If this is your first time launching a boat, don’t add to the pressure of the day by not being familiar with driving and reversing your boat trailer. Go to a large empty car park and practice reversing. Don’t expect to be a pro at backing a boat trailer when you haven’t done it before. Your preparation and experience will pay off with time.

If you are using your local boat ramp and the carpark is full of empty trailers, you can safely assume that there are no problems with the ramp. But if you are on holiday at an unfamiliar ramp that doesn’t look like anyone has used it today, it’s best to check it out before you back the trailer down. If you are a novice, it can be helpful to watch other boats being launched to get an idea of the depth and water flow on the ramp. 

Find the right low gear on your car and start reversing down the ramp. Some skippers prefer to use neutral so they can quickly put it in gear and drive forward if something goes wrong while reversing. Use all your car’s mirrors and apply the brakes gently. Use small steering adjustments as you back the trailer down.

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