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Old December 5th 03, 07:45 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

I don't mean to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, but I always
enjoy a good ramp story. (I can usually identify.) Sitting around inside
with snow on my covered boat, I need something boat related to think about
till next spring.


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Old December 5th 03, 08:10 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

I don't have specific story but enjoy watching the activities at a regional
launch ramp.

I spent a total of about 30 days at anchor near this ramp during the summer.

I think the most entertaining are watching people attempt to get their boats
on or off their trailers when the tide is out, beyond the end of the paved

Also I enjoy noting the different ways people go about keeping their feet
from getting wet.. The cleverest would be the fellow with a Suburban. This
fellow has backed down until the rear wheels are completely submerged
(remind me not to buy a used Suburban with a trailer hitch). He climbs over
the seats and out the back door to operate the winch from the rear bumper.
Did the same thing on recovery.

My opinion and experience. FWIW

s/v Good Intentions

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Old December 5th 03, 08:29 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

This link will get you a few stories... enjoy.
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Old December 5th 03, 09:19 PM
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Default Where to find ramp stories?;f=23
or shorter:

"designo" t, when replying, remove the space wrote in
message ...
I don't mean to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, but I always
enjoy a good ramp story. (I can usually identify.) Sitting around inside
with snow on my covered boat, I need something boat related to think about
till next spring.


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Old December 5th 03, 09:19 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

Here is a non wrapping version of url:

"CCred68046" wrote in message
This link will get you a few stories... enjoy.

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Old December 5th 03, 09:52 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

"Steve" wrote in message
I don't have specific story but enjoy watching the activities at a

launch ramp.

I spent a total of about 30 days at anchor near this ramp during the


I think the most entertaining are watching people attempt to get their

on or off their trailers when the tide is out, beyond the end of the paved

Was at a ramp eating lunch when these 4 (Very Large) guys came by with a ~17
footer. They tied a rope to the truck and to the front of the trailer.
Unhooked the trailer from the PU and then pushed the trailer/boat to the top
of the ramp. One guy got in started the engine put it in reverse and the
remaining three "shoved" the boat and trailer down the ramp. When the rope
caught, the boat hit the water, they guy in it gunned it in reverse and away
he went... The three guys pulled the trailer up the ramp, hooked it to the
truck and parked everything. They then ran down jetty next to the ramp and
jumped into the water. They swam to the boat and off they went fishing.
The moral of this story, well when you are launching a 17 foot boat in 10
foot high waves on the west coast of Hawai'i you have got to be creative and
*very fast*... My research professor was sitting there next to me with his
mouth open shaking his head.

true story..


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Old December 5th 03, 10:38 PM
Steve P.
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

Steve P.

"designo" t, when replying, remove the space wrote in
message ...
I don't mean to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, but I always
enjoy a good ramp story. (I can usually identify.) Sitting around inside
with snow on my covered boat, I need something boat related to think about
till next spring.


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Old December 7th 03, 01:45 AM
Gary Warner
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

When I first started hanging around this group...about 1998??....there were
a bunch of boat and ramp stories. I found them entertaining and some of
even instructive on what *not* to do, so I saved 'em. Here they are.
I didn't save the original poster's names.


Boat Stories

One day out at a really busy, crowded reservoir near here, we were ready to
go home. My sister-in-law goes and gets the truck and trailer, but she was
new to backing a trailer (now she's better at it than I am) so it took her a
while to get down the ramp. Meanwhile, four guys with a very sharp, old
Glastron/Carlson jet are also retrieving their boat. They make a few
remarks as to my sis's difficulty, and smartly back their pickup and trailer
in, noisily power load the Carlson, and take blast up the ramp without
anyone hooking up the boat. I watched with some surprise... it was a pretty
steep ramp and I didn't think you could do that. Anyway 10 minutes later we
are putting the boat cover on out in the parking lot, and the
Glastron/Carlson boys are ready to leave. Naturally they want to do it with
as much noise as possible, so the truck driver revs up the truck, dumps the
clutch, and smokes the back tires for a second... and when he got traction,
he pulled the trailer right out from under the boat, which slid a foot or
two on the hot, gravelly asphalt before coming to a shuddering halt.

Dead silence. We all stood and watched while truck-boy ran back to the
boat... picked up the torn-off skeg, and screamed at the top of his lungs as
he hurled the skeg away in despair.

After we took a moment for a hearty laugh at his expense, we helped them
lift the boat and winch it back onto the trailer. What a mess.

10 minutes later, we hear a sickening crunch from the launch ramp. Someone
had backed a chunky Four Winns cuddy down the ramp with the winch cable and
safety chain unsecured (why do people do that?) The Winns slid 1/3 of the
way off the trailer about 10 feet from the water's edge, crunching the
outdrive. With muscle power and the winch we put it back on the trailer
enough for them to get it on the water (I think they were just going to
reposition it on the trailer, not launch it, since we could not get it all
the way forward on the trailer by hand.) I guess sometimes you can back
down the ramp with the boat totally unsecured... and sometimes you can't.

