice: "Just jerk me off like you usually do!". The laughter was overwhelming.
You can't pay for comedy that good.

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Old 17-08-2009, 19:54   #9
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One of the launch ramps in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta has bleachers... Boat launching CAN be a spectator sport!
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Old 17-08-2009, 21:48   #10
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I justbought a new boat and decided to take 'er for the maiden voyage thispast weekend.
Thisis my first boat and I wasn't quite sure of the exact StandardOperating Procedures for launching it off a ramp, but I figured it couldn't be too hard.
Iconsulted my local boat dealer for advice, but they just said "don't let the trailer get too deep when you are trying to launch the boat".What am I doing wrong?
Well, I don't know what they meant by that as I could barely get thetrailer in the water at all!
Anyhow, here's apicture below. See for yourself. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 17-08-2009, 22:11   #11
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Old 17-08-2009, 22:51   #12
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What am I doing wrong?
Geez, it's so simple... I can't believe nobody else has figured it out. Put the plug in so the thing doesn't fill up with water! Sheesh...
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Old 18-08-2009, 13:34   #13
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Now I'm going to have to spend less time sailing and more time at the docks with a colder next to my easy chair.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:29   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SariTimur View Post
I justbought a new boat and decided to take 'er for the maiden voyage thispast weekend.
Thisis my first boat and I wasn't quite sure of the exact StandardOperating Procedures for launching it off a ramp, but I figured it couldn't be too hard.
Iconsulted my local boat dealer for advice, but they just said "don't let the trailer get too deep when you are trying to launch the boat".What am I doing wrong?
Well, I don't know what they meant by that as I could barely get thetrailer in the water at all!
Anyhow, here's apicture below. See for yourself. What am I doing wrong?
Hummm, I have to wonder abou this one. The picture is at the public ramp in Marina Del Rey, California, quite a distance from where you are. And it is an all to common occurance here.
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Old 18-08-2009, 18:11   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SariTimur View Post
I justbought a new boat and decided to take 'er for the maiden voyage thispast weekend.
Thisis my first boat and I wasn't quite sure of the exact StandardOperating Procedures for launching it off a ramp, but I figured it couldn't be too hard.
Iconsulted my local boat dealer for advice, but they just said "don't let the trailer get too deep when you are trying to launch the boat".What am I doing wrong?
Well, I don't know what they meant by that as I could barely get thetrailer in the water at all!
Anyhow, here's apicture below. See for yourself. What am I doing wrong?
My husband and I practiced our profanity on each other for about 15 minutes one day at the boat ramp till we figured out we hadn't untied the ropes holding the boat to the trailer. We felt stupid.

At least we didn't lose both the vehicle and the boat. We watched someone else do the same thing with an SUV and a large power boat. We came by a couple of hours later after our outing and only the antenna of the SUV was visible above the water at that point. oh ouch.
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