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Getting into boating as a newbie

Old 02-10-2021, 08:04 PM
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Default Getting into boating as a newbie

Hello, so I am probably setting myself up here for some backlash being new and wanting to get into boating, but here goes nothing.
I have owned a boat for about 2 years. Reinell 240c. Iíve only taken it out three times. Iím gearing up this winter in plans of getting ready to start taking it out regularly this spring summer fall.
But I have some logistical hang ups.
1. My boat is stored on a trailer in a storage facility. Itís a lot of work going to the boat, un-tarping, hooking to vehicle, bringing back to storage, un-hooking, re-tarping, plus the hassle of backing it in. Itís a pain in the butt. And very time consuming. I live 2 minutes from my boat storage and within 10 minutes of two different boat launches so Iím hoping Iíll just eventually get better with practice and it wonít be such a hassle every time. Would be nice to take the boat out for an hour or two after work if it was easier.
2. I donít know anyone who is into boating. I am skilled in operating machinery, but I have almost zero knowledge when it comes to boats. Although I have done my research, I just donít have hands on experience and that lack of experience is keeping me from launching my boat. I donít want to rely on knowing someone to go with. I want to be able to launch my boat solo. And go out on the water solo. I have done the research and know itís possible, but itís a pretty nerve wracking thing. Iím sure everyone on here will tell me Iím on a suicide mission and to stay home and just sit in front of my tv instead of daring to try to launch a boat solo and go on solo boating trips.
3. Iím wondering if anyone has recommendations on places to look for resources. I actually found someone on a Facebook group in my area (Portland, OR) and he told me he would take me out to show me how to launch, operate, and retrieve my boat. He did and it was very useful, but that was an aluminum boat group and I have a cuddy cruiser. I feel like I just got lucky finding that person willing to do that and I wonder if there are other places I could look to find something similar.
Old 02-10-2021, 09:13 PM
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Here’s some advice on backing the trailer. Tow your boat to the largest empty parking lot near, where you live. Bring some cones or some sort of marker. Practice every scenario you can think of.

Here is a tip.....

Picture yourself going forward towing your boat. Start making a left turn. Now picture that exact scenario in reverse. That angle of entry onto a ramp, garage, or driveway, is the easiest because you can see what the trailer is doing by looking out your drivers side mirror. It’s not as easy, if you have to follow trailer in your passenger mirror. Get used to using your side mirrors and not your rear view mirror. Practice will make you better. Don’t practice at the ramp...... the ramp watchers are brutal.
Old 02-11-2021, 03:39 AM
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If you really want to use the boat more and avoid the hassle of getting it to/from the water, get a slip. It takes me less than 5 minutes to leave my slip, it's worth every penny. I use my 31 frequently by myself.
Old 02-11-2021, 03:53 AM
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Steer from the bottom of the wheel.The trailer goes in the direction you turn.
Get a different boat cover that easier to use.
Get a slip
Old 02-11-2021, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by MC3387 View Post
2. I donít know anyone who is into boating. I am skilled in operating machinery, but I have almost zero knowledge when it comes to boats. Although I have done my research, I just donít have hands on experience and that lack of experience is keeping me from launching my boat. I donít want to rely on knowing someone to go with. I want to be able to launch my boat solo. And go out on the water solo. I have done the research and know itís possible, but itís a pretty nerve wracking thing. Iím sure everyone on here will tell me Iím on a suicide mission and to stay home and just sit in front of my tv instead of daring to try to launch a boat solo and go on solo boating trips.
Are there any courses in your area you can do? Where I am (not the US) there is a national chain of independent sea schools that offer boat launching and basic handling/navigation/safety courses (as well as a lot more advanced courses) - it doesn't take much hands on expert tuition before you see 'newbies' making a much better job than guys who've been doing it 10 years or more.
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Old 02-11-2021, 03:57 AM
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One of your challenges is that is a pretty big boat for a first boat. I learned long ago that if I want to go boating whenever I want, I need to be able to do everything myself. It's a lot easier to get a 20' or less boat on and off the trailer by yourself than something that size. You might consider downsizing to something in the 18-20' range.
Old 02-11-2021, 04:07 AM
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For backing - I find it much easier to put my right arm on the back of the passenger and twist around and actually look out the rear window while backing. This is the way we were forced to learn to reverse in drivers ed in the 80s. I personally find this much easier than backing while looking through mirrors. You will instantly see which way the trailer goes when you turn the wheel and the result of the correction. You will quickly learn how to back this way.
Old 02-11-2021, 04:23 AM
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1. My boat is stored on a trailer in a storage facility. It’s a lot of work going to the boat, un-tarping, hooking to vehicle, bringing back to storage, un-hooking, re-tarping, plus the hassle of backing it in. It’s a pain in the butt. And very time consuming. I live 2 minutes from my boat storage and within 10 minutes of two different boat launches so I’m hoping I’ll just eventually get better with practice and it won’t be such a hassle every time.

