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Launching boat at shallow launch.


jordanh
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Hey guys . I'm looking for a little advice. Im going to try and explain as best as possible. The ramp at our resort is really shallow. When loading the boat I get lined up and slowly approach my trailer in gear. I let off the throttle right before the prop wash pile and I can feel my rudder skim the top of the pile. Once I am past the pile I put it back in gear and finish driving up the trailer. Then the wife hooks up the bow eye and winch's it up.

 

In previous years when I unloaded I would have a rope tied to the bow eye. I would float the boat off the trailer. The launch is lined with a dock on each side. My wife would walk down the dock and pull the boat 180 degrees turning it around to get it facing away from the launch . I would then walk down my dock pulling the boat through the pile. I would then board the boat and drive out.

 

Recently the resort has started letting boats park on each side of the docks that line the ramp because of lack of room. When I unload there's no way for my wife to walk out onto the docks because there's boats 3 feet away on each side of the trailer. My wife's not comfortable backing the trailer in with me in the boat. I'm also not comfortable unloading the boat under power because of inboards boats handling in reverse.

 

What we have been doing is having her in the boat and floating it off. Then she grabs the other boats and slowly walks the boat back pushing off of other boats to get to the end of the docks. I personally hate touching others boats unless absolutely needed.

 

Am I just a rookie for not being able to deal with this situation ?

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What's a "pile". In Canada a pile refers to a piling for permanent dock's like cedar piles or steel piles...Is the launch narrow also? You say you grab onto other boat; when in doubt grab another persons boat...always better than boat on boat; I for one would appreciate you doing that.

 

Without seeing or knowing much i would suggest the following ( seems like you are the driver / trailer operator)

Why not back down the ramp to where the boat floats; have your wife in the boat. you park get out and turn the boat around for her so she facing away; give her a little push forwarded and have her drive off then pull away and park your rig. if its a shallow ramp you will only have to go in knee deep i would think...

 

If you feel more comfortable with the boat maybe spend some time with the wife and teach her to drive trailer a little bit. always a handy skill; but i know many are hesitant to learn also.

 

hope something there works for you.

 

Happy summer!

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Definitely a bad situation because the resort is allowing boats to tie up to both docks on either side. I think you are going to have to get "wet" as was suggested above, turn it around and send your wife on her way with the boat while you park the rig; unless you can "swap" those duties. And the "pile" of whatever from powerloading makes it even worse for your inboard. Good luck, hopefully more suggestions to follow. Dave
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Basically it all comes down to getting the boat backed out without powering my prop through the pile.

 

The docks are 60ft long on the right side of the ramp and 80ft on the left side I believe. Both docks on busy weekends have boats lining the insides parralel to the boat ramp. So there's only maybe a 5 ft gap of clearance on each side of my boat between the other docked boats when backing out. I can't turn the boat around until I back all the way out. That's my issue.

 

I don't want to be that guy that has to leave his trailer in the ramp while he goes and docks his boat. But I may just have to be.

 

I will have to try raking it down. I wonder how often I'd have to do that...

 

Thanks for the replies

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Jordanh: Did not understand you can't "turn it around" and have to back it all the way out first, bummer. Any chance of one side not getting boats " tied up" being changed? Is there another ramp? I would not like that "box canyon" effect either and I have had all types/sizes of boats. Dave
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I could possibly talk to the owners as it's a private launch at a campground. I don't foresee it being changed for just me though as dock space is already very limited. Plus even with a boat only on one side there still wouldn't be room to swing it 180 degrees around. I would need both sides empty. I could maybe see if they would only let boats half way up the dock on the inside . Say the first 40 ft or so. This is usually only an issue on busy weekends. I tend to try and get my boat in straight away Friday evening or superp early Saturday night before the weekend crowd hits the launch at about noon Saturday .

 

I do have a reserved dock spot I pay for. So I leave my boat in the water Friday night till Sunday evening. The boat ramp is basically first come first serve docking and their other 2 docks are reservable by seasonal campers like I.

 

My name is in the list to get an end spot at a dock so I can put a lift in. Until then I will just deal with ping ponging off of other boats while pulling my boat back down the docks. I will also have to try and rake out the wash pile.

