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Launching advice

Can anyone with some experience give me some advice as far as launching a new SD 2200 DC OB? The trailer is a Tandem Trailer ordered with the boat. I'm not new to boats but am new to trailering and launching.  Any Trailer accessories to consider to make it easier? Are shallow or steep ramps easier? Thanks.

Best Answer


  • bshippjr
    bshippjr Member Posts: 116 ✭✭✭
    Great checklist BWH.  While I have not forgotten the plug, I did forget to take straps off the transom.

    I will add if you are not experienced in backing your boat, take it to a large parking lot and practice.  Also suggest not going to ramp at peak times until you are comfortable launching the boat.  Maybe take an afternoon off during the week and go to the ramp and practice.  Also would not recommend steep ramps until you are comfortable.  Steep ramps were very daunting for me, as I had these visions of the truck going into the water (as seen on many you tube videos).

    As for accessories there are some guide poles you can add that makes lining up the boat easier for loading.
    2000 Hurricane SD 217 OB
  • skibum
    skibum Member Posts: 56 ✭✭
    One more thing for common courtesy at the launch ramp. Make sure you have everything loaded and set up before backing down the ramp. Pull over in the parking lot and remove transome tie down, put plug in, load ice chests and accessories BEFORE getting on the ramp. The boat ramp is for loading and unloading the trailer, not loading goodies. Where I lusually launch, take too much time on the poading ramp and prepare to be talked with by the rangers.
  • BWH
    BWH Member Posts: 113 ✭✭✭
    Def be prepared before occupying the ramp.  Take your time, be nice to others and watch what others do!  I have only had a boat a few yrs, but I have learned a lot watching others at the ramp.  I use others at the ramp as teachable moments for those in my crew; some very impressive boat owners out there, some "no so much...".      
  • M99
    M99 Member Posts: 68 ✭✭

    Thanks for the checklist, and all those additional tips. I don't plan to be towing and launching very often because I will be keeping the boat in dry storage where they put the boat in the water for you using a forklift.  But I do still plan to tow and launch at other lakes in the region so need to at least be comfortable, and learn to do it alone at times.  I have owned another much larger boat for a few years so I am familiar with the rules and coast guard requirements.  I have been watching some obviously experienced folks launch and recover their boats at the local ramps, but most are smaller bass boats. I've also watched a few that made me wonder where the coast guard or rangers were at times.

  • BWH
    BWH Member Posts: 113 ✭✭✭
    I prefer steep to keep from having to put my truck in the water so deep as well as it makes it easier to get my boat off of the trailer and to the hook without a lot of cranking on the winch. Whatever is in your area, will prob become what you prefer.
    When loading, soaking the boards first is usually suggested and then most pull back out with about 1/3 or tips of the boards showing. Depending on how calm the water is; if dead calm, sink the trailer the full way and float the boat all the way to the hook. If it is moving and you sink the trailer, you may end up sideways or "outside" the boards. As an experienced boater, you know without power you are at the mercy of the water/current wind etc. This is even more true when trailering. Very easy to get completely lined up and then get out of the throttle and end up pushed to one side of the trailer. Slow and steady.
    Crew size can also make a huge difference. Crew of 3 or more = easy day. Boat driver, one on ramp to work winch and a vehicle driver. Quick and efficient. Whatever the crew size, plan for it and give everyone a job.
    Put bumpers out and have a long push pole to keep you off the dock. Just when you get comfortable, you will end up banging the dock. Push pole is nice "security blanket" and keeps us away from trying to use our arm/leg to stop a couple thousand pound boat from hitting the dock. If you "miss it" when trying to load, relax, back out calmly and reattack. I have had a double digit attempt day in a small creek with rushing water. Not my proudest moment, but nothing was broken and no one injured.
    No new ideas here, just opinions and trying to help you not have to search other forums or the internet.
  • HydroCanis
    HydroCanis Member Posts: 176 ✭✭
    Recently I've begun putting the tow vehicle in 4WD before backing in so that when in Park the front wheels can also hold the vehicle on the ramp if necessary. Too many photos and videos of trucks in the drink lately!

    After a stressful two-hour tow on a busy interstate at night, I wrapped reflective tape around the PVC loading guides, since they're the extreme left- and right-most points of the trailer. There are lighted pipes available, but it would be pretty simple to make your own. I also put reflective tape on the sides of the trailer's long tongue.

    The biggest challenge I've had lately is trying to find brake pads for my 2003 trailer. Apparently those brakes are no longer used by trailer manufacturers, and most of the dealers and my trailer's manufacturer have long since sold the pads they had in stock.
    2003 Sundeck 217 OB, Yamaha 150 2 Stroke
    "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own." - Number 6

  • cjjjdeck
    cjjjdeck Member, Moderator Posts: 1,872 ✭✭✭✭
    +1 on preparing the boat for launch BEFORE getting on the launch pad
    +1 on the boat hook!
    +1 on putting it in 4X4.  I even started putting it in low range launching and retrieving as the slower speed helps in steering correction and well as added traction.

    I must admit, in my early days of trailering and after experiencing the thrill of public launching for a very short time, I decided to bite the bullet and pay at a marina (less launching activity and less crazy people, it usually gives you access to their facilities as well).  Although I'm long past being a "rookie" at launching (and I now moor my boat at the lake), I continue to pay to launch and never once missed the madness.  I recently did this at Lake Wallenpaupack PA and watched the public launch comedy from my boat as my frugal friend decided to launch his boat from there.  Including watching the PA Fish & Boat Commission officers helping all the boat owners lined up at the launch area keep their registration and other paperwork in perfect order (and any other "things" they could help with as well).  Not that I had any issue with that per se, as I do believe in properly registered and insured boats, but I couldn't help think to myself, "yeah..... I'm glad I paid the $8 bucks for carefree launching..... :*"
    2012 SD237 I/O Mercruiser 5.0L MPI ECT/ Bravo 3
    2012 Load Rite Elite Tandem axle trailer

  • M99
    M99 Member Posts: 68 ✭✭

    Thanks again all.  I wish I had bought a 4 wheel drive Suburban, but all I have right now is a 2002 Sub 1500 2 wheel drive.  Actually that means 1 wheel drive because if either rear wheel loses traction, you get no traction.  It does have the factory trailer package so its rated for the weight, but I will be worrying about pulling out of the launch ramp with the rear wheels in the water.  There will be a lot of weight on them though, which should help.  The marina where I'm keeping the boat in Dry storage, does have a private ramp for use by Marina tenants only, and its never busy, so that's a plus.  It looks pretty steep to me as well.  Guess I'll find out how well this Truck / Trailer set up will work soon.  The boats due in about 4 weeks now.  The first few times I'll have an experience trailer boater with me.