Pre-Launch Routine: The Key to Maintaining Your Boat

Have you ever gone to a boat launch and found that an
inexperienced boater takes far more time launching their boat than is
necessary, still to realize once on
the water that they forgot some key steps along the way?

More specifically, have you ever been that boater?

A good pre-launch routine for putting your boat in the water
at boat launches is essential if you want to maintain the quality of your boat and practice good etiquette to the other
boaters in the area. Here are a few suggestions for a quick, easy, and
headache-free launch routine that will keep you and your boat happy:

Part I: Before the
Boat Launch

If you’re self-conscious about how much time it takes you to
put a boat in the water, you’ll want to actually handle a few steps before you
even reach the boat launch. This is a
great opportunity to check for maintenance issues.

  • Check the
    propeller.
    The propeller, with the hull, is quite literally where the boat
    meets the water. If there are corrosion or debris issues, it will help to know
    them well ahead of actually taking your boat out on the water. If there are any
    major dents or dings, you might need to have your propeller repaired.
  • Check the
    hull.
    Ensuring that there are no major leaks or corrosion issues is
    important here, as is giving the hull a good once-over to ensure that it will
    keep you fully buoyant. Any maintenance issues should be addressed as soon as
    possible.
  • Check mechanics
    – including battery.
    Make sure all of your electrical gear is squared away
    and that your battery life is as full as can be in order to ensure a smooth
    trip.
  • Check the
    surrounding area and other boaters.
    First, give the actual boat launch area
    a quick scan to discover any sudden drops or areas you’ll need to watch out for
    during the launch. And be mindful of other boaters in the area—if an
    experienced boater is coming through, be willing to let them go first.

Part II: At the Boat
Launch

With your boat inspected, it’s time to actually execute a
smooth boat launch:

  • Check and
    adjust tie-downs as necessary.
    Many recommend disconnecting any tie-downs
    with the trailer save for the main wench line at this point.
  • Insert drain
    plug.
    Is your drain plug in place? If not, this is your last chance to get
    it squared away before hitting the water.
  • Load equipment
    from car to boat.
    Any applicable equipment like safety vests and fishing
    gear should be moved from the car to the boat so that you’re not scrambling to
    do it later.
  • Be ready
    to move once the boat starts floating.
    Some boaters recommend having
    someone in the boat at this point.

Now it’s time to back the trailer up and launch the boat
itself, if you’re using a common lake launch point. Once the boat just starts floating is a good time to
disconnect and allow the boat to slip away so that you don’t put the trailer
too deeply into the water.

Voila! You have a boat launching routine. This routine will
not only make for a smooth and polite boat launch, but will give you an excuse
to check up on some essential boat parts and systems to ensure that everything
is squared away.

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