Boating 101

EASILY Launch and Load Your Boat By Yourself (Even Without a Dock!)

Are you new to boating and want to learn how to launch and load your boat by yourself? Even if you have no dock to tie onto?

If so, then this is the PERFECT post and video for you. I walk you through EXACTLY how to launch and load your boat, even without a dock. It’s simple, easy, and literally, anyone can do it!


When doing solo launching and loads, I recommend a few things:
1) A rope with a clamp to attach to your truck (mine attaches from my anchor to my truck)
2) A prelaunch checklist if you are new to boating.
3) A stake, stick, anything to hook your boat onto while you drive the truck away (only if there are no poles, trees, etc.. to latch to!
4) Boots – if you don’t have a drotto latch or don’t want to stand on the tongue (or don’t mind getting wet). Totally optional but can be helpful for new boaters.


The first step is going to simply be prepping your boat to launch. This means:

  1. Pulling over in the access parking lot and packing up your boat (lunch, electronics, clothes, etc…)
  2. Putting in your plug
  3. Removing your transom saver
  4. Removing your straps
  5. Making sure you have a rope ready to go

Perhaps most importantly, remember to keep your boat attached until you launch!


Now let’s talk about backing up. If you aren’t experienced with backing up, I recommend that you try to find an empty parking lot/area/ or ramp and practice. If you happen to live in a busy area, then you are going to have to practice on the spot. In this case, have an experience boater nearby to help guide you and expedite the process.

I promise it’s OK if you mess up a few times, but you are never going to learn if you don’t try, even in stressful situations.

  1. Start as Straight as You Can to The Ramp
    The number one thing you will need to do is start as straight as possible when lining up with the ramp. This will allow you to see both mirrors and requires the least amount of effort to back in.
  2. Trust Your Mirrors
    Using both the driver side and passenger side mirror is the key when backing up consistently. I or edge of the ramp as a guide in my mirror to make sure I’m lined up straight. Try your best to avoid overcorrecting!
  3. Stop Before the Trailer Tongue is in the Water
    I stop far enough in the water so that my boat is partially out of the water column. Then I grab the rope.


Next you need to attach the rope. I like to attach the rope to the front of the pickup as shown below.

At this point:

  • The trailer is in the water but the tongue of the trailer is not
  • I detach the boat from the trailer.
  • I attach the rope to the truck bed.
  • Everything is ready for launching.
  • I back up to launch.

With a little momentum, back the boat up and “launch” the boat. By giving it a little bit of momentum and an abrupt stop – the boat will eject itself from the trailer (don’t worry, it’s attached to the truck so it won’t go anywhere) and be floating behind the trailer. At this point, if there is plenty of slack in the line, I will pull the boat in. Simple. OR I will attach the rope to a branch, rock, etc.. and let the boat sit out there while I pull the trailer out.


Next park you trailer and then head over to your boat!

When backing up your boat, keep your motor trimmed high. As long as it’s “peeing water” you don’t have to worry about it overheating. Slowly back up and then you are ready to go!


Finally let’s load.

First, you are going to have to drive yourself to the shore. It’s totally OK to gently land your boat onshore. Just take your time.

Next, you need to grab your rope and secure it to land (if it’s windy, blowing out) – whether that be a tree, a pole, or a stake, or any sort of weight. If the waves are blowing in – or it’s calm – you can simply leave it onshore without tying it up. Most of the time, this is just fine!

Grab your truck and back up. Make sure you keep ENOUGH of the guides out so that you can properly line up your boat when landing. I find that people struggle the most when they back up their trailer too far and the boat floats over part of their guides. Just remember practice makes perfect.

Then I hook up the chain and wench to the boat and wench myself in until the boat is sitting properly on the mount.

Finally, I jump over to shore (if you have boots you can walk through the little bit of water) and pull myself out. It’s that simple.

Looking for more boating tips? Check out my YouTube channel.