I think after that day I was more tired from lifting boats than skiing.

Moral: Keep boat attached to trailer whenever possible. With redundancy. I
hook/unhook my boat when the trailer is in the water. I don't want to hear
that crunch from MY rig!

I was docking my boat at the marina, and saw my wife was in a struggle with
our 2 year old son, who wanted to climb overboard. Seeing she was in no
position to help, and with a very strong tide pulling at the boat, I decided
to run up onto the bow so I could get on the dock and secure the bowline.
Unfortunately, I didn't see the hatch was open and stepped right into it.
It hurts just remembering it! Now, I will never buy a boat with a sliding
deck hatch!

Of course, I don't think is as bad as when a friend had visibility problems
coming out of Baltimore, going North. He decided to keep land to his port
until Turkey Pt. The plan worked well until he got to Poole's island and
circled it any number of times.

After anchoring out one night on our houseboat, my wife and I decided not to
stay overnight and so headed back in. We passed through the marina's tire
barrier, headed for our dock and just as I started the turn to port to pull
into the slip, the front of the boat started turning to starboard. All of a
sudden, the boat did a complete 180 to starboard and I was facing back out
with no comprehension as to what was happening. It was surreal. The boat
then started going - on its own - back out toward the gap in the tire
barrier and away from the dock. Still really confused, I put her in reverse
and gunned it to try and offset the forward motion. It stopped going forward
but wouldn't turn despite repeated efforts.

Since it was about 11:00pm and I had already made a hell of a racket
running the motor in reverse at high RPMs, I decided to shut it off and try
to paddle back to the dock. As I prepared to paddle, my wife happened to
look over the bow at which time she said, "You dumb (expletive deleted), you
forgot to pull in the anchor!"

We had come all the way back into the marina dragging the anchor tied off on
one of the front cleats. Unbelievably, it did not catch on anything solid
and yank the front off the boat of spin it around at speed. It did, however,
catch on some cables going across the marina bottom and that's what caused
the lack of steering. I'm still amazed that I didn't cause the entire marina
to go dark or pull the tire barrier with me into the docks. I'm admitting to
my stupidity now, but I sure was glad that it was night when this all
happened and there were no witnesses. I wonder how many fish I knocked
unconscious with the anchor on the way back.

(The REALLY stupid thing is that, not having the foggiest idea of what was
causing the boat to drift back out of the marina, the only thing my mind
could come up with was that the Corp of Engineers was letting water out of
the dam at a very fast rate and we were being pulled by the current. Like,
DUH! I made the mistake of voicing that possibility out loud. Big mistake.
It is now my wife's favorite thing to bring up

when we're having a disagreement.)

One morning I'm sitting at the water having the morning coffee. I hear some
fuss next door, and there's one guy standing on the dock, and another in the
water. The guy standing in the water is holding their 1.5hp Johnson while
the other is wrapping the starter cord and pulls. No luck. They fuss with
the motor like that for a while, and just as I was about to gently suggest
the folly of the idea, the little egg-beater caught.

I was certain I was about to witness someone losing part of their legs. The
fellow holding the motor held the thing white-knuckled, spinning like mad in
circles showing me a face of horror every half second. I thought he was
going to drill himself into the lake bottom. The guy on the dock is standing
there holding his head in shock, when the other fellow summons the nerve to
let go.

Well the little kicker headed straight out on it's own for about 150', lost
momentum and sputtering and gurgling, sank in 60' of water.

Lucky fools.

While traveling down the Cooper River in SC, my brother and I spotted large
round fender trapped in a fallen tree. After no little hassle we retrieved
the nasty, slimy treasure. As we were in my new 19 foot runabout I did not
want the thing on my carpet. Ah! We decided to tow it behind the boat at
speed for a while to clean off the muck. We used a three eighths inch,
three strand nylon line about fifty feet long for this purpose. Things went
well until the fender hit a wake and started bouncing. The fender came into
the boat at high speed and wham!, it lodged snugly between the two front
seats. A little to the left or right and it would have taken some one's
head off.

Those lines are springy!

Then there's the time I was running my mouth instead of watching the channel
markers. Man, I didn't know sand could be hard enough to knock an outdrive
completely off a boat, but yes, it can be done. Fortunately it was easy to
get out, stand up and recover the pieces. What a long day that was.

I was out in my fathers 19' tri-hull about 10 years ago with my brother, his
girlfriend, my buddy and his girlfriend. We were out for a night need to look at the charts....right. Huh, what was that? Did
we just hit something? we slid onto the well charted shallows of
the Hingham Weir River. After 45 minutes of rocking and reversing, cursing,
and listening to my friends girlfriend panicking whether or not we were
going to make it through the night (she was a bit dramatic at times). I
gave up and said we are just going to have to wait a couple hours for the
tide to come in. So I ask my brother for a soda out of the cooler. He
walks to my end of the boat.....and we float off. Sigh ! ! !

