Hi, Lochie Daddo here for the National Maritime
Museum in Sydney. Now there’s a couple of situations that should be avoided at all costs.
One: Forgetting to take your pyjamas off before you head to the office and two launching a
boat at a busy boat ramp. Now boat ramps are pressure cooker situations and on any given
weekend boats are dinged, cars are dipped and a lot of egos are bruised as people try
to retrieve and launch their boats the wrong way. So we thought we’d have a chat to Kathryn
Kershaw who’s one of the Ship Keepers at the National Maritime Museum here in Sydney
about how to keep your reputation intact when you’re on the ramp. Well Kath, here we are
at the dreaded boat ramp and it’s a slippery one at that. What’s the etiquette for launching
a boat? Well the main thing you’ve got to remember
is to not jump the queue. So take a look at how the boat ramp works and just make sure
that you get in the right position. One of the other things is to make sure that you
do all of your prep while you’re either in the queue or before you dump in to minimise
the time spent on the ramp. What are the biggest mistakes that you see
people make? It’s amazing the number of people that launch
their boats without the bungs in and—– Oh. Yes and with the tie downs still on and they
wonder why they can’t get it off the trailer. Alright Kathryn, what are the top tips for
launching a boat? Well it’s really important to make sure
that you’re fully prepared. So make sure that you’ve got your fenders in place, lines
that you need, and one of the important things is making sure that your trailer lights off
if they’re not submersible and waterproof. Make sure you have a look at the lay of the
land and any obstacles that might be in your way. What is the art to backing your boat down
to the water? Well it’s really important just to take
your time and make sure that the boat and the car are in a nice straight line, and then
back back slowly. So one really important thing is to make sure that you don’t unhook
your safety chain until you’re in the water and ready to go otherwise your boat might
float away without you and it won’t be a very fun day. And what should we do once we get the boat
into the water? Well it’s really important to move away
as quickly as possible. So a lot of boat ramps these days have pontoons located nearby so
if you move your boat to the – as far away on the pontoon as you can and tie up, and
you can also take your car back off the boat ramp. So you’ve had a great day out on the harbour,
now it’s time to bring your boat back, go home. What’s the art of putting your boat
back on a trailer? Well when you’re coming in just make sure
that the centre of the boat is lined up with the centre of the trailer. So as soon as you’re
in far enough hook your winch on and you can winch your boat up. Move away to an area that’s
out of the way and then you can put all your tie downs back on. Make sure it’s all secured;
make sure the safety chain is back on and all your lights and head home. Well thanks to Kathryn I’m now feeling a
little bit more confident when it comes to launching my boat. So there’s a couple of
things to remember: Prepare your boat on land not in the water. Make sure that your bungs
are in. It’s a good idea to check out the ramp at low tide before you use it and when
it comes to backing your car down align your boat and your car. Finally the last thing
is when it comes to retrieving the boat do it all in reverse. Well kind of.


  1. when Kath was showing it, launching boat seemd to be really easy and harmless. But I know how difficult it is, especially for newcomers. Thanks for this video!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it and we're really glad Kat was able to help.

  3. Not a bad idea to hook the safety chain before pulling up the ramp in case your winch, cable, or strap let go

  4. I've watched at least a dozen of these boat launch etiquette videos and I have to wonder, is it really that bad out there?  A "pressure cooker"?  It makes it sound like people are just complete imbeciles out there.  Is it really that bad?  I would never start a launch less than fully prepared to not inconvenience people, and I've backed up plenty of uhauls.  I'm just curious if people are really that stupid.

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