atom_At the Boat Ramp
The weekend is finally here. You"re all loaded up (well, the car is loaded, you"re not) and it"s time to head for the lake. You get to the ramp and take your place in line. When your turn comes, you back and fill until the trailer is absolutely straight on the ramp. You back up to the water"s edge, untie the cover and start transferring fishing and ski gear plus several coolers to the boat. You back into the water and launch the boat, then pull out to park while your wife and kids hold the boat. You come strolling back, jump in the boat and take off. You"re happy - on the water in only 45 minutes.
Then your wife tells you that unless you find another lake to go to, she"s staying home. While you were parking the car, all sorts of people hollered at her and the kids. They were really upset and made the kids cry. And the language they used!
I hate to tell you this, but they were right. At least partly right. I certainly don"t advocate abusing women and children, and the ones who unloaded on her but couldn"t face you are cowards. They should have unloaded on you! You were about as inconsiderate as you could be without trying.
Next time you go to the ramp, stop in the parking area first. That"s the place to take off the cover and load the boat. When you get onto the ramp, the only point of attachment should be the winch strap or cable.
Realize that almost nobody outside of a fishing show backs a trailer on a straight line all the way. The important thing is to end up straight enough to launch when you reach the bottom of the ramp. Try putting your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then simply move your hand in the direction you want the rear of the trailer to go. You may be making many small corrections, but you"re making quick progress down the ramp.
Now that the boat is in the water, clear the area. If the ramp provides a dock next to ramp, have your partner wait for you with the boat there. If there is no dock, hold the boat off to the side so someone else can launch.
When you"re done for the day, just reverse these steps. You should be able to get in and out in under 10 minutes. You"ll be happier and so will your wife.
Oh, and if you get the urge to holler at some poor schnook doing what you used to do - don"t. Give them this article and help them on the road to better boating. And have a little patience with beginners, and those of us who get told "no, your other left."
[note: I know that many women will read this, and some will resent the gender bias in some of my writing. This is not a slight, I just find the he/she thing awkward and making sure the references are balanced resembles work. I was cursed with a Y chromosome, so that"s the point of view I write from.]
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