There it is.

I bet if you had a slip that you would find something wrong.
Old 02-11-2021, 05:12 AM
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The good news is that what you are experiencing is the normal process every new boater goes through.....the bad news is that the solution is always the same and that is practice, practice, practice.

As stated, take you rig somewhere and practice maneuvering around cones. Pay close attention to the depth you set your trailer when launching/retrieving and note where the water hits the trailer for best results. Get rid of the tarp and at least get a proper fitted cover. That should make covering it quicker/easier. Consider a slip as it does make boating easier (presents some challenges with cleaning and service but could be worth the trade-off).

I grew up trailering boats. At 16 my father would let me tow his 70mph bass boat about 30 miles to the river by myself after school. In 30 years I've owned 14 boats of my own, 12 of which were trailered. EVERY TIME we get a new boat there is tow and ramp drama we need to overcome as we figure out a new vessel! My previous boat was a 38ft cigarette boat. I towed/launched/retrieved that boat solo all the time with ease (but not at first!).
Old 02-11-2021, 05:33 AM
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Look for rack that you can store it in and will drop it in when you need it. We do it and every time we pull up to the dock after the end of the day, we say thank you. Also when you look at the time commitment it is easy to see why you don't take it our on weeknights. With either a stack or a slip, weekday night boating becomes a real possibility, We do it all the time. I hope you can find something. I just talked to the operator of the stack where we keep our boat and they are already full for the season. Previously they had about 20% unused capacity.
Old 02-11-2021, 05:51 AM
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all it takes is motivation, if you are highly motivated to get out there on the water then there is not much that can get in your way.
with that being said , many of us launch and retrieve solo because fo the most part people helping is more of a hinderance than help.

sit at a ramp you intend using frequently and watch how the experienced do the task of launching and retrieving , you will see the people that are skilled and the beginners , ""learn from watching"".

spend the $$$$ and have a cover made that you can execute the job solo ,
if you use the boat regularly don't bother covering it ,
have all your gear you need on hand.so you don't have the added frustration of forgetting that one thing you need .,duffle/sausage bags are a great asset i have 3 with all my boating shit in them i just toss them in the car and when i get to the ramp toss them in the boat.

allow yourself time , boating is fun so long as you are not stressed foe time , i allow an hour or so each way IE: when i decide to go out it takes me at least an hour till the boat is in the water and ready to go , same when i get back in , another hour or so till i am home + 1/2 hour every 3rd or 4th time out for a wash down , wash down does not have to be done if your are planning to go out again in 2 or 3 days.if you don't go our within a few days wash your shit down, it shouldn't take more than an hour and that hour should be done when you have free time , not when you are going to have to rush.

boating is easy , don't make it a chore , if it starts being a chore take up knitting . .
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MC3387 View Post
Hello, so I am probably setting myself up here for some backlash being new and wanting to get into boating, but here goes nothing.
I have owned a boat for about 2 years. Reinell 240c. Iíve only taken it out three times. Iím gearing up this winter in plans of getting ready to start taking it out regularly this spring summer fall.
But I have some logistical hang ups.
1. My boat is stored on a trailer in a storage facility. Itís a lot of work going to the boat, un-tarping, hooking to vehicle, bringing back to storage, un-hooking, re-tarping, plus the hassle of backing it in. Itís a pain in the butt. And very time consuming. I live 2 minutes from my boat storage and within 10 minutes of two different boat launches so Iím hoping Iíll just eventually get better with practice and it wonít be such a hassle every time. Would be nice to take the boat out for an hour or two after work if it was easier.
2. I donít know anyone who is into boating. I am skilled in operating machinery, but I have almost zero knowledge when it comes to boats. Although I have done my research, I just donít have hands on experience and that lack of experience is keeping me from launching my boat. I donít want to rely on knowing someone to go with. I want to be able to launch my boat solo. And go out on the water solo. I have done the research and know itís possible, but itís a pretty nerve wracking thing. Iím sure everyone on here will tell me Iím on a suicide mission and to stay home and just sit in front of my tv instead of daring to try to launch a boat solo and go on solo boating trips.
3. Iím wondering if anyone has recommendations on places to look for resources. I actually found someone on a Facebook group in my area (Portland, OR) and he told me he would take me out to show me how to launch, operate, and retrieve my boat. He did and it was very useful, but that was an aluminum boat group and I have a cuddy cruiser. I feel like I just got lucky finding that person willing to do that and I wonder if there are other places I could look to find something similar.

