HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR BOAT
Learn how to launch your boat and navigate a boat ramp like a pro. Follow these steps to make launching your boat safe and easy so you can focus on making fun memories out on the water.
Published on July 9, 2021
We recommend bringing a friend or family member to help with launching. However, if you don’t have help available, you can always ask another boater at the ramp for assistance. Fellow boaters are often eager to lend a hand and may need your assistance in return.
Before You Visit the Ramp
It’s important to launch your Sea Ray responsibly and be courteous to other boaters at the ramp. Start by parking your vehicle and trailer in a space away from the ramp. You’ll complete the first five steps here so you’re not taking up space other boaters need.
If you’ll be using a ramp you’ve never launched at before, consider launching at a time when it isn’t busy. Inspect the area to check the water depth, the steepness of the ramp and the condition of the dock. Determine the best way to back in your vehicle and where you’ll park after launching.
1. Check the Plug, Key and Battery
Ensure that your Sea Ray’s drain plug is in place and the key is in the ignition. Test the battery by checking that the drive or engine moves, but do not start the engine.
2. Pack Your Boat
You shouldn’t store gear in your Sea Ray boat while trailering. Take this opportunity to transfer coolers, snacks, towels, life jackets, watersports gear or other items from your vehicle to your boat.
3. Remove Tie-Down Straps
Since you’ll be launching soon, remove the transom tie-down straps and any storage covers. Also, if you plan on bringing your Sea Ray to a dock, attach fenders to protect the gel coat and paint. You can purchase fenders and other boating accessories online from the Sea Ray Collection.
4. Fasten Dock Lines
To get your Sea Ray ready for the water, attach dock lines to the bow and stern cleats. You’ll also want to include spring lines for midship cleats.
5. Carefully Back Down the Ramp
It’s time to get your Sea Ray in the water. Before you make your way down the ramp, check one more time to ensure you’ve removed all safety straps. When parking on a ramp, always use your parking brake. Next, align your vehicle and trailer and slowly back straight down the ramp, adjusting as needed. We recommend having a friend or family member visible from your side-view mirror to help guide you.
6. Let Out the Trailer Winch
Once the stern of your Sea Ray begins to float, ask your friend or family member for assistance to release the safety chain from the bow eye and release the trailer winch. Once the strap has slackened, they can unhook it from the bow eye.
7. Get Your Boat Off the Trailer
Check that the drive or engine is in the water and that it starts. After you start your engine, slowly back your boat into the water until it floats off and is free of the trailer.
8. Tie Up to the Dock
If there’s a dock by the ramp, you or your assistant should walk your Sea Ray boat as far down the dock as possible before tying it to the dock cleats. If there’s not a dock nearby, ask your assistant to get in your boat and move it to the nearest available dock and tie it up.
9. Park Your Vehicle
Once your Sea Ray has made it to the dock, move your vehicle and park it in the parking lot. Ramps can be busy, and you should be considerate of other boaters and not leave your vehicle at the ramp longer than necessary. After you’ve parked, gather your crew and return to the dock to start enjoying your time on the water in your Sea Ray boat.
Practice Launching Your Sea Ray Boat
Practice makes perfect! Now that you’ve read these steps, try launching your Sea Ray. If you’re new to boating, practicing your skills in an empty parking lot is a great way to start. Even if you’re an experienced boater, you might have learned a new technique or two you may want to test out. Just remember to be safe at the ramp and be respectful to other boaters. For a boating checklist and more tips on trailering your boat, visit the Sea Ray Life Blog.