I was out skiing with some friends, and we had to stop the boat for a while
to pull one skier out and throw another in. We put one girl in charge of
watching the shore and keeping us off of it (we didn't bother to tell her
that the proper way to do this was to idle forward and steer away). Well,
something delayed the skier's entry into the water, and we drifted close
enough to shore that the girl at the helm began to get nervous. She decided
that it was time to move, so VROOM! She puts the boat in full reverse in
order to back away from shore. We did move backward, right over the ski
rope. The entire length wrapped around the prop, and we were stranded.
Luckily, there were enough strong swimmers on the boat, and we were pretty
close to our dock, so we could swim our faithful scow back to be unraveled.

If it makes you feel any better my brother and a friend rented a 14'
aluminum fishing boat on a small lake, found a good spot on the far side and
fished there all day. When the time came to return they managed to get to
within about 100' of the rental place before realizing why the 9.9 outboard
was so much more "gutless" then they'd remembered it being on the way out.
You guessed it...more anchor-trollers. They did a graceful arc in their
course and retrieved the anchor rather then just pulling up to the dock and
anchoring there. :-)

When I was about 10 years old, my grandfather (a man I worshipped and still
do) took me fishing up the "Inlet" of Owasco Lake. He lived in the SE
corner of it on the inlet end. The "Inlet", to a 10 yr old, was like going
up into the Amazon River. It's heavy swamp land sliced in two by the
lake-filled river which feeds the whole valley (glacial) in the Finger Lakes
of Upstate NY. The depth is about 20-30 ft, a vast crevasse to a 10 yr old.
I loved the seclusion and great wildlife we always saw up there. The river
very lazily coasted into the lake-filled swamp with hardly any current you
could see, except during the spring snow melt floods.

We got to one of Grandpa's favorite fishin' holes. He stopped the motor and
ordered me, his only crewmember totally obedient to his every command, to
throw the anchor overboard. I did.

Too bad there was no ROPE attached to said anchor! The anchor was, of
course, 3 weeks old and in brand-new condition. As soon as I threw it
overboard I knew I'd just done the stupidest thing of my short life. I
looked at him and started to cry in frustration. I never feared him. He
was my best friend! Grandpa's shocked look broke into a wide grin, then
into a REAL belly whopper of a laugh I'm SURE they could hear back at
Southeast on Owasco 3 miles away! He was laughing so hard he couldn't start
the motor! His laughing started MY laughing. We were STILL laughing by the
time we reached his dock many hours later with the usual 3 stringers of
Owasco's finest fish to clean. My grandmother scolded him for letting me
drink from his flask of George Dickle he invariably carried "to keep warm".
We never drank a drop. We were LAUGHING TOO HARD!

He told this story, over and over and over, until he died. It seemed every
time we went fishing, he would make me DOUBLECHECK the anchor lines, which
would of course start the laughing spells all over again!

I sure miss that old V-bottom 12' aluminum boat, the old Blue Evinrude that
took us there......and that old man, laughing at my stupidity.....

Ok, I'll admit it, I've run with the anchor still out, ONCE! This was back
in my outboard days. I had a bunch of friends out, and they were very
distracting. In my distraction, I forgot about the anchor. We took off, and
the next thing I know this "thing" surfaces and jumps out of the water off
the starboard beam like a fish jumping out of water. Then I hear a few
impacts under the hull, then the same jumping out of water over at the port
side. I realized what happened and stopped the boat and retrieved the
anchor. Feeling dumb was only made worse when I saw the fiberglass gouges
that were made by the anchor on the boat bottom, when I hauled the boat out
at the end of the day. My first experience with gelcoat patch.....

Over the weekend, while out fishing with a buddy of mine, we stopped back at
the marina to get a soda and something to eat. While we were outside on the
patio, we were watching all the people at the boat ramp.

Here comes a family of people with an old boat. I mean OLD BOAT. It looked
like an old 1964 15 footer with an equally old Evinrude outboard. This poor
old boat looked like it hasn't been in the water in 10 years. It had
settled and "stuck" to the trailer rollers and wouldn't come loose. So, the
old man (Grandpa) takes the Chevy pickup and drives the truck and the boat
back up the ramp. Then floors it in reverse until the trailer wheels are in
the water, then slams on the brakes and skids the truck almost in the water
too! Get this: The boat still didn't come off the trailer!

Finally, the whole family got in the water and started rocking the boat side
to side until it finally broke free and floated. Man, I wish I had a video
camera. It was classic. My buddy and I were cracking up!

