Your account has been temporarily locked, so no orders can be placed at this time. Please contact our accounts receivable department at 877-287-8634 or email [email protected]

How to Launch a Boat

How to Launch a Boat GuideHow to Launch a Boat Guide

Launching a Boat in 8 Easy Steps

Launching your boat can be very easy once you learn the right steps to follow. It involves preparing your boat for launch, positioning your vehicle and trailer, backing up to the water and guiding the boat off the trailer.

In the following boat launch guide, we will walk through the steps for how to put a boat in the water, whether you’re launching a boat by yourself or heading out with a group of friends.

  1. Place your gear in the boat and install the drain plug.
  2. Position your vehicle to back straight up to the landing.
  3. Back up slowly.
  4. Stop before the winch is under water.
  5. Release the winch hook and tie a tow rope to the boat.
  6. Continue to back up until the boat floats.
  7. Guide the boat away from the trailer.
  8. Slowly drive forward and find a parking space.

How to Launch a Boat Video


Step by Step Boat Launch How-to

Step 1: Load your boat and install the drain plug

To begin, find a parking spot at a safe distance from the boat landing to prepare your boat for launch. Place all your gear into the boat and make sure you have everything you need for a fun and safe time on the water.

Also, install the drain plug and remove the safety straps from your boat at this time.

Loading Your Boat with GearLoading Your Boat with Gear

Step 2: Position your vehicle to back up

Position your vehicle to be able to back up straight to the water. To do this, drive up next to the boat landing, parallel with the shoreline. Then, turn away from the boat landing so your vehicle and trailer are perpendicular with the water’s edge. The goal is to make sure the vehicle and trailer are straight so backing up is as easy as possible.

Position Your Vehicle to Back UpPosition Your Vehicle to Back Up

Step 3: Back up to the landing

Carefully back up your vehicle and trailer toward the water. It will help to have a friend to guide you while backing up. However, if you are launching a boat solo, just take extra care and go slowly. For tips and tricks on backing up, check out our backing up a trailer guide.

Remember to keep your trailer straight. Also, keep an eye on the landing area and other vehicles and people.

Back Your Boat Up SlowlyBack Your Boat Up Slowly

Step 4: Stop before the winch is under water

Gently apply the brakes as you back down the boat ramp. Ease into the water. With the tongue and boat winch still out of the water, stop and put the vehicle in park.

Stop Vehicle Before Trailer Tongue in WaterStop Vehicle Before Trailer Tongue in Water

Step 5: Release the winch and tie on a tow rope

Release the trailer winch hook and strap from the boat. Then, tie a tow rope to the boat and have your friend hold onto it. If you don’t have a friend to help, you can tie the rope onto a dock cleat or other anchor. This will keep the boat from floating away once it is in the water. Just make sure you leave plenty of slack to continue backing up.

Release Boat WinchRelease Boat Winch

Step 6: Back up until the boat floats

Continue to back up slowly. Once the stern or back of the boat begins to float, immediately stop your vehicle. Avoid backing in too far or it may damage your vehicle’s systems!

Put the transmission into park and engage the emergency brake.

Boat Stern Begins FloatingBoat Stern Begins Floating

Step 7: Guide the boat off the trailer

Guide the boat out and away from the trailer, using the tow rope. Then, tie the rope to a dock cleat or other secure anchoring point.

Guide Boat Off TrailerGuide Boat Off Trailer

Step 8: Slowly drive forward and find a place to park

Disengage the emergency brake, and slowly drive your vehicle forward and away from the water. Find a designated parking space for your vehicle and boat trailer.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully launched a boat. Don’t forget to put on your personal floatation device before shoving off. Anchors aweigh!

Drive Up Boat Ramp and Find a Parking SpaceDrive Up Boat Ramp and Find a Parking Space
Fishing on the Lake at SunsetFishing on the Lake at Sunset

FAQs

Should I unplug trailer lights when launching a boat?

Yes, when launching a boat, you should unplug your trailer lights, unless you have submersible trailer lights. Just before backing into the water, disconnect the trailer wiring plug and make sure it is safe and out of the way.

Over time, frequent water exposure can damage your trailer wiring. It is best to keep the lights unplugged when submerging them to avoid short circuits and other problems.

 

How do you make a boat easier to load?

It is easier to load your boat before launching it into the water. While you are still parked away from the boat landing, place of your gear and other items into the boat. Then, back the trailer into the water. This way, you’ll be ready to leave shore right after launch, you won’t need to walk back forth to your vehicle, and you won’t congest the boat landing for other boaters.

 

Can LED trailer lights be submerged in water?

Yes, certain types of trailer lights are designed to be submerged in water. They are made specifically for boat trailers but also work well for offroad applications. Verify your trailer lights can be submerged before making any assumptions!

 

How do you launch and load a boat?

To launch a boat, it is helpful to load it first. Before you back the trailer into the water, pack your items into the boat. Then, slowly back up to the water. When the boat begins to float off the trailer, stop the vehicle. Guide the boat away from the trailer with a rope. Then, slowly drive away and find a place to park.

 

How do you launch a boat from a trailer?

To launch a boat from a trailer, slowly back up to the water. Before the trailer winch is under water, stop and unhook the boat. Proceed backing up slowly. When the boat begins float off the trailer, stop again and guide the boat off by hand, using a tow rope. Tie off the boat to the dock, and drive your vehicle forward.

 

How do you back a boat into the water?

To back a boat into the water, make sure the drain plug is in. Back up straight, and go slowly. Then, when the boat winch is still above water, unhook the boat. Continue backing up until the boat begins to float. Finally, guide the boat off and away from the trailer, tying it to the dock with a rope.

 

How do you launch a boat from a ramp?

To launch a boat from a ramp, position your vehicle and trailer to back straight up to the boat landing. Back slowly down the ramp. Then, stop the vehicle when your boat winch is still above the water. Disconnect the winch strap from the boat, and continue backing slowly down the ramp. As the boat start to float, apply the brakes and pull the boat away from the trailer by hand, using a tow rope.