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This kind of dealing with public ramps that some of us have to deal with is why I commented on another thread that some back up assistance on the ski boats (like they put into the wakeboard boats now) would be appreciated. Yet I got ridiculed for that thought.....
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ScottScott: it would be nice to have some sort of dockstar feature like some of the mastercrafts. Although I have a 95 sport nautique so it's obviously not a feature I'd really be willing to pay for haha. Honestly the biggest thing with me is that inboard are basically non existent up hear. (Northwest corner of MN. Basically Canada.) This is fishing country. And it's what people know and love. They are much more popular on bigger lakes here and down by the metro area obviously. first inboard boat I had ever been in was this one when I was testing it to buy it. So it really sucks when all these stern drive owners are looking at me like I'm a rookie at the ramp while struggling to back my ski boat down this narrow 80ft long ramp. Plus im young, 28, so I feel like I'm looked at like some inexperienced child.
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@jordanh Yeah, unless you have a direct drive, you don't get that you can't control its direction backing. One day while launching at a public ramp crowded with boats along the docks on either side, and jet skies, some idiot along the left side (I had angled the trailer so she would start to the left side then pull center as she backed out) decided she was heading for their jet ski (the boat was moving in that direction, but the pull to the right would have moved it away and continued down the center) so they pushed the boat away with their foot, now moving her too close to the right side, and not enough room to pull forward right to redirect the back end correctly. Everyone around told her told her to just turn to the left and back up..... Further complicated that by the hand full of jet skiis just outside the ramp area (just outside the no wake signs) doing doughnuts creating rollers through the ramp. Its constantly that kind of scene at the public ramps.

 

The trolling motor idea isn't a bad idea, tho then you would have to stow it somewhere, or carry it back to the car once safely docked appropriately.... There are many kinds of bow or stern thrusters that can be added. I've looked into it a little, but we manage ok, and they aren't cheap. If something like the thrusters that nautique has, or the extra rudders in front of the prop that MC has for the wake boats, was offered on this boat for $2-3K more on purchase, I think I would have sprung for it.

 

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@ScottScott A good idea would be to spend an hour or so at a non crowded area with a dock to learn the backing characteristics of your boat. You’ll never master it at a crowded public launch. An hour should be all it takes.
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@dvskier Thanks for the advice........With all do respect. We have spent plenty of time with the boat, are very familiar with the backing characteristics. Me and my girlfriend are quite good at backing/docking/trailering/easing up to a skier in the water etc. There can be challenges at public boat ramps that go beyond what the best boat driver can maneuver gracefully, even with reverse steering control, that go way beyond what users of private lakes, ski clubs, private docks, ski lakes etc have to deal with.
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Easy to do with a wooden box containing the battery and something to mount motor to. Couple bolts thru platform with wood bar underneath secured with wing nuts would work. Or instead of battery run cord up to power receptacle
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If you are in a tight area and need to backup in the opposite direction of your prop rotation you are basically screwed at that point. There's no room for you to get the little bit of speed in Reverse to get your rudder to hook any water. Add in any wind and yahoos making rollers by the ramp and that just exaggerates the problem. Dock star and bow thrusters wouldn't be added to some boats if there weren't a time and place for them .
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So you have two issues going on here, one is the maneuvering of the boat in reverse at the launch and the other is the fact that eventually that pile of rock that is ticking your rudder is going to get bigger and bigger and make that launch un-usable unless you can modify it. Often times no one will care if you drop some good sized riprap off the end of the launch in the hole so long as its down in the dip then you can rake away the mound and be safe for your rudder. Can be cold to do this up north.

 

You might just need to launch earlier and tie up.

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@jordanh

 

Here is an overhead of where my dad skis and where I learned to launch and drive as a 14 year old kid. Its a fairly narrow spot as the 5-10' on each side of the shore is too shallow to turn so you do have to back straight for a good 30-40' until it widens out to turn 180*. So it does sort of mimic your situation a bit. One thing I quickly learned is that if there is enough water flowing past the rudder you can get a direct drive to back up straight and even eventually turn the opposite way. Also because we had a little bit of room we would align the boat on the red line (think Mastercraft, Malibu) so that before the boat could start to back close to straight it would back into the center line (purple) which would get us to a wider spot to turn a 180. Its not easy but with some use of turning lock to lock and alternating backwards and forward you can inch a DD back in a semi-straight line with patience.

