The Learning Center
Boat Landing Etiquette
Since we are located next to the WO Thomas Boat Landing, at Duncan’s Boats we get a front row seat to the use of public boat landings. While boating is an enjoyable stress reducing activity, sometimes just getting the boat into and out of the water at the boat landing is frustrating. Overcrowded landings and lack of preparedness by many boaters causes a lot of stress. Being prepared and using proper boat landing etiquette can reduce the hassle and frustration for you and for others using the landing. If you are new to boating, consider practicing at the ramp during less busy times. Late afternoon during the week is generally a good time to practice.
Charleston area landings are plentiful, but they get full very quickly on beautiful weekend days and holidays. Consider getting to the landing early in the day. This way, you will avoid the traffic, get your boating done before the real heat of the summer afternoon, and recover your boat before the return crowd clogs up the landing again.
First, if it has been a while since you last used your boat, consider using muffs and start the engine on the hose before you leave. There is nothing worse than getting to the landing only to find you have a dead battery or other engine problem. Next, load everything in the boat and secure the drain plug prior to heading out to reduce ready time once there. The only task you should worry about at the landing is removing your trailer straps. Once at the landing, remove straps and load any other items from the car to the boat at the make-ready area of the landing. Don’t wait until you get to the actual ramp.
During launch and recovery, it is always best if one person can drive the boat and another drive the car. A little trailer backing practice in an empty parking lot will go a long way toward reducing headaches during the launch and recovery. When backing onto the ramp, leave room for others. If the ramp has room for three, try not to position the rig so that only two can utilize the ramp. Also, if you are alone, don’t dock your boat along the walkway where it impedes the use of the ramp by others. Tie it up on the outside piers and then park your vehicle immediately.
Investing in properly fitting trailer side guides can be very helpful. Not only will it help line up the boat on the trailer during recovery, but it makes the empty trailer more visible during backing.
If you are meeting someone at the landing and do not have a trailer, do not park in spaces designed for trailers. Most landings have parking spots for cars without trailers. Or, consider meeting somewhere else and riding in with the boat vehicle.
On busy weekends and holidays, be sure to pack a lot of patience when heading to the crowded landing. With a little practice and preparation, you can reduce the frustration for you and others and really enjoy the relaxing benefits of boating and fishing.
If all of this seems like it’s obvious, then likely you are an experienced boater and you should be willing to help out those who are just learning. We were all beginners at one point and any help we give will make boating a more pleasant experience for everyone.