Launch Ramp

Published in the August 2009 Issue Published online: Aug 18, 2009
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Some boating accidents occur while transiting to and from the water and quite frequently on the launch ramp. But a successful boating outing begins when you leave home and ends when you safely return home. Since the majority of recreational boats in the United States are transported to and from the water it is important that boaters take as much care transporting their boats as they do operating them on the water.

When it comes to trailered boats, nine out of 10 trailering malfunctions and accidents can be directly traced back to a failure to dedicate some time to the most basic preventative maintenance. Wheel bearings, suspension parts, lights, and a host of other components require constant attention to help ensure any trailering trip will be smooth and hassle-free.

Special attention to the tow vehicle's hitch is a good idea, as that is the only link between the tow vehicle and trailer. Also consider the fact that you need a special license and classification to drive things like motorcycles, school busses and vehicles with air brakes, but just about anyone can go out and buy a $30,000 boat and trailer, attach it to his truck and simply drive away. No special training is required beforehand and no special license classification is needed. Anyone who has ever hauled a boat around for a number of years knows that it may not be too difficult to drive in a straight line at low speeds. But when it comes to things like driving at highway speeds, passing other vehicles, high winds, backing up, etc., the task becomes much more difficult than one might think.

The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety offers safety tips for trailering, pre-launching preparations, launching, retrieval and boat storing at www.uscgboating.org/safety/metlife_archived_9?21?2007/boat_trailer.htm.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard created by an Act of Congress in 1939. The Auxiliary, America's Volunteer Guardians, supports the Coast Guard in nearly all of the service's missions.

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