Maybe your buddy cancelled, maybe you couldn’t round up a crew, or maybe you just like fishing alone. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself launching your boat alone, it can be a bit of a challenge. Here are a few single-handed boat launching tips that will help.
- PREP lines ahead of time. You may be able to drape them over the gunwales and reach them from the pier, you may want to rig one on a bow cleat and drape it over the bow so you can control the boat from the front of the trailer, or you may keep the lines aboard if you back the boat off the trailer under power. Which method you’ll use depends entirely upon the situation, but either way, just make sure you have some lines already on the cleats so you can quickly secure the boat.
- BACK the boat down a bit farther than usual, to ensure it comes off the trailer easily. When you’re doing this procedure alone, you don’t want to have to go from the truck to the boat then back to the truck again, to back it down farther because you didn’t go far enough the first time.
- TRIM the engine up a bit, if you power the boat off the trailer. Thrust will help lift the stern when you go into reverse, and the boat will slide off easier.
- MOVE the boat to a courtesy dock instead of leaving it at the ramp dock, if the facility you’re using has one. That way you won’t clog up the ramp while you go to park your truck and trailer, which holds up the works for everyone else.
- SECURE the boat thoroughly, before parking the truck and trailer. If you trailer and launch boats often, sooner or later you will see some guy standing on the pier, watching his boat float away. You do not want to be that guy!
BONUS TIP: File a float plan with a reliable friend or relative. Boating alone is significantly more dangerous, and if something happens, you want somebody ashore to know where you were going and when you intended to return home.