Boat Ramp Etiquette

What Every Boater Should Already Know

Boat on Ramp

This is one discussion that has been beaten to death over the years.  Yet here we are getting close to the boating season and there will be a lot of people who don’t read this article or any other one pertaining to how to properly use the boat ramp.  Everyone wants to get in and enjoy the water.  What people don’t want is to wait for an hour to put their boat in because people don’t know the rules.  So here it goes one more time for the road.  Enjoy and share this as much as possible to help all of us out there.

 Have The Boat Ready

First, the most important rule is to get everything loaded in the boat including people in the parking lot before you even think about getting near the ramp.  It doesn’t matter if you have the newest boat with marine woven vinyl that matches the seat and bimini top.  This will cause many interactions with other boaters really quickly.  If they are driving the boat or the vehicle backing the boat in they should be in the boat sitting down and waiting.  All the coolers and gear should be put in the boat as well.  Unstrapping the boat, putting the drain plug in(if applicable), and putting the bimini top up if you have one of those.  After all that you can get in line and be ready to launch.

Boats parked Sideways on dock

Second, is correctly tying up at the boat dock.  Don’t be the person who ties your boat up sideways and takes up the whole dock. Others need to tie up as well.  Most of the time you can have someone with you to drive the boat and just come pick the driver up and not take up any dock space but just for a minute.  The only reason you should be here is to pick up the driver, not to put the bimini top up or do any of the things that you should have done before you put the boat in the water.  This is not a hang out spot.  You can always go out in the cove and get the boat ready for whatever you need to do and be out of everyone else's way.  This is the safest place for that anyways.

Boat pulling up to dock

Now we are coming back to the ramp at the end of the day.  We need to do all of this in reverse order.  Get the boat as ready as you can before you pull up to the dock.  If you can help it, don't let children off now.  Just let the driver off to go get the vehicle and get away from the dock and wait in line for them to back the trailer down the ramp.  If there is a long line then this is the time to start getting as much as you can ready to leave the parking lot.  When the driver backs down the ramp, drive the boat onto the trailer and have the driver ready to hook up the winch and secure the boat.  Then the driver should pull up out of the ramp and to as far up in the parking lot as possible to be out of others' way.  Do not unload on the ramp.  Please.

Now if you follow these helpful tips, and if everyone else would follow these as well, the boat ramp will be a much happier place for all.  Bigger boats usually take a little more time usually.  Some people are by themselves and have to tie their boat up while they do the job of two people.  Don't rush or be rude to these people.  Do the best you can with what you have.  If you can lend a hand to people having a hard time that would be great too.  Sometimes motor trouble happens on the ramp, or before they get back to the ramp.  If everyone pitches in to help, everyone can have a great day at the lake.  Towing people back is much appreciated.  When you are in that position you will know how helpful it is.  

So I hope this helps and again please share this. It will help us all out in the end.  If you know someone and don't want to say anything this article should help them. Just print it off and put it in their mailbox or email to them.  Have a great boating season.