At Nautical Training & Marine Services I am dedicated to ensuring all mariners operate safely both during and after undertaking my Gold Coast boat training and licencing. To help achieve this goal, I’ve provided these vital tips for safe vessel launch and retrieval. By following these tips, it helps to avoid vessels being damaged and ensures the skipper, crew and passengers all remain safe. It also limits the amount of time it takes to undertake the launching and retrieval processes, minimising conflict arising on ramps during busy periods.
- Consider boating etiquette and avoid ramp rage by doing all your checks prior to launching either at home or in the staging lanes.
- Consider using a type of trailer with rollers or skids and bunkers.
- Consider prevailing conditions of wind, tide, traffic as to best approach and how your vessel will react once afloat and free from trailer.
- Bear in mind boat ramps can be extremely slippery and dangerous particularly on a low tide, hold onto your trailer or vessel at all times, use correct footwear and follow the grooves on the ramp to maintain your stability.
- Check bungs and remove towing tie down straps.
- Complete start up checks and battery power checks.
- Attach bow line to cleat so you have the option to launch solo.
- Once at launching lane, reverse trailer down ramp to just above axle or trailer wheels, depending on trailer type.
- Remove safety chain but maintain stability with snub or winch hook and ratchet in place until vessel is just afloat.
- For solo launch attach bowline to cleat and loop back down to snub so when boat is flat in water and afloat you can release from inside the vessel single handed.
- Working as a team, have skipper ready in vessel with crew ready to release snub/winch ratchet at bow.
- Prepare start up by trimming motor down sufficiently so prop is in the water.
- Start vessel, crew to release the snub/winch hook from bow and skipper to reverse away from trailer.
- Use of uprights or docking arms to keep vessel stable and centred.
- Alternately, release snub or disconnect snub/winch line and carefully walk vessel away from trailer using bow line to control your vessel at the ramp.
- Remember to use a methodical approach, double check everything and always one hand for yourself and one for the boat and practice!
If you’re struggling with either vessel launching or retrieval or need further assistance with Gold Coast boat training, contact Nautical Training and Marine Services on 0412 550 570. I have over 30 years’ experience in handling vessels of all sizes for recreational and commercial requirements.