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With any luck I will soon find the boat I am looking for, and will be making my first boat launch. A little searching on this site uncovered lots of good pointers on do's and don'ts for rookie boat owners.

Does anyone have some suggestions for low traffic boat launches in the Portland area for this time of year. The Columbia River is my target fishing grounds. (I was thinking about Sauvie Island.)

I really don't want to be "that guy" who chokes on the boat ramp and builds up a long line of angry boaters.
 

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Been boating for a couple years now and I launch by myself all the time. During the spring I use Catherdal Park under the St. Johns bridge all the time.

Know your routine, launch safely, quickly part your rig and go fish.

Don't worry 'bout "angry fisher", they just think they're special, you have the same right to the ramp/river as they do.
 

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Hi,

A good first launch was is at Chinook Landing or Cathedral Park. They have giant excellent condition ramps, nice docks etc... If you are worried about people complaining, have no fear, ignore them, and concentrate on what you are doing.

Cathedral costs, but Cathedral is free!

MGM
 

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rustyl - After you get the boat, find a large empty parking lot (school, dead Home Base, etc). Take a bunch of cardbaord boxes with something to weight them down and set them up to form a lane about the width of a boat launch. Now pull in front of them until the rig is straight and practice backing through them. When you are feeling good at that, try pulling perpendicular to them and making a 90 degre turn backing between them. Keep practicing until you get an idea of what it takes to correct the all akimbo.

This will save embarrassment at the ramp.
 

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Akimbo. Now that is a great word.

Use the mirrors not the over the shoulder method. Turn the bottom of the steering wheel the direction you want the trailer to go.

It takes a bit of practice to see when the boat is turning and how much. But the Home Depot thing is a perfect place to learn.

As far as ramps go, look around Sauvies Island. Fairly quiet there, especially in the late afternoons.

Mark and the dog.
 

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Flatfish is right, don't be one of those people who have to drop their tailgate or open the back door to their SUV to back their trailer down the ramp. Practice until you are only using your mirrors. You will never be great at backing a trailer unless you can back something up with your mirrors. You don't need to have this down before you ever launch your boat, but it will make you overall better at manuvering your boat trailer.
 

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I have launched for a few years now and I have always put my tailgate down and looked behind me. I can back my boat down level and straight every time with no problem what so ever even on a very busy ramp with lots of pressure. I just whip foward turn my head back and it's good to go every time. My question is why is using your mirrors more effective in the long run for boat launching for the inexperienced launcher I think looking back is better and much easier? Not a flame just a question thanks for a reply. I would be willing to try my mirrors if this would help me launching my boat in the long run.
 

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When I first got my boat, I took a test ride out with the salesman. He told me to use the mirrors to back down the ramp. I tried it, but found it awkward and wasn't too successful. Now I just look over the shoulder and find it's a piece of cake and feels more natural for me. It works for me, so I guess you just have to try both to see what works for you :wink:
 

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Got Fish,

I think the key point Mr. Carp is making is that learning to use your mirrors will make you "overall better at maneuvering your boat trailer" and that it is something you should work on to become more proficient at backing your rig. It's sort of like moving up to the next level.

It helps you in future situations where you may not be able to look back: such as the back window is dirty or fogged (especially in the dark), you buy a camper or RV and can't look back, or if your boat gets to a certain size all you will see is its bow when you look back and you have no idea where the trailer is going.

Being able to back with only your mirrors really gives you more confidence in handling your rig. I believe it gives you more control of your vehicle (and less neck strain) as you don't have to twist body parts while backing.

There is nothing wrong with dropping the tailgate and looking back. I used to back that way. It is a technique that works in many situations, but not all. From my observations most people who have become very good at backing a rig in any conditions, knowing the size of their rig, and knowing how their rig handles use their mirrors. Watch a good semi driver back into a loading dock, