Tips for Launching a Boat Safely

Tips for Launching a Boat Safely

by / Monday, 18 July 2022 / Published in Maritime Law, Tips
Brown and white sign indicating a boat ramp.

The first step toward a fun and relaxing day on the water is getting your boat in the water. But launching a boat isn’t always a fun and relaxing process. Trying to back a vehicle up with a trailer attached is tricky enough, but then there’s the added pressure of trying to get your boat launched when other boaters are waiting to use the ramp. On top of everything else, ramps can be extremely slippery, making it very easy for people and vehicles alike to lose traction and slide into the water. In some cases, poor ramp design or a lack of ramp maintenance makes launching a boat more difficult and unsafe than it should be. 

Even experienced boaters can make mistakes while getting their boats in the water. YouTube is full of videos showing how easy it is for things to go wrong at a boat launch. But when people get hurt as a result of a boat launching error, it’s nothing to laugh about. If someone loses control of their vehicle, whether it’s because of an excessively slippery ramp or because the parking brake wasn’t set, it’s very easy for someone to get hurt. It’s also very easy to experience significant property damage, such as a total loss of your car if it ends up submerged in the water. So, what can you do to help get your boat in the water safely?

Check the Conditions

Before you start putting your boat in the water, one of the best things you can do is make sure you have a clear path. Is there anything on the ramp or in the water near the ramp that your boat might hit? Are there any extremely slippery spots that could cause you to lose traction? Don’t forget to check the water for swimmers and boats who might be nearby. Be sure to note the direction of the current so that you know which way it’s going to try to direct your boat.

Don’t Go It Alone

Having a person to help you will make it much easier to launch your boat safely. When you have someone to act as a spotter for you, they can help direct you onto the ramp and help identify issues with the ramp that might cause problems. If you don’t have someone with you, other boaters near the ramp are very often willing to help a fellow boater out by being a spotter for them. 

Clear Communication

While you’re in the process of getting your boat in the water, be sure you have a clear line of communication between you and the person guiding you in. Turn off the radio and anything else that might be making noise and keep the windows down so that you can clearly hear each other. Before you start launching your boat, be sure to tell your spotter about what exactly you plan to do so that your spotter knows what to expect. 

Don’t Forget The Parking Brake

Once your boat is in position and ready to be released, don’t forget about the parking brake. This may seem like an obvious step, but forgetting about the parking brake is a very common reason why people end up having their vehicles end up in the water. Also, be careful not to back up too far. If you do that, the pull of the water on the boat can also pull your car into the water. 

Contact a Michigan Boating Accident Lawyer

Michigan is full of wonderful boating opportunities. But when people aren’t careful with their boats, catastrophic injuries can occur. If you’ve been injured, it’s extremely important to contact a boating accident lawyer for help. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and your legal options. Contact us today for help with your case.

Image: Jeremy-Morris / Unsplash