While still on the upper part of a steep ramp in the North Carolina
highlands, boat still on the trailer, a family of 5 climbed into their 18'
bow rider and prepared to launch. Daddy, began to back the trailer towards
the water when he suddenly jammed on the brakes. You can guess what
happened next. The boat slid off the trailer until the back of the boat
contacted the concrete ramp. What does Daddy do next? He must have thought
that if he pulled forward, he could start all over. Next thing you know, a
very surprised and confused group of 5 are sitting in their now canted boat,
which is, of course, fully on the concrete.

A few years ago I was at Fishhook Park on the Snake River. I watched as a
nice new Dodge Ram back a trailer with about a 21' outdrive toward the ramp.
Things were going pretty well, except that he'd made a few mistakes along
the way.

Mistake #1 - 2" hitch, 1 7/8" hitch ball.

Mistake #2 - no safety chains.

Mistake #3 - had the outdrive lowered before launching.

The hitch popped off the ball just as he started down the ramp, followed by
a series of loud ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk, all the way down the ramp.
Each "ka-chunk" was the sound of the SS prop digging into the rough-finished
concrete of the ramp. By the time he'd gotten out of the truck, the boat and
trailer were in the water and starting to drift away from the ramp area.

He managed to get the trailer hooked back up to his truck and took off
without even bothering to assess the damage. About all I can say is, my
father is a retired old-Navy Boatswain's Mate, and, until that day, I'd
thought I'd already heard all the cuss-words that existed...

Bubba, wife and kids show up at steep launch ramp in Ford pickup towing
Allison river racer powered by big 300hp Merc outboard. Bubba unstraps back
of Allison, gets in boat and wife backs boat down ramp looking out open
driver's window.

As soon as boat touches water, Bubba starts noisy engine up and races it for
effect for those of us watching from restaurant. With truck in position,
Bubba backs down big Merc. Boat doesn't move. Bubba increases reverse
throttle. Boat doesn't move. Bubba RACES engine locked down in
reverse...HARD! Big engine with superprop drags trailer and attached pickup
truck down steep ramp sliding tires on wet concrete. Soon as water gets
near cab of pickup, Mom panics! Mom jumps out of truck, releasing only
brake holding truck to ramp! Truck and trailer back SWIFTLY down ramp into
deep water. On dock, we hear huge 460 cube Ford V-8 take its first, and
last, breath of river water.

As boat is STILL ATTACHED to trailer by big black webbing strap and safety
chain hook on bow, weight of trailer and now-flooded truck pulls bow of boat
underwater, causing huge Mercury Black Max to become airborne horizontally
about 8' in the air. Bubba jumps for his life over top of submerged truck.
As engine is STILL running in reverse about 2/3 throttle, engine with no
load meets rev limiter making an AWFUL RACKET! Unable to get to throttle,
Bubba watches in awe as uncooled $14,000 Mercury race engine finally seizes
in an instant in an awful "CRUNCH" as hot pistons weld themselves to hot
cylinder walls breaking crank bearings, connecting rods, etc., in crankcase.

The COMPLETE SILENCE is AWESOME! Of the 40 people watching this drama, not
ONE uttered a SINGLE WORD for many minutes. As shock wears off, first words
we hear comes from Bubba who starts screaming at wife for LETTING OFF OF THE

Crowd then ROARS in laughter, emptying restaurant of patrons to see $30K
Allison race boat sticking stern up from mysterious anchor holding bow
underwater.....just enough so not to sink it.

Last week I show up at Burt Renolds (yeah "The Bandit", he's a big deal
around here) Park to pick up the Old Man, Mr. Colecchio. There's a Town of
Jupiter cruiser parked behind a hot rod tunnel hull blocking the ramp.

The Old Man comes over and say's "This poor SOB.., you've gotta see this." .
So after I do the pre-launch on the Silver Dawn , I walk over to see why
this guy's blocking the ramp. The tunnel has the cover still on it and a
nifty 200 Black Max on a jack plate... sans lower unit.

Seems the guy left the storage yard w/o checking the boat. A big suprise. I
really felt bad for the guy. Anybody order a new lower unit for a hot rod
Merc from So. Fl. lately?

Here's one I remember- one sunny summer weekend a few years ago at the
western ramps at Farrington Point, Jordan Lake, NC. These ramps have no
dock, and are very popular 'cuz they're free (other launch ramps at
JordanLake charge $4). Naturally there was a line of people waiting to
launch or retrieve boats, and one guy with a large impressive bass-hunter
boat drops off his buddy to get the truck and then backs away. Meanwhile
there are perhaps five or six other boats hanging around and a line of
traffic in the parking lot.

