Whether you're brand new to boating or have been enjoying Brazos River Authority reservoirs for years, now's a good time for a refresher on boat ramp etiquette.
There's a good chance you know some of these – but do you know all of them?
Not everyone has the same amount of experience launching and unloading their boat, so patience is pivotal when enjoying any of the boat ramps at Brazos River Authority water supply reservoirs: lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury and Limestone. Guests to the BRA's public use amenities will include those who've lived by the lake all their life to those visiting for the first time.
Whether using a boat ramp at Sandy Beach at Possum Kingdom Lake, Thorp Spring Park at Lake Granbury, Public Use Area No. 5 at Lake Limestone, or any others, be sure to keep these helpful boat ramp etiquette tips in mind.
Prep first: Don't wait until getting on the boat ramp to do your prep work. A beautiful weekend day can draw crowds to any lake resulting in a line of vehicles ready to back their boat into the water. Patience can run thin. Plan ahead and load all your gear into the boat, install the boat drain plug, and check that the key is in the ignition. This would be a good time to bump the key into the "start" position just to make sure you don't have a dead battery, suggests DiscoverBoating.com.
Find the line: The boat's prepped, and you're ready to hit the water. Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to see if a line has formed for the boat ramp so as not to cut off anyone or impede the traffic in the area.
Don't Submerge: USHarbors.com suggests never backing the trailer fully into the water. If the rear rollers are submerged before you release them, the boat will float rather than back off. If you lift the nose of the boat without the stern in the water, the vessel should slide smoothly off the trailer.
Ask first: When the boat ramp is packed, it might be difficult to find a spot to pick up other passengers or to temporarily tie-up while parking your vehicle. Don't assume it's ok to tie-up to someone else's boat for a few minutes. Ask first and ensure your fenders are appropriately spaced to prevent damage, suggests Anchoring.com.
Unload elsewhere: It's been a long day and you're ready to ditch the trash, get the boat out of the water and check the tire pressure. Don't let your hurry impede others trying to use the boat ramp. Don't unload your boat on the boat ramp. Once the boat is attached to the vehicle, pull away to a staging area to prep for the drive home. The courtesy ramp is not a hang-out spot.
Be kind: Don't let a few minutes wait for your turn on the boat ramp ruin a whole day of fun under the sun. Be patient and remember you also had to learn the most efficient way to navigate a boat ramp. And if you are the one having trouble, ask for help. Many experienced boaters will help you with encouragement and a guiding eye.
Launching and receiving vessels becomes a simple and safe process when you remember to apply care, courtesy and commonsense.