Any watercraft owner will tell you there’s nothing like the pressure of a crowded boat ramp on sunny Saturday afternoon. With these tips from our Sea-Doo experts, you’ll have all the confidence in the world to launch and land your Sea-Doo in front of any size audience.
Get Familiar with the Water
You can make your time on the water that much better by taking the time to familiarize yourself with waterways you’re about to visit before you ever leave your house – especially if it’s your first time launching in a particular area. A simple Google maps satellite view of the launch can help you get a good understanding of what to expect and eliminate any guesswork upon arrival.
It’s also important to understand the rules of the waterway before you leave the shore. Rules can vary from one body of water to the next. Make sure you’re familiar with any no-wake rules, hazards and other regulations for your chosen waterway.
Before You Leave for the Boat Launch
The first rule of any boat launch is to be as prepared as possible when you arrive, so you’re able to hit the water as efficiently as possible when it’s your turn. Prepare as many items as you can for whatever adventure you have planned before you leave the driveway. You’ll also want to ensure your Sea-Doo is functioning properly before you go anywhere. Here’s a quick checklist for before you leave:
1- Start your watercraft briefly (5-10 seconds maximum) to ensure your battery is charged and engine is ready to give you a full day of enjoyment.
2- Check fuel level. Stop and fill up on the way to the launch if needed. Gas is usually more expensive on the water, so filling up at the local convenience store can usually save you some money.
3- PFDs – Nothing ends your day sooner than forgetting your PFD at home.
4- Double check that you’ve got your watercraft plug. It’s equally important to know the laws governing watercraft transportation in the area you’re riding. In some places, it’s illegal to transport with the plug in, as certain areas try to slow the spread of invasive aquatic species.
5- Docking and mooring gear – Make sure you’ve got dock lines, anchors, bumpers, etc. easily accessible for launching and docking.
6- Pack that cooler. If you’re planning on a full day excursion, pack the cooler and any necessary water toys, inflatables, etc. for living the Sea-Doo Life.
Boat Launch Etiquette
Once you arrive at the launch, it’s almost a near certainty you’ll find other water enthusiasts preparing to start their adventure just like you. Patience is just as paramount as being prepared. Use your time waiting wisely for a few last-minute necessities before you launch. Pull your vehicle and watercraft out of the way and take care of the following items:
1- Remove all covers and tie-down straps.
2- Double check your plug is properly inserted.
3- Secure coolers and other gear needed for the day.
4- Attach any dock lines to the watercraft you’ll need while launching.
5- Grab your PFDs, sunglasses and other riding gear so you’re ready to launch as soon as it’s your turn.
Launching Your Watercraft
When it’s your turn to back down the ramp into the water, remember to relax and take your time. Mistakes can happen at any time, but they tend to be more prevalent when you try to rush the process. These tips can help launching go as efficiently as possible:
1- Back down the ramp and into the water using only one lane.
2- Back the watercraft into the water slowly, until the just start to float.
3- Make sure you or your riding companion grabs the dock line and unhook the winch line from the front of the Sea-Doo. It’s important to make sure someone has a firm hold of the dock line, so your Sea-Doo doesn’t start its day on the water without you.
4- Secure your watercraft to the dock somewhere out of the way of the launch so the next person can use the ramp.
5- Pull your vehicle up the ramp and park.
Landing Your Watercraft
If you ever manage to get your fill of living the Sea-Doo Life, you’ll need to retrieve your Sea-Doo from the water. These tips from our pros will ensure landing your watercraft goes as smoothly as possible:
1- Upon arriving back at the launch dock, send one person to retrieve the tow vehicle while the rest of your party waits with the watercraft safely out of the way of the boat ramp so as not to impede others using the launch while you wait.
2- Again, making sure to only take up one lane, back the trailer into the water and load the watercraft.
3- Connect the winch strap to the tow eye at the front of the watercraft and crank the watercraft completely on the trailer.
4- Pull your vehicle and watercraft away from the ramp and park out of the way.
5- Stow your gear for the ride home, wipe down your watercraft and remove any weeds or other debris that may have stuck to your trailer or watercraft. Take care to follow any specific regulations regarding drain plugs and other water removal measures that may be in place.
With your new ability to launch and load your watercraft more efficiently, it means you’ll enjoy the Sea-Doo Life that much longer every time you hit the water. See you out on the waves!