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


If you’ve ever spent time at a boat ramp, you know it can be one of the most frustrating parts of going fishing — especially on a busy weekend. Most of this frustration comes from boat ramp mistakes.

One of the biggest problems at the boat ramp is that many boat owners don’t know the proper etiquette on how to launch their boat.

Tensions can build quickly at the ramp and it’s not uncommon for two boaters to get into an argument because one individual is causing a problem for other boaters trying to launch.

No one goes to the boat ramp wanting to get into an argument and getting into one can put a damper on your whole day of fishing.

We wanted to delve into this topic a little bit more to show our followers the top five boat ramp mistakes and to help them avoid their own boat ramp fight-fiasco.

The Top Five Boat Ramp Blunders

This section will go over the boat ramp mistakes you want to avoid and offers a solution to make sure you avoid these mistakes.

1. Don’t Block the Launch Lane

This is the number one biggest mistake you can make at the boat ramp.

Many boaters park their boats in front of the boat ramp to prep it for their day on the water. Similarly, they’ll take the boat out of the water and park it in the ramp lane area as they pack up their gear into the car. Doing this will drive other boaters at the ramp crazy.

Blocking the ramp lane prevents other boaters from launching their boats and creates long lines and frustrated people. Some people will confront others who block the ramp, which is how most boat ramp arguments are started.

So don’t be that guy. Prep your boat for your day on the water in the parking lot. The ramp lane is for business only — aka to launch your boat.

Check out the graphic below to see the “business only” zone at the boat ramp:

boat ramp no parking zone
Parking in the business only zone at the ramp will frustrate other boaters.

2. Be Prepared with Your Gear Before Launching

This mistake ties back into the first mistake. You want to make sure you prep all your gear for fishing BEFORE you begin the boat launching process.

The best way to get ready before launching the boat is to pull into a space in the parking lot. Once you’re in the spot, pack your rods, coolers, tackle boxes and any other gear you need for your outing in the boat.

This allows you to prep your boat with the necessary gear without blocking anyone from the boat ramp or being in the way in the parking lot.

Launching at boat ramp.
Luke launches his boat with all his needed gear already packed to go.

The biggest thing that makes people blow their stack at the boat ramp is being unnecessarily held up from getting on the water. Taking time to prep your boat before launching will help you avoid a situation that could lead to a boat ramp-argument altogether.

3. Don’t Block the Ramp in the Water with Your Boat

Are you picking up on a theme here?

After you’ve launched your boat, you want to make sure you park at the dock in a way that does not block others from utilizing the boat ramp.

Parking the boat in the water too close to the ramp will prevent others from being able to launch their boats.

This is easily solved by either parking your boat near the end of the ramp dock or parking your boat out of the ramp lane.

The graphic below shows you the where you should and should not park your boat after you’ve launched it:

parking boat at boat ramp dock
Parking your boat at the dock away from the ramp will free it up for others to use it.

By parking your boat at the dock but out of the ramp lane, you allow other boaters to launch without causing an issue.

4. Don’t Cut the Line

This next mistake is not only a boat ramp etiquette tip, but also a tip that basically applies to all walks of life.

If you pull up to a boat ramp and see a bunch of people parked in a line getting their boats ready, don’t think that you can just cut ahead of them to use the ramp because you’ll be ready to launch sooner than them.

The line is there for a reason and it’s courteous to wait for the boat ramp just like everyone else is.

Boat ramp line
Make sure not to cut the line at the boat ramp.

Cutting a line can also cause a major issue with other boaters at the ramp who might perceive you as being selfish for jumping to the front while everyone else was waiting patiently (or worse).

Be respectful and mindful of the line to launch your boat at the ramp.

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5. Don’t Gun it onto the Trailer

This final mistake is one that is not generally well known among anglers or boaters.

When most people put their boats back onto the trailer at the end of the day, they use the engine at a high rate of speed to drive their boat as far onto the trailer as possible. Many boaters keep their engines completely down in the running position when putting their boat back on the trailer.

The force from having the motor down in the running position and gunning the boat onto the trailer causes water pressure down the ramp. This water pressure erodes the bottom directly below the concrete ramp and creates a hard ledge.

Hitting this hard ledge with your trailer or motor can cause irreversible damage to both and is a hazard for all boaters using the ramp.

Loading boat onto the trailer
Luke eases his boat onto the trailer after a successful day fishing.

