Boating 101: Boat Launch Etiquette

By Discover Boating

Every boater should know the rules of the road—or what’s also come to be known as basic “boating etiquette” for safe, courteous navigation—before pulling away from the dock. However, there’s another set of mostly unwritten rules comes into play at the launch ramp.

A popular boat ramp can be a busy place, especially on a summer weekend. The process of launching and retrieving hundreds of boats is like running a circus with no ringmaster—so etiquette, custom and courtesy are all that stand between good order and havoc. A good boat owner takes pride in appearing ship-shape at the ramp and contributing to efficiency. Those who are unprepared, or just oblivious, can mess things up in short order. So don’t be that boat owner.

Let’s go over some of the basics of boat ramp etiquette, starting with a few tips that will make your launching and retrieving process smooth and stress-free.

5 Tips for Good Boat Ramp Etiquette

  1. Always complete all prep work first in the staging area—out of the way of ramp where other boaters are launching.
  2. Launch quickly and efficiently; have others in your crew assist you to make the process easier, if possible.