With over 165 miles of navigable waterways in Broward County alone, it’s no wonder that boating tops our list of recreational activities. Boaters living east and just west of 95 enjoy immediate access to the Intracoastal with its waterfront restaurants and nightspots. Sailors and saltwater fishermen abound in the ocean while the 65 miles of interconnected canals (mostly navigable) are the playground for small boat fishermen and families of all ages.
For me, after a day on the water, a quiet night at anchor is a perfect elixir for a demanding work week. On those occasions, I enjoy watching boaters launching off the ramps next to Hollywood Marina. I’ve seen just about everything happen including some depicted in these photos.
I know from experience how difficult it is to maneuver a boat trailer so I asked a pro to help us with some tips for our new boater insurance customers. And to help our customers expand their horizons, we compiled a list of over 50 launch ramps in Broward County. Please download our list and share it with friends.
These tips are for the first time trailered boat owner who can’t wait to go fishing or the boat owner who can’t get the launch right (and maybe too proud to ask for help).
If you trailer your boat, a boat ramp is the only thing between you and the water. Be warned; launching is not as easy as the experienced boaters make it look. Lunching is a tricky, touchy business that can be mastered with forethought, patience, and practice.
Here are eight tips for a perfect boat trailer launch!
1) Practice, practice, practice.
Confidence comes with experience. Instead of getting your experience at a busy boat ramp with many opinionated, impatient spectators, go to an empty parking lot—and practice backing the trailer into a parking space.
2) Nonverbal communication is important.
Verbal directions from your co-captain can be drowned out by noisy engines and stereos. Avoid the distraction and frustration of noise by agreeing on a few simple hand signals for “stop,” “left,” “right,” “start over” and “perfect.”
3) Take it slow and steady all the way.
Ignore the pressure to move fast by taking a deep breath. Fast going will usually lead to mistakes. Go slow—there is no time limit. Use your brake pedal to control the majority of vehicle movement.
4) Less gas and more brake.
Backing down a ramp requires very little gas. Focus on using your brakes and checking your mirrors. Optimum maneuverability can be achieved by wheel adjustments with your brake applied. Hold the brake, turn the wheel to where you want it and then slowly release the break.
5) Consider steering wheel hand positions 8-4 instead of 10-2.
The traditional 10-2 hand position on the wheel is OK, but many drivers prefer using the 8-4 position instead. With hands at the bottom of the steering wheel, it can feel more natural because you’ll be pushing in the direction that the trailer moves.
6) If possible try maneuvering different trailer sizes.
Ask a buddy with a different size rig if you could maneuver his in a parking lot. Recognizing that not all trailers and boats behave the same when being maneuvered is useful experience. A longer boat and trailer is usually easier to back up and harder to maneuver in forward turns; a shorter boat trailer is the opposite.
7) If you jackknife, correct it before restarting.
With your brake on, turn your steering wheel all the way in the opposite direction of the jackknife. Then move forward slowly—your tow vehicle and trailer should realign.
8) Don’t go without guide poles.
Attaching guide poles to your trailer will increase visibility which makes maneuvering easier. Guide poles will give you the confidence of a boat-launching pro!
Now if you’re looking for tips about buying the best boat insurance with the most discounts that’s where we’re the pros. As an independent insurance agency, we can offer a variety of coverage options at competitive prices that will fit your boat and your budget. We have boat insurance policies to cover bass boats, sailboats, cruisers, pontoons, powerboats, runabouts, and water toys up to 36 feet long.
Call the Brady Insurance Group team at 866.764.1944. We shop rates, so you don’t have to. If you haven’t downloaded our guide to Broward Launch ramps, you can download it now. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on Facebook.