Fun Stuff

How to: Launch a Boat Solo

Boating is indeed an activity that’s often best enjoyed with friends, but that doesn’t mean you need to forego an opportunity to enjoy your watercraft if you don’t have company. Maybe you want to get out before sunrise while everyone else is still in bed, or just enjoy the serenity of a day out on the water in solitude. Regardless of the reason, don’t let the lack of an extra set of hands stop you from going solo.

While we recommend that you always share your travel plans with a friend or family member, it’s easy to launch a boat by yourself smoothly and quickly, with a few simple tweaks to the process. Boat launches can be busy, hectic places on a sunny day. Before getting in line for the launch, start by removing covers, checking fuel levels, and ensuring all essential items are on board such as the ignition key, emergency kit, PFDs, boating licence, bumpers, and lines so you aren’t unnecessarily holding up other boaters. 

Once such items are accounted for, inspect the ramp and take note of any bumps, potholes, or logs that could impede your launch or dislodge the boat from the trailer. Align the tow vehicle and trailer with the launch, reversing down the ramp as close to the dock as possible given these potential obstacles.

Once close to the water’s edge, put the tow vehicle in park and engage the parking brake. Undo the rear straps securing the boat to the trailer and stow in a safe place.

Reverse further until trailer and boat are partially in the water. Lower tailgate (if applicable) to assist with access to trailer and secure lines loosely to dock cleats. If no cleats are present, secure lines to stable, immovable objects nearby. 

Unlatch safety chain from bow and lower the boat slowly into the water using the trailer’s winch until it begins to float free of trailer. Unhook the winch. Adjust lines at bow and stern as needed, then pull truck and trailer forward, free of the ramp.

Use lines to move boat clear of launching area if possible. Turn on blower (if applicable) and start ignition. Release boat from dock and pull away slowly.

Boat safely and enjoy!