Go drop a pair and practice "boating" with your boat.
Old 02-11-2021, 06:26 AM
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took me a year and over 50 launches with the help of 2 little girls helping their dear old dad launching a boat before I felt confident in doing it myself.
Old 02-11-2021, 06:40 AM
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Watch Youtube videos for launching, retrieving, backing up a trailer, etc. Plenty of info out there and it helps to visualize and mentally know what you're trying to do before you have the pressure of the boat ramp/storage facility in real life.
Old 02-11-2021, 06:42 AM
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The best way to get great at it is to go do it.

For launching, start with a checklist. Drain plug, trailer straps, safety chain, engine trim, engine keys, battery switch on, ropes tied to cleats, etc.
Back trailer in until top of fender is even with surface of water. If that works....do it every time. If not, adjust as you get better. Some of the worst experiences loading/launching is due to trailer not deep enough or too deep.
If launching by yourself, get a trailer ladder for the front of the boat. Back the boat in to the right depth. Tie front cleat to trailer winch stand with a rope. Unlatch winch strap. Climb over the front and go start motor. Walk up and unloop rope from the trailer winch stand. Back the boat off the trailer and move it over to the dock and tie up out of the way. Go park truck/trailer.
If you don't have a GPS/Chartplotter with depth.....get one. This will help you from going in a shallow area that you shouldn't.

Get the manual for your boat. Read it.

In your spare time....get on this forum and click "New Posts". Read them all. Do this frequently. Even if it isn't related to your boat or how you use yours. Read it anyway. Learn.
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Old 02-11-2021, 08:22 AM
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Good advice so far. I uncover/launch/retrieve my 22 footer regularly alone (or with useless passengers). One thing I don't think has been mentioned is getting a cover that is easy on/easy off. A previous boat I owned required a solid 15-25 minutes to remove or install the cover. Current cover can be removed in 5 minutes and put back on in 10-15.

Also install a backup camera on your tow vehicle if you don't already have one. Makes hooking up to the trailer a much easier process.
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Old 02-11-2021, 08:46 AM
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YouTube, YouTube, YouTube. Thereís some great stuff on there for learning to boat. We all have to start somewhere. My lessons were hard learned as a stubborn 23 year old. Back then, my wife or friends would help me launch my little 20í sea pro. Now we have 2 little ones, and a much bigger boat, so when itís just the family, I have to do everything my self. YouTube has some awesome tips for launching alone. When you start your day, slow down and enjoy it. Itís part of the process.
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Old 02-11-2021, 09:12 AM
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During the busier months, I'd probably forego the cover.

Look into a slip, wet or dry if you want to increase your time on board.

Never had any trouble launching pretty much any boat by myself, so long as I was willing to get wet up to my knees. With current boat, no wet feet needed.
Old 02-11-2021, 09:55 AM
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Default Practice a lot

Tow your boat and trailer to a big empty parking lot and spend HOURS practicing backing it up into a variety of spots (near a curb, between cones, etc). Practice going on and out of your driveway as well. On a weekday, when the boat ramp is used less, launch your boat and then load it back on to the trailer until it becomes second nature. Doing it over and over again gives you more opportunities to find potential issues and also gives you confidence. YouTube videos, boating forums, Google searches, and asking other boaters that arenít busy helps. Listen, ask questions, and give their advice a try if it makes sense. And donít forget to have fun.
Old 02-11-2021, 09:58 AM
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I have problems getting my boat on the trailer. I have watched youtube videos. I think I was putting my trailer too deep. I think I have to leave the bunks out of the water some and then motor up onto the trailer. I just bought my first boat in December.
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