Easing the boat onto the trailer will get your boat loaded and will also protect the ramp from erosion.

Top 5 Public Boat Ramp Mistakes Video 

In this video, Luke goes over the top five mistakes people make at the boat ramp and why making these mistakes can be problematic:

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Following these tips will help you avoid making these common mistakes at the boat ramp.


Boat ramps are a place for starting amazing days on the water, not for arguing, stress and frustration.

Knowing these simple mistakes will help you get your boat into the water quickly and without issues.

If you’re ever in doubt about what you should be doing at a boat ramp, just remember to be courteous and try not to block other boaters from doing the things they need to get on the water.

If you have any questions about boat ramp etiquette or how to launch your boat, let us know in the comments below.

Tight lines!

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1. Are Bananas Really Bad Luck On Boats? [PICS & TRUE STORIES]

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Greg McVeigh
6 months ago

It all comes down to being considerate of others. Don’t be “that guy”!

Lyle Crafton
1 year ago

Rule 6. It’s not worth getting into an altercation. One can buy and operate a boat without a clue or license. Heck, most don’t even know what side of the channel to navigate. Very few ramps around here have more than one or two spots on a “courtesy” dock and usually limited to no space, to beach a boat to retrieve one’s trailer. During the season, especially scallop, it can become a nightmare. Most of the time you have to just pull up the ramp and retrieve your vehicle. Kind of goes against the protocol. So, what I do is if someone had already went to retrieve their vehicle I just back the boat out of the way and let them take care of business. A cool head prevails.

Captain Billy Bice
2 years ago

Park a car/truck DOCK a boat….I’ve never parked a boat😉

Armando Lopez
2 years ago

Really loved the #5

Drew Danko
2 years ago

I always fish by myself (small 16 ft.boat) so unhooking the boat, placing bumpers out, and tying up takes a little time. Similar problems hooking up to the trailer. And at 82 I move a bit slower than I use to. So a video on how to speed things up once the boat is in the water,but still hooked to the trailer would be helpful as would things to do when coming back in. Also remember the water might be deep at the ramp due to high tide levels or the angle of the ramp. Thanks. Drew

3 years ago

Hi all, I’m new but it seems many people out there don’t exercise common sense. I’m trying to figure out if there is a set rule for who has right of way, the boat leaving the water or the unloaded boat backing down the ramp you are pulling in to?
I waited for a bass boat to clear the way to the dock because they were rudely blocking the dock. When they cleared, I go forward and this truck with boat stops half the way down the ramp to ready his boat to the side I was pulling in to.
I basically asked how I was supposed to get my boat off the water because I couldn’t get my trailer past them.
I could have been more polite in my response, but after waving my arms like an idiot and they obliviously block me, it would fall on deaf ears.
Please help me understand so I am doing things right.

Lloyd Phillips
3 years ago

I call that knot a “quick release knot.” I’ve been using it on horses for 45 years. Taught by my dad.

4 years ago

Even the Parks department has started putting up signs informing boaters of how powering onto their trailer damages the ramp. I have noticed recently that many boaters are less aggressive when driving their boat onto their trailer. Keep putting the word out there. Oh, I like what you said about this is a discussion and not a a lecture, Good job captain!

5 years ago

I wish boaters would be mindful of us bank fishermen and slow down and stay a safe distance away
Maybe not for us but for your boat motors fishing line can ruin boat motors

Luke Simonds
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Yes, the need to be respectful of others applies to other people who are launching boats as well as any others who are on the docks or nearby shorelines.

Delbert Young
5 years ago

Yep, those points are all so frustrating to me when I’m wanting to unload or load. One thing I think good also is if you’re alone and have to put in, tie up, and then park your vehicle, move the vehicle before you setup your gear in your boat. I’ve seen people launch, tie up, and then prepare their gear leaving their vehicle sitting in a ramp. Once they get setup, they move. NO! Move your vehicle and then do whatever else needs to be done.
Another thing I see people do a lot is once they’ve loaded, pulled out, gotten everything loaded into the vehicle, and strapped down, they walk off to the bathroom, carry on a conversation with someone blocking the area, etc. No. We need to move out of the way opening the area for the next person.
Just a little consideration goes a long way at a boat ramp.
One more thing. We don’t need to be so proud we won’t ask for help. Sometimes a big boat, especially on a windy day, is very difficult to load alone. People don’t mind giving a hand if asked. Most understand and are more than happy to help out.


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