Mr Bass Hunter gets bored sitting still, so he is vrooming around in the
crowd, occasionally getting yelled at about the "No Wake" zone. Finally he
gets the point and begins idling. This is almost as boring as sitting still,
so he decides to hunt for something in one of the boats lockers (boat still
in gear, at idle). Near collision with other waiting boat draws more yells!
So he decides to put the helm hard over so the boat will just circle and he
won't have to watch where he's going. Wheel won't stay hard over. Another
near collison! He gets a short piece of rope and TIES the steering wheel
hard over. Problem solved! Now he begins rummaging around in that locker in
earnest, head down inside the boat. Other boats are warily keeping out of
the way now, so he rummages happily free from interruptions, also unaware
that his boat is not circling in place.

His boat is slowly circling closer and closer to shore, where a poor guy has
the bad luck to have backed his car & trailer down the ramp, wheels just in
the water but rear bumper out over the water, just as this circling boat
reaches it's point of closest approach. Mr Bass Hunter's boat hits not the
other boat, or it's trailer, but the CAR! Slam-Bang! Dented car, busted
tail-light. Lots of yelling! Mr Bass Hunter yanks his head out of the
locker, and tries to grab the steering wheel- no good, it's tied. His bow
has now bounced off the car and is wedged against the other guys trailer. Mr
Bass Hunter then yanks his throttle into reverse, and the boat jerks a few
times, then frees itself, only to back up onto the nearby gravelly beach.
Ouch goes the propeller! Motor stalls and won't restart- can you blame it?
Boat drifts out into deeper water.

Now Mr Bass Hunter's buddy is on the ramp with the trailer. He calls out,
not eager to waste time as there is a line of other people waiting. Somebody
has mercy on Mr Bass Hunter and tows him toward the ramp, where he and his
buddy have a hard time getting the boat to go on the trailer straight with
the motor jammed hard a-port (wheel still tied), and strain the patience of
everybody behind them winching it all the way up

(they don't know how to do this properly as they've apparently always
power-loaded). They drive away, helm still lashed.

It still makes me laugh to remember these guys, and to wonder if they
managed to outwit any fish?

Take me, for example: I actually did this, and I'm grown-up enough to laugh
at myself. I packed up the boat at home (back when I lived in town), in the
driveway, charged the battery, hooked up the trailer, made sandwiches, etc.
Bought ice for the ice chests and fish boxes, loaded up all the fishing
gear, which I had stayed up late the night before filling with fresh line.

A couple of friends came over, ready for a GREAT day out on the lake, as
they were non-boaters. Finally we hit the road, towing the boat about 45
miles, stopping to buy more food and sunblock and about $15 worth of live

The ramp is a traffic jam, we wait for 20 minutes before finding an opening.
Finally, we back the 3,000 pound load slowly into the water. My friends are
so excited their eyes are bugging out. As the trailer goes into the water
and into position, I put the truck in Park and stomp on the parking brake,
and as I push the door open and start to walk back to back the boat off the
trailer, a cold, chilling, shiver of realization sweeps up my spine: I left
the boat keys at home.

You know some of you people I swear!!! I've never done that!! Well ok maybe
I have once, or maybe twice. BUT to date I have never forgotten the drain
plug, stern straps or bow hook.

I have worked on my boat for an hour because it wouldn't start only to
realize it wasn't in neutral. Fortunately it was in a slip at the time so I
didn't take up space at the ramp.

After towing 50 miles, we were ALL set to go, the boat was off the trailer
and in the water, loaded to the gunwales, everybody bouncing up and down in
excitement... and it wouldn't start. Absolutely dead. Faces fell, chests
heave with enormous sighs of disappointment. Oh, Lord, how horrible it was.
I wanted to tie a rock around my neck and jump into the lake.

We loaded it back up onto the trailer, hauled it all back home, and
attempted to be good-humored about it all. "Hey, it's not your fault, it's
some kinda mechanical problem..."

And then... horror spreads over my face as I realize... the line had slipped
off the kill switch. But hey.. I never did tell them, I kept it a secret and
saved face!

One day we are going to hit the lake, and I show up at his house a little
late. He is outside, with the wife, waiting for me, acting like he had been
ready for hours. We got about 2 blocks, and after stopping at the first red
light, we took off, only to notice that the boat was no longer behind us!
The guy had forgotten the trailer tongue pins. :-) Safety chains don't
help much in that situation!

I remember my first misfortune. I was 17 and had just restored the family
boat, a '75 model Galaxy TriHull, which my Dad, and all of his brothers had

It was my first outing since the restoration, and I had invited two of the
best looking chics in school to go out with us. (big mistake) I launched,
got just past the no-wake zone (about 150 ft. from shore) and threw the old
85hp outboard into reverse to spin the moss off that you collect when
launching at my ramp. Well, when a prop spins in reverse, it pulls away
from the boat, and (as I found out) if you don't have a prop nut installed,
you don't have a prop for much longer! What an embarrassing
swim/pull-the-boat-back-to-shore-with-a-rope-thru-the-moss that was!!!! The
girls promptly split upon reaching shore. :-(

Relax Sharkey, I actually used to help some people. The last time was some
numbnuts with his brand new used trailer that couldn't get his boat on
straight. He would put the boat on nice and straight, but the last two or
three feet, the back end would kick out and put a port list on the boat. he
would pull it out of the water, look, and drop it back in. He did this 4 of
5 times until we couldn't take any more.

