Public Boat Ramps Near Me: Free Boat Ramp Locator Tool

If you have a boat, you may be asking friends or searching Google for “public boat ramps near me.” Instead of asking friends and family for recommendations, consider using this free boat ramp locator tool to help you find the nearest ramp!

More people are looking for free boat ramps, helping them to save money wherever they can. It’s not just the upfront expense of buying a boat, but also the maintenance costs and the marina fees that make the hobby a costly one. It’s no wonder people would look to save money anywhere they could.

One such option is to find a public boat ramp they can launch their boats from. So, if this is you, be aware that this boat ramp locator tool will help you find one near you so you can have fun on the water without spending more money. 

Finding Public Boat Ramps Near Me Locator Tool

TakeMeFishing is responsible for the development of the locator tool. And, with it, you can find marinas, a body of water and other places you can go to enjoy a day of boating, jet skiing, fishing and more.  With this online tool, you no longer have to ask for recommendations or suggestions.  

Whether you’re new to the area or just recently purchased a PWC or boat, an online locator tool or a Google search can help you to find the nearest boat ramp quickly to enjoy a full day of fun.

Are There Are Problems To Be Mindful Of With Public Boat Ramps

It’s never been easier to find a boat ramp! This boat ramp locator tool makes it so easy, but there are still problems you could face when launching your boat. Despite what you may think, launching a boat isn’t as simple as driving to a ramp and getting the boat into the water.  If you’re unprepared for boat launches, you’re not going to enjoy the fun you could have. 

The only way to avoid the problems is to familiarize yourself with the entire process and create a contingency plan if problems should occur.

As a new boat owner, there are few rules and boat ramp protocols that must be followed for a successful launch.

What Are The Proper Boat Ramp Protocols For A Successful Launch

Do Your Research  

It is imperative to research and learn the proper boat ramp protocols way before you even get to one. The last thing you want to be known as is the person who made others wait while you readied the boat. Don’t do that. A little bit of knowledge ahead of time on the local rules will ensure a more successful, less stressful launch.  

If you’re a newbie boat launcher, it’s a good idea to find a place that has set up a loading ramp away from the launching ramps. Make sure you’re using the farthest ramp, allowing others to launch their boat while you try to unload and launch yours. One trailer shouldn’t impede on other lanes.

3 Key Steps To Take Before Going To A Boat Launch (Pre-Launch Preparation)

Several things must be done before you can launch your boat. You certainly don’t want to be doing this at the launch with other people waiting on you to get done. What should be done before you try launching?

  • When you get into the parking lot, get over as much as possible, as to let others go before you so they can launch their boats.
  • Load the gear into the boat, put the plug in, remove the cover and straps, and do what is necessary to ensure the lines don’t become clogged.
  • Read over the pre-ride checklist, which varies from model to model. Look over the owner’s manual to see what these steps are for your boat model.

By keeping to the side and going through these steps, ensures two things:

  • You won’t skip steps to hurry up and get in the water.
  • You won’t inconvenience other boat launchers

Launching Your Boat

According to the protocol, you want to quickly launch your boat. Now, every public boat ramp is different when it comes to launching conditions. You have to deal with both the tide and water levels. If you’re new to boat launching, there’s no shame in taking your time. As you become more familiar with the process, your launch time will shorten.

  • Slowly back your boat into the water until it starts floating.
  • Unfasten the winch strap and safety chain.
  • Move the boat into the water.
  • Place your vehicle into park, setting the parking brake. This keeps the vehicle from going into the water (accidents have been known to happen).
  • It’s always a good idea to bring a helper. One person can deal with the boat while the other can deal with the tow vehicle.

Boat ramps will be wet and slippery, so you must be careful while walking around and dealing with your boat.

Check out the BoaterExam video to see how to launch a boat:

Retrieving Your Boat

With a little bit of planning and common sense, you can easily retrieve your boat from the water and load it on the trailer.  Be sure to do the following:

  • Drive slowly up to the ramp to allow someone else to get the towing vehicle and trailer.
  • Back off the ramp a bit so they can get the trailer backed into the water.
  • Be sure the towing vehicle is set in place before you try to pull your boat onto the ramp.
  • Back the trailer up, so two-thirds of the rollers and bunks are in the water.
  • Drive the boat far enough onto the trailer so the winch hook can be attached to the bow eye.
  • Use the winch to finish pulling the boat onto the bunks.
  • Use the friction to hold the boat into place, then turn the engine off.
  • Go to the bow and connect the safety chain and winch strap together.
  • Let the driver know they can clear the ramp now.

As a newbie, you want to ensure that you use your hands to winch the boat to the trailer. As you familiarize yourself with the retrieval process, you can eventually, yet carefully, drive the boat onto the trailer.

Experienced riders can get their boat into position as soon as the tow vehicle nears the boat ramp. Once the trailer is adequately submerged, they can use a little bit of power to push the boat onto the trailer. (This is something you may want to strive for down the road.)

Special Note: DO NOT EVER “power load” the boat when the trailer is not far enough in the water. If there is enough force on the throttle, the engine could wear away the bottom.

Practice Backing Up Your Trailer 

Before you even attempt backing up at a public boat ramp with a trailer hitch, you should do some practicing of backing up with the boat trailer.  This allows you to know how the trailer will respond when you’re backing up. You certainly don’t want to jackknife it or have it go the opposite direction.

Make sure to find an empty parking lot that allows you to practice this peacefully.

When you near the launch ramp, be sure to make a wide swing and pick a ramp that’s open. You want to see the boat ramp clearly in the mirrors, so make sure you drive far enough out front. You want it to be straight behind you. Go slowly when backing up to the ramp. Continue until the boat is floating in the water and the trailer is in it. 

Be sure to watch this video to get a good idea of what to do:

What To Keep In Mind

It’s not easy to find a public boat ramp, especially if you’re new to boating. However, with a bit of searching on Google for “public boat ramps near me” or using the locator tool, the task becomes a little easier. The boat ramp locator tool is free to use, and it can also help you find the best spots to fish and marinas.

Make sure to learn the rules and follow them. Know what the protocols are for launching a boat so you’re not holding up the ramp for other boaters.  It’s essential to keep your cool, and if you need help from someone more experienced, don’t be afraid to ask. Every boater is there to have fun and don’t typically mind helping out if you ask a hand.

And, if you’re an experienced boater and see someone needing help, be kind enough to help the newbie get their boat launched.

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