 

zmkbi01pihxk.png

 

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First of all let me state that I strongly dislike Jet skis, but have you thought about getting somebody with a jet ski, reverse the jet ski and trailer into the water leave it attached to the vehicle and blast the sand bar away with the jet ski.

Just something that I thought of may or may not work.

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The last thing I want to do is insult any one’s boat driving and this may already be widely known, but a tip is to make sure you have the wheel all the way in the direction which your boat backs and continuously shift from reverse to forward, reverse to forward. Pretty easy to keep an inboard straight in reverse when using this approach.

 

So if your boat backs right, always have the wheel turned all the way right. If you boat backs left, wheel all the way left. I would say something like a 2 second nudge in forward after every 5 seconds of reverse will keep the boat straight (depending on conditions obviously). Your boat will turn much harder under forward power with the rudder all the way one direction than the gradual drag to one side due to prop rotation in reverse.

 

This technique can also be used when pulling away from a one sided dock. If your boat backs right and you are parked on the right, your first maneuver should be a little nudge forward with wheel all the way to the right to bring your nose closer to the dock and bounce your stern away from the dock, giving you enough room to reverse. Fun to watch the marina dock hands jump to your assistance when they see you turning your nose into the dock, but then you just back away like a pro.

 

This was ground breaking stuff for me when I first started with inboards, hope that helps someone!

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I think with little to no wind I could back my 196 down that with boats on the inside using the method @OSUwaterskier noted. However with a pretty windy day or any cross wind your pretty much hosed and would need to walk it against other folks boats probably. I am not even sure an oar would help. What a Royal PITA. Good luck @jordanh
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Is there usually a 2nd person in the boat? Instead of thruster, how about bolting a canoe paddle or similar on a pivot to the platform to provide additional steering for the boat. I wonder if that would provide enough lateral / steering force? Lighter and easier to store than batter and motor. Also cheaper to try.

Maybe a rowboat oar with the pivot thingy attached already?

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I appreciate all the comments and ideas.

 

As far as anything attaching to my platform I am not willing to drill any holes in my nice teak platform.

 

The crappy setup discussion of my local ramp has shadowed my main problem I think...

 

I can pull off of other boats to get down to the end. IMO... Not to be a dick...but if you don't have enough common courtesy to not park on the launch then you shouldn't have any issue me with me grabbing onto your boat. I have no issue with people pushing off my boat when need be. I was just raised to keep my paws off others property

. I would honestly load my boat back up on the trailer for lunch, or docking overnight before I parked in a boat launch. Mainly because I don't trust people who are willing to park in a boat launch to avoid hitting my boat when unloading .

 

So again thanks for everyone's suggestions !

 

But to my other question... How the heck do I get through that wash pile to begin pulling off other boats to get to the end of the docks ? Standing on the dock and pulling on the boat with a rope is relatively easy.. but if I don't have the room to walk on the docks like explained I think I'm getting wet...

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You could mount a low cost trolling motor to the platform without drilling a hole. They just use what is equivalent to two C clamps. With some rubber between them and the platform it should be fine. You could actually leave it attached and just pulled out of the water when not in use. I know this still isn't ideal but maybe the thrust would be enough to pull over the pile.
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I am surprised people are allowed to park at the public launch ramp indefinitely. To me that's insane. How are people that are actually using the ramp supposed to launch a boat if its blocked because people want to go hang out and have a BBQ. What if its a fisherman by themselves? Where does he tie his boat up?

 

I would just pull myself along the other boats. If they have a problem tell them to move their boat so people loading and unloading can maneuver.

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I also agree that this is a crazy setup. Also, the camp owner should maintain the ramp (I know that's probably a pipe dream). If this were me I'd have no problem just using other boats. Better my hands than my boat touching theirs.
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@OSUwaterskier gets the prize for the most polite and useful post. I backed a 50' sailboat under power down a very narrow fairway using that technique on Smith Island on the Chesapeake many years ago. 10' of clearance on either side. A nice breeze and current added a few points for difficulty. It's how you drive in reverse a single engine direct drive boat... in and out, nudge forward then reverse, coast a bit, realign and repeat as needed...alway slow... and a good deck hand to fend off the inevitable soft kiss of somebody's $1M baby. Bow thrusters and now even stern thrusters are very common on touring trawlers. $5K-15 grand will get you started but that's chump change on a coastal cruiser.

