Beginners Boating Tips

On this page we give a short walk-thru of Beginners Boating Tips. You can find information from Hooking up a Trailer to your Vehicle to Cruising and No Wake Zones.


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It Pays to Prepare

There are a few things to be prepared for before you start trailering your boat even just to the lake outside town.

1. Is your vehicle the right one for the job? Does it have enough power to tow? Is the ball size on your hitch correct (most are 2")? And do you have the correct wire connections?

2. Is the trailer ready to be towed? Does it have the correct tongue size that matches the hitch on the vehicle? Are all the tires aired up? Are your wheel bearings greased(Bearing Buddies are a great way to ensure bearings are kept well lubed)? Do you have the correct wire connections? Do you have ratchet straps on back of the trailer that are secured to the boat? Is the safety chain and strap securely on the front of the boat?

Once you have all those things checked out and good to go, you're ready to proceed. These Beginners Boating Tips aren't just for beginners, these are things I check everytime I get ready to go out. (Of course I know I have the correct wire connections by now, but are they still in good working order?) Its a great idea to get in the habit of checking them every time, so you don't have any silly hold-ups down the road.

Trailering a Boat

Hookin' 'er up!

1. Back vehicle up to trailer to match up with hitch.

2. Lower trailer onto hitch.

3. Lower tongue latch and insert lock or pin.

4. Connect wire harness.

5. Attach chains to receiver.

6. Turn on lights and check all bulbs for operation.

Smooth Operation for Beginners

Practice driving in less populated areas. Making wide and tight turns, stopping and backing up. Remember to keep plenty of room in front of you because other drivers may not be aware, and can slam on their brakes or turn in front of you at any given moment!

You don't want to show up at the dock and not know how to back up to it. A good trick is to practice at the dock early in the morning or during the week when there aren't many boaters. However, if you get in a bind during the "real thing" most other boaters will understand and be happy to help out.

Putting in the Water

Back That Thing Up!

1. So its the big day and your next at the dock! Just remember to be calm and take your time. Even Veteran Boaters have their bad days. Some boat ramps are kind of steep so a helper is always nice to guide you in the water.

2. Before you get too excited, there are a few things to do before you put the boat in the water. a. Always, ALWAYS put the plug in the back bottom of the boat! (You don't want to sink!) b. Remove the ratchet straps from the back of the boat and trailer.

c. have a few buoys attached to the side of the boat that the dock is on and one or two dock ropes, about 4 or 5 feet in length, ready for when you put the boat in the water so you can tie to the dock easily-don't want to float away! (The buoys are so you don't scratch or dent that shiney new boat!)

3. Back up the boat into the water far enough that it starts to float above the trailer alittle or until the back wheels of your vehicle are in the water. Every ramp is different, so the one you might be used to at home could be more or less steep than the one on that big trip you took, so be sure you're in before unlatching the boat.

4. Remove the safety chain and start to winch the boat the rest of the way out - SLOWLY.

At the Dock

Once the boat is in the water, tie it to the dock. It's nice to have a helper at this point-if you do, have one person in the boat to do these small tasks while the other person drives the vehicle out of the dock area and finds a parking place-thus getting out of the way of other boaters waiting to put their boat in.

1. Turn on the boat fans to remove any fuel vapors from the engine compartment.

2. Lower the trim and start the engine. If the dock is busy and you have other people with you that may be a few minutes, go ahead and pull the boat away from the dock and wait in the water. You can come back and pick them up when they get to the dock. This way other boaters can still get in the water and everyone can enjoy their day quicker! If no one else is waiting to put their boat in the water, just wait for your buddies there!

A Couple Reminders

- Help other boaters by tying them up, holding the side of the boat so it doesn't hit the dock, or pushing them away from the dock when they are ready to take off. Just don't "over help". Some boaters have a "routine" and you could get in the way. Use your judgement.

- Get in and get out. The dock isn't the "hangout" area. Thats in another area. Push away from the dock, put the boat in reverse and back out slowly, far enough to turn around.

Departing the Dock

1. Push away from the dock, put the boat in reverse and back out slowly, far enough to turn around.

2. Once turned around, put it in forward and idle away from the dock area.

No Wake Zones

No Wake Zones are usually marked by a buoy. It is always No Wake near the dock because if it is wavey, the people at the dock have a hard time either backing their boat in the water, putting the boat on a trailor or trying to keep the boat from hitting the dock. There is plenty of time for "Wide Open Throttle" (W.O.T.) once you get past the buoys.


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