Me and two other dockmates went over, looked at the situation and old the
guy that the rollers needed to be adjusted to fit his hull. We then pushed,
pulled and tugged the boat on straight so the guy could get off the ramp and
let others entertain us. The guy looks at the boat / trailer for a little
while and as we were walking away, proceeds to put the boat BACK IN THE
WATER!!! I guess it still wasn't straight enough.

To make a short story even longer, this bozo entertained us for almost two
hours....Put the boat on, pull it out, look at it, put it back in, put the
boat on, pull it out, look at it, put it back in, put the boat on, .......

I had just taken a new female friend, her 2 kids and my 2 kids out for the
day on the lake. All went well until I go to pull the boat out of the
water. I am driving my company truck(a manual trans. Mazda b2000 or
something like that), and the clutch had been going. Well I begin pulling
up the steep ramp and have to ease out the clutch, but the boat isn't coming
out as fast as it usually does. Well, I am gunning it now and smoke pours
out from under the truck, but darnit, I'm gonna make it. All of a sudden I
hear a knock at the passenger window, and see a frantic looking man
motioning me to roll down the window. I roll it down and take my foot off
the gas so I can hear him, He waits for the smoke to clear and then calmly
asks me if I think it might be advisable to raise the outdrive before I plow
a trench ALL the way up the ramp.

That was just as bad as when I DID forget to install the plugs on the other

List of dumb things I have done "at the ramp" over the years:

1) Left out drain plug

2) Didn't remove safety chain

3) Tried to launch boat without unstrapping transom tie-downs

4) Started engine with drive still in Trailer position

5) Left 1/2 of skeg on pavement by leaving drive down when pulling out.

6) Fell in between boat and dock after doing 4ft splits between both.

7) Left electric brakes "on" and wondered why my Suburban couldn't pull the

250DA up the ramp.

8) Left electric brakes plugged in with trailer in water.

9) Ruined two SS Mirage props "driving" my 250DA on to the trailer

My brother and I had just pulled his 21' Wellcraft out of the water, but
didn't hook up the transom tie-downs because the ramp was very busy, and we
wanted to clear it for other people. As we were accelerating to leave the
ramp, his Suburban stalled and lurched forward. The boat slid forward, the
winch post gave way, and the bow of the b at went right through the rear
door glass.

A friend of mine that I work with, who lives 4 hours away, was a little
upset because his wife had just left him the weekend before. Lets call him
JT. He decided to buy a PWC, and put in the back of his Nissan truck and
drive it down for Memorial weekend to try it out for the first time. He
tried to get a bunch of us at work to go out with him, but everyone else
already had places to go. He decided to take the PWC out by himself. He

launched it with no problem, but when it came time to get it out, he had a
little problem.

He tried to get it in the back of the truck, but could not lift it himself,
so he kept backing the truck into the water at the ramp. He went back so
far that the computer under his seat got wet and killed the motor.

At this point he got a hold of one of his work buddies, who comes out to
give him a hand, let's call him Red. Red's not real bright, but is always
willing. He jumps in his van and drives out to the boat ramp. By the time
Red gets out to the ramp, JT has managed to get the PWC in the back of the
half swamped truck, and strapped it down. Red gets there and assesses the
situation, and figures he's got to get the truck out of the water. Red
looks around for a towrope, but the best he can come up with is a luggage
strap. He ties the luggage strap to the front of the half swamped truck,
and to the back of his van and starts pulling the truck out of the water.
Red thought that JT was going to stay in his truck, but JT got worried about
his new PWC, and jumped out to make sure it was going to stay in the bed of
the truck. Just as JT is behind his truck, and the truck is quite a ways up
the ramp, the luggage strap breaks. The truck lurches back, and JT is able
to get out of it's way.

The truck gains some speed and hits the water at the end of the ramp, but
instead of sinking, it floats! In fact it floats out 100 yards or so from
the ramp before it sinks!!

At this point, Red calls his other buddy, lets call him RB, who lives only 2
miles from the ramp. By the time RB gets there, the police are also there.
RB walks up to a cop that he knows, thinking that everything is OK because
he doesn't see any problems and is wondering where the truck and PWC are.
The Cop shines his flashlight out on the water, and shows RB the buoy 100
yards out from shore, which is actually the front of the PWC bobbing up to
the surface, still attached to the truck which is now on the bottom.

RB, knowing the cop starts telling him about how JT's wife had just left him
(another long story), and talks the cops and the local Fire Dept divers to
use this as a training rescue. They eventually get the truck out and the
PWC after they dive on it for an hour or so.

Ends up the truck is totaled, but the PWC was fine and no one was hurt
(Except for JT's pride).

Monterey Breakwater launch ramp. These guys show up with a really beat up
old boat sitting on what is clearly a new homebuilt trailer (new paint, bad
paint job, UGLY welds). The bow of the boat is sitting about six inches
from the tail gate of their pickup. They are clearly going to get the truck
salty. A big one comes in and picks up the back of the truck -- it's just
floating. They were very lucky the driver had his foot on the brakes -- if
it had just been on the hand brake, it would have rolled back in to the
ocean when the back got lifted up.

Story #2:

I'd read on a can of silicone spray that putting it on the bunks would make
it easier to load the boat (I don't have rollers). So while we were off on a
water-ski weekend, I sprayed down the bunks. Next Friday the ocean goes
flat, so I take a day of vacation to go diving. I'm backing down the ramp
and stop to take the safety chain off and there's a big noise. The boat had
slid to the end of the safety chain. The silicone worked. BTW, with the
silicone, I stop about three feet shorter on the ramp to load and unload.
The back tires of the truck don't even get wet.

OK, here's my "reverse" drain plug story. We were leaving a lake in Texas in
a rainstorm. My friend had his aluminum boat trailed behind him, and I was
on a motorcycle (great run in the rain.) He was following me, and an hour or
so later, we came to a stop sign at an intersection. I was watching him come
up behind me, and noticed he wasn't slowing down much. Thinking he must be
messing with the radio or something, I got the hell out of the way as he
went right through the intersection! Noticed he was skidding and fishtailing
a little... When he finally stopped I went up to him, and as he got out, we
noticed the boat was full of water! His dad, being ever helpful, had put the
drain plug BACK IN after my friend had pulled the boat up the ramp and
gotten it all ready to go home! The weight of the water made him almost
unable to stop on the wet road. Good thing I was looking!

Today, it was tempting to be the bad Samaritan.

I agreed to help the new owners of a 50 footer move their boat up the sound
to Everett. They had never been through the locks and were reluctant to try
maneuvering into their boathouse. WITTMAD (whatever it takes to make a

Off we go in the first day of fall. Since it's Seattle, we celebrate the
first day of fall with a drenching rainstorm. It wouldn't do to let the
opportunity pass for a little autumn rain. New owner asks me to run the boat
until we're well out into open water. No problem.

Trip starts flawlessly. We arrive at the small locks to be at the head of
the waiting pier, and only have to wait about 15 minutes for an inbound
locking to complete and our outbound opportunity to arise. We power in and
make fast, and we're joined by a small Nordic tug astern and a 25 foot sloop
of some sort abeam to port. The sloop is powered by an outboard motor,
sitting in an outboard well in the cockpit.

After the drop down to current tidelevel on the sal****er side, the
lockmaster signals the sloop to release the bow and then the stern line. Ok,
fine. Only problem was that the outboard wasn't running when they cast
loose. There's a strong "downstream" current running out of the locks and
the little blowboat drifted out between the lock walls without benefit of
any power. The Head Rag Bender In Charge was pulling like crazy on the
starting rope, but to no avail. We're next in line to exit the locks.

"Uh," said the lock attendant, " would you mind throwing that guy a line
when you get out there and tow him to a dock or something before he gets
himself in real trouble?" "No problem," says I, "If he's not underway by
the time we get out there we'll take him in tow." Wouldn't 99% of us have
done exactly the same thing?

We power out past the bulkheads and into the strong current from the dam at
the locks. The sailors are still unable to start the outboard. "Are you
underway?" I asked. "Negative" responds the superior being (certain sailors
often consider themselves to be such, you know).

"Toss us a bowline and we'll take you in tow!" Well, duh. The bowline is a
snarled up mess that will take two chimpanzees and a diagram to unscramble.
"Would you like us to throw you a line instead?" I asked. "No, we want to
use our line!" insisted the sailor.

The current finally caught the sailboat and he is running broadside toward a
row of piling that flank a dangerously shoal area. One of the sailors is
doing an Indian Rope trick with the bow line. The other is asking the
Houdini wanna-be which way to move the tiller.

"You're likely to run aground pretty soon!" I called out. "How quickly can
you get us that line?" "Does it look like I'm not trying?" said the sailor
in a condescending tone.

Meanwhile, things have gotten just a bit hairy. The outbound traffic from
the locks isn't giving our little carnival any slack what-so-ever, nor is
the inbound traffic. The sailboat is sideways in the current, I'm working
the transmissions to keep the big butt boat from doing likewise and yet
still have us in position to assist Sailbad the Sinner. Do any of the other
boats in the area back off and give us an inch? Heck no.

At long last something resembling the bitter end of the bowline is tossed to
the new owner of the 50 footer back in the cockpit, he makes it fast to
cleat and indicates that it's ok to get underway. Before we can even begin
to take up any of the slight slack from the line, the sailboat arrives
broadside against the pilings.

"Hey!" calls the assisted sailor. "What do you think you're doing? Look what
you made me do! I hit the damn piling! You should have hit the throttle hard
enough to keep me off! My boat's dinged and it's your fault!"

Well, let's review he sailboat casts off of lock wall without engine
running. Get's into a difficult current situation. Spends 10 times too much
time getting a bowline available for towing. (engine and rest of vessel not
ready for sea, obviously). Neighboring boater offers to pull butt out of
sling, and is blamed when the blow boat bangs a piling.

For one moment I considered being the bad Samaritan. Since the ingrate
obviously felt he was far worse off with assistance than he would have been
pinballing down the rest of the waiting wall beyond the first encountered
piling, maybe it would be better to just cast his smart mouth loose and let
him figure things out for himself?

The fickle finger of fate supplied a timely answer. Not only was the bowline
a neglected and convoluted mess, it turned out to be fairly rotten as well
and snapped like a kite tring after about 50 yards of towing. Still, we
couldn't just leave him to his just deserts. This time we insisted that he
take our line, and we proceeded toward Shilshole Marina on a slow bell.

On the sailboat, Laurel is using the tiller to keep the disabled craft
reasonably centered in our rippling wake while Hardy is still yanking on the
starter rope. "Hey, if you get that thing to start, don't put it in gear
with this tow line out!" I called back. "I don't want to pick up a slack
line in the props!" The sailor yanking the outboard rope looks up and says
with an acid and derisive tone, "Just because my motor won't run doesn't
mean that I don't know how to boat!"

He was right. The fact that his motor wasn't running had no direct bearing
on the fact that he doesn't know how to boat.

We got the SV Pistoff to the guest dock at Shilshole and left them to their
own devices.

I think it was my commitment to the guy on the wall at the locks. I agreed
to tow the sailors out of harm's way. If it hadn't been for that one thing,
when the smart mouth ingratitude began it would have been really really
really easy to be the bad Samaritan and cut him loose.

  #9   Report Post  
Old December 7th 03, 01:47 AM
Gary Warner
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

when you are launching a 17 foot boat in 10
foot high waves...

You are crazy.

  #10   Report Post  
Old December 8th 03, 08:40 PM
Rod McInnis
Posts: n/a
Default Where to find ramp stories?

A couple of weeks ago I watched an operation that I still haven't figured
out. Maybe someone else knows what was going on....

This takes place on the California Delta, near Stockton, at a marina called
"Tiki Lagun". It somehow involves a well known party spot called "Lost
Isle", which is an island bar located about two miles by boat from the
marina. These events occurred a few days before Thanksgiving, just before

It first caught my attention when a small, low profile ski boat, minus
engined, arrived at the launch ramp. Two guys back the trailer down to the
water and then seem to be having trouble getting the boat off the trailer.
I was surprised it didn't float off, considering it had no engine. On
closer look I could see that the rear tie downs were still attached so I
hollar across to them:

"The tie downs are still on!"

"Yeah, we know" was the response.

Okay. Now I am confused.

They are strugging some more, doing something up at the bow, trying to lift
the bow up. Then they pull the rig up a little bit (the water is COLD and
they didn't want to get wet) and then they lift the trailer off the ball of
the truck, and then pull the truck up the ramp a bit. Then they push the
trailer/boat as far down the ramp as they could.

My curiosity got the better of me.

"May I ask what you are doing?"

"Oh, we are dumb blonds" was the reply.

Then one of the guys got on a PWC tied to the dock, donned a life jacket (no
wet suit or anything), the other threw him a rope tied to the bow of the
boat and he proceeded to pull the rig off the ramp, floating the trailer
under the ramp. As he passed by where I was watching, he said that he was
taking it to Lost Isle.

The best I can come up with is that they need a trailer at Lost Isle. Lost
Isle doesn't have a boat ramp however. They have a beach, so I suppose that
they could get a small boat up the beach that way. Assuming that they have
some valid reason to have a trailer on a small island, floating it under a
boat seems like an okay way of getting it there. There were at least two
mistakes that I thought they were making, however.

1) This happened on what may have been the coldest day of the year. The PWC
driver was not wearing a wet suit. The PWC did not appear that stable, and
he was towing a rig that out weighed him. With the trailer underneath the
boat, it was not stable at anything above dead slow, where the PWC is NOT

2) It was just getting dark, and there were no lights whatsoever on either
vessel. They were traveling down a fairly busy and narrow channel.

I am still curious why they wanted a trailer at Lost Isle, and then what
they did with the boat afterwards.....

Rod McInnis

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