 

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What a bad setup, five feet on either side of you to tied up boats is not good, single inboard or anything! It usually takes two people to "walk" a boat pulling on lines down a dock and keep it straight, assuming there are no tied up boats in your way so you can fend it off the dock (pier). The comment made about getting launched early makes the most sense maybe?! The "pile" is a whole other issue if your boat is "running in gear".
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@keithh2oskier is the resort owner aware that this maybe a problem, possibly have a conversation, if they do not get it and the ramp is public, you may want to mention that it is public and the authorities maybe more interested in the issue than they are, if you can come up with a health and safety issue, you may find that boats will not be able to park on the sides of the jetty that impact the boat ramp, if the lake is public it is there for everybody to enjoy, to enjoy the lake you have to have reasonable access, if the lake is public you have part ownership in that lake and you do have a say in what goes on, no individual business or person should impact the enjoyment of the facilities owned by all.

If the lake is private then ignore all of the above.

Good Luck !

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This ramp is private. The property is owned by the resort. There is another private launch directly across the lake. Also a DNR launch halfway across the lake from this one. I am told the DNR launch is as shallow, or worse than this one. I will have to check it out sometime. The only time the boat parking is an issue is on memorial, fourth of July, and a few other random weekends that get really busy. I can talk to the resort owners but they launch their rental pontoons so I would think they have to be aware of the issue . The wash pile obviously is an outstanding issue every day. I will have to try and rake it out. I just don't want to go through that effort if it's only going to be back the next weekend. I'm unaware of how long it takes to wash up a pile like that. I would assume it takes a bit of time ?

 

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And you all know this is coming from me. The very biggest short coming of inboard boats and ships is low speed maneuverability. Outboards are way easier to maneuver at slow speeds. Getting wet is the easiest solution. The other go to may be doing it very early in the morning or late in the evening maybe even after dark to avoid the crowd.

 

I like boat lifts. Leaving boats unattended and/or overnight in a lake is rolling the dice. The horror stories are all over the internet.

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@jordanh there is but dockstar but on ski boats you'd probably get complaints about turbulent wakes and feedback at speed. When I worked at a marina one of our drops was real tight and we'd drop with bow and stern lines and no one on the boat. You'd run those lines up to the drivers door disconnect the boat back up and slam the brakes then throw it in park jump out and feed bow line and tug the stern to swing the boat backwards then pull it up towards the retaining wall to jump on. With practice you could swing boats pretty close to each other, but with a good driver on you could swing it then let her idle out and get you at the dock.
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I have no issue swinging the boat around when there's no other parked boats at the dock. Me the launch ramp is completely empty my boat has one foot of clearance on each dock while my boat is perpindicular with the docks. With one, or two, parked boats in the ramp it's impossible.

 

When the ramp is clear of any parked traffic I have zero issues launching my boat. I back the trailer in. My wife uses the line tide to the bow to swing the boat 180 degrees. by that time I'm already walking back to the dock. Together we pull it through the prop wash pile. Once last the pile we hop in the boat and away we go.

 

 

When the ramp has dipshits parked all the way down the docks on each side we have almost no clearance on each side.

 

My only option then is to float the boat off the trailer. My wife then makes sure the boat doesn't bump any tied up boats . I then park the truck and run back to the ramp. At that point I get in the water and push the boat through the wash pile and board the boat once through. We then each take one side of the boat and grab docked boats and walk our boat down out to the end of the docks. Once there I turn the boat around and good to go.

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@BraceMaker there is a danger to doing the backup and brake method. My wife used to work for VA state parks and one of her parks was on a river. Guy decided to do the backup and hit the brakes method. Foot slipped and his whole car went into the water. They had to pull it out with a semi wrecker using a strap. Still one of her favorite days at work.

709lap95z42w.jpg

 

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