Those using public boat ramps, whether hunting or fishing, probably have witnessed a comedy of errors. You know, those early mornings when the guy ahead of you in line takes a dozen attempts before launching-holding up everyone else in the process. First, keep your cool. Hollering at someone having problems will do little but create more frustration and perhaps ill will. Second, remember that it could be you with the difficulties next time out.

Simple steps

There are a couple of steps you can take to help ensure that your trip to the ramp will be smooth. You can start by transferring everything from the tow vehicle into the boat before backing down the ramp. Those who wait until putting the boat in the water will cause delays. Don't make others wait while you stand around and chatter with your hunting partners. Get your boat in the water and pull the tow vehicle and trailer out of the way; do your talking away from the launch site.

Practice Launching

Those who are inexperienced in launching boats should practice before the season starts. Take your trailered boat to a large parking lot to get the feel of this process. If are having problems at the ramp, ask for help. Those waiting will likely be more than happy to lend a hand, if only to get you on your way. Get into a routine at the ramp. Use a checklist if necessary. Park in the area assigned to tow vehicles and trailers. Guests should park elsewhere.

If you would like to talk with others about boat launch ramp etiquette, or share your experiences, go to the message boards at BOATU.S. is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters.