Easiest Way to Launch and Load a Boat by Yourself [Video Tutorial]

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One of the most difficult parts about a solo fishing trip can be the part where you launch and load your boat by yourself.

This is a process that can be very frustrating when not done properly. And it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress given that there are often other anglers waiting for you to get finished so that they can launch.

After owning a boat for many years while having a huge fishing addiction causing me to still take the boat out regardless if friends are joining me or not, I have learned some tips that makes launching and loading a boat in the water by yourself much easier.

So I wanted to put this article together to highlight some of the more important tips that I wish I had learned sooner.

And if you have any that I did not mention, please do not hesitate to let us know in the Comments section at the bottom.

How to Launch a Boat by Yourself 

launch your boat by yourself

I put together a list of the top tips you need to know to launch your boat by yourself, which are:

1. Attach a Long Rope to the Front of Your Boat

Besides the boat, the trailer and your car, this rope may be the most important piece of equipment to have when launching your boat by yourself.

When I launch my boat alone, I tie two long ropes together and attach one end to the front of my boat and the other end to a cleat inside my truck bed. I make sure the rope is long enough to allow my boat to come off the trailer completely.

rope to launch your boat

When the boat floats completely off the trailer, I untie the rope from my truckbed cleat and use it to corral the boat to where I need to.

I can then use that single rope to tie off the back and front of the boat to the dock and go park my truck.

2. Have All Your Gear Ready Before Launching Your Boat

This a rule of thumb for launching your boat by yourself or with the help of someone else. You want to have all your gear ready and loaded before backing your boat down the ramp.

Make sure the plug is in your boat, your fishing rods are loaded and that you have any tackle or other gear you need for your outing.

Launching at boat ramp.

This makes it so you’re ready as soon as you hit the ramp. It also makes sure you don’t block dock space running back and forth from your car to get your gear.

For more boat ramp etiquette tips, check out our guide on the top five boat ramp mistakes here.

3. Do a Hard Stop to Help Your Boat Slide Off the Trailer

A hard stop on the ramp can help your boat slide all the way off your trailer. It also makes sure you don’t have to climb up on your trailer to push the boat off into the water.

To do this, back your boat trailer down the ramp at a steady and controlled speed. Once your trailer has entered the water and you see the back of your boat begin to float, give your vehicle a hard press on the brakes to bring it an abrupt stop.

abrupt stop to launch your boat by yourself

The momentum from the stop will allow the boat to easily slide off the trailer all the way in the water.

After that, simply grab your boat rope and tie it off at the dock.

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How to Load a Boat by Yourself

load a boat alone

In order to fish on your boat by yourself, you not only need to know how to launch it but also how to load it.

In this section, I show you my top tips for loading your boat on the trailer by yourself — which are:

1. Tie the Boat Off at the Back of the Dock and Back Your Trailer Straight Down the Middle of the Ramp

Tying your boat near the end of the dock will allow others to use the boat ramp while you get your car and trailer.

Once you’re in your vehicle, make sure you back the trailer straight down the middle of the ramp and enough to get the front of the boat all the way up to the winch on the trailer.

Click here to see how to back up a boat trailer like a boss.

2. Get on Your Boat, Untie the Rope and Give a Small Shove Off the Dock

Once you have your trailer in the water, it’s time to get ready to drive the boat onto the trailer.

To do this, jump on your boat, untie the back corner of it from the dock and get your rope in the boat. Make sure you hold your boat to the dock with your hands while you do this.

load your boat by yourself

Once the rope is untied from the dock, give a slight shove off the dock to get your boat safely away from it.

At this point, you should be ready to load your boat on the trailer.

3. Drive the Boat Up the Trailer and Attach it to the Trailer Winch

Once you are free from the dock and have shoved the boat away from it, you want to slowly and steadily drive the boat up the trailer until the front is close enough to attach the winch to it.

After the boat is on the trailer and is not going to float away, jump down from the boat. Attach it to the winch and crank it up until the front of the boat is in place at the bow stop.

launch boat winch

This ensures the boat will stay in place on the trailer all the way up the ramp.

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Launch and Load Tip: Always Wash Your Lug Nuts

launch lug nuts

Saltwater can do a number to your trailer in a hurry and make it hard to keep up the maintenance on it if parts get too rusty.

One of the most important parts of the trailer to keep in good condition are the lug nuts that hold wheels on the trailer axle.

After launching and loading your boat on the trailer at the ramp, always try to get freshwater on your lug nuts and rims as quickly as possible.

This ensures that the lug nuts do not develop rust and makes it easier for you when you need to unscrew those nuts to change a tire or something like that.

How to Launch and Load a Boat by Yourself Video Tutorial

In this video, I show you the entire process on how to launch and load your boat by yourself:

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Conclusion

launch a boat by yourself

The techniques used in this video are proven ways to launch and load your boat easily and efficiently by yourself.

While these techniques are not the only way you can get it done, they work and make sure you do it in a practical and safe manner.

If you have any questions about how to launch and load a boat by yourself or see any ways we can improve how we do it, let us know in the comments.

Don’t forget to check out our guide to boat ramp etiquette as well by clicking here.

Tight Lines!

Related Posts:

1. Boat Ramp Mistakes: Top 5 Blunders That Cause Fights [VIDEO]

2. How To Back A Boat Trailer Down The Ramp Like A BOSS (VIDEO)

3. How Not To Launch A Boat [EPIC FAIL]

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Phil Wilhelm
4 months ago

Those are lines, not ropes.

Clinton Johnson
5 months ago

Can you give me tips on how to launch a boat solo without a dock?

Mike
1 year ago

Mooring Hitch Knot – thank you.

https://www.101knots.com/mooring-hitch.html

Mike
1 year ago

Could you please have one of you knot buddies find out the name of your knot? I’ve looked through my book and did not find it. Nice video although not nimble enough to climb down on the trailer. Still thinking about that. Wish you show the technique with a pontoon.

David Sheckler
1 year ago

I have the exact same trailer. Two questions. Are all boat master winch posts loose like that? Mine is and no real way to tighten it up. Is there a reason for that? Also, do you like your guide ons? I only have poles and find it difficult in current and or wind. The poles don’t seem to cut it too well. My last boat had centering bunks the entire length and it was like bumper bowling, very hard to not get it on the trailer nice and centered. Nice video!

Blue
1 year ago

Just came across your video. Sorry for a late 2¢.
I use a very similar method as you. Two additional adds to your informative video.
1. I dry start my motor for a few seconds at the house and shut it down. That way I know that she is ready to fire once in the water.
2. Look into “Fluid Film “ preventive lube that was developed in the 40’s.Water beads off dry when you pull your trailer out. One application lasts for a long time on lug nuts and all other bolts on your trailer.
Just don’t get it on synthetic fiber shorts. It will eat a hole in minutes

Andrew Sandoval
1 year ago

If you can, you should rinse off the backside of the lug nuts too. When I got my new (to me) bay boat last April, I decided to switch to aluminum wheels. When I did so, I couldn’t get one of them off because one of the lug nuts had rusted on the backside to the point where it would just spin in the hub. This was on a “maintenance free ‘Vault’ Hub. (They don’t cover that in their warranty — or at least they wouldn’t for me.) I ended up replacing that entire hub only to have it fail 9 months later on the highway, spraying grease all over the boat… I added an axle – so now I have 4 Vault hubs, but despite how they seal those up to make them maintenance free, you need to be sure to get the saltwater off of the lug nuts on both sides — even if the only options are to do so right after launching, and then at a car wash after loading. Or maybe getting in there with Corrosion X on hands and knees.

Another mistake I’ve learned from with failed bearings… If you drive a long distance to the ramp (3 hours for me to the coast), you should probably take a good, long break before you back into the water. The wheels/bearings/etc. get very warm and when you douse them with relatively cool saltwater the seals don’t always hold up.

I added the 2nd axle to my trailer, because the last failed bearings (not even on a fishing trip, but on the way back from the shop) stranded me for 11 hours and it cost me $600 to have someone come out in a rainstorm to cut off the piece of stuck bearing so that I can put a new hub on and get home. I expect the 2nd axle means I don’t get stranded, but I still need to find or make a tool that will ensure I can remove stuck bearing pieces if that ever happens again!

Fay Walker
1 year ago

Hi-thanks for the solo boat launch tip! what is the model/make of your boat? It seems to be the perfect size for a solo fishing trip where i will need to launch on my own. . thanks! Fay

Judi
2 years ago

Can you show the easiest way to get boat on a lift?

Carol
2 years ago

Great post, thanks for sharing. Have you ever had any issues with the hard stop to get the boat off the trailer? I imagine it takes a little practice to get it right. We use a Pivyt Post coupled with an electric winch to launch and haul single-handed. Would be interested to have you check it out and let us know your thoughts!

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