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When Retrieving a Boat at a Ramp What Should Be Avoided? – Boat Ramp Etiquette

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

when retrieving a boat at-a-ramp what should be avoided

Knowing the do’s and don’ts at a boat ramp during peak boating season can prevent disagreements among vessel owners.

When retrieving a boat at a ramp what should be avoided? There are several retrieving courtesies you should observe. Without further ado, let’s get into them!

Things Not to Do at a Boat Ramp

It’s going to take a lot of practice and experience to retrieve your boat effortlessly at the ramp.

If you’re not used to launching and retrieving vessels, it’s best to bring along one or two friends who are familiar with doing so. Alternatively, you may learn boat ramp rules and regulations from them before showing up at the dock site.

Below are some of the things not to do when retrieving a boat at a ramp.

1. Occupying The Ramp For Too Long

Unsophisticated boaters often end up using the ramp for too long because they decided to carry out the preparation right on the spot, which is a common mistake among novices.

Most docks have a separate preparation area where you can unload and organize the vessel. The preparation should take place there, away from the ramp to avoid boat jams.

Also, catching up with friends may not be a good idea when retrieving your boat. There is always time to do so later; socializing will most likely result in your vessel taking up the space for too long, which will frustrate other people at the dock.

2. Washing Your Boat at The Ramp


Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave the water with your boat still dirty; however, taking out the trash right on the ramp is also not a good idea. Instead of doing that, opt for the staging area.

Remember, there are also people waiting to use the ramp, so it’s best to get things done as quickly as possible. Try to practice an efficient cleaning routine, so it doesn’t appear to others that you’re taking up too much time tidying up.

3. Tying Up To Another Boat Without Permission


Most of us would not appreciate others touching our belongings without permission. Should you feel the urge to tie your boat up to another vessel, don’t do so without asking the owner. Sometimes, you’ll even get assistance from them.

The worst-case scenario when you decide to just do it anyway? You’ll end up damaging their boat. The situation can get serious very quickly and the next thing you know, you will have to pay big amounts of money for the wreck you caused.

4. Using The Motor To Get The Vessel Onto Your Trailer


Some boaters find it useful to just floor the engine to help push the vessel up the ramp further instead of winching the boat up. Even though it may seem practical, power loading may result in ramp damage if you’re not being careful, so it’s best not to do that.

Instead, the right of way at boat ramp to retrieve your vessel safely and effectively is to attach the winch cable to the bow eyes and crank it until the bow is fairly close to the trailer post. Then, secure the safety chain and proceed up the ramp.



What is the first thing you should do when retrieving a boat onto a trailer?

When retrieving a boat onto a trailer, only have your towing vehicle and trailer at the dock after you got everything ready, meaning the trailer is already hooked up to the car.

Then, you’d want to back the trailer into the water until the water submerges ⅔ of the rollers, and steadily move the boat to the trailer until you’re able to hook the winch cable to the vessel’s bow eye.

As mentioned, power loading your vessel can cause damage to the ramp, but you can run the motor at a low output in case you need a little push.

What should you do when retrieving a trailered boat from the water?

After attaching the winch cable to the bow eye, have someone on board raise the outboard drive. Next, ensure that the safety chain is in its place.

Then, you’d want to unblock the parking brake of your vehicle and drive away from the ramp. Do not stop until you reach the staging area. This is where you can carry out the rest of the prepping for the ride home.


When retrieving a boat at a ramp what should be avoided? We assume you must be familiar with the boat ramp etiquette by now. Often, there’s a lot of frustration and anger displayed at the docking station, though most of the conflicts are totally unnecessary and avoidable.

If you see someone who is struggling with launching/retrieving their boat, they might be new to this. Staring in amusement or anger wouldn’t make the person work any faster; offer to assist them if you can. Finally, be a mindful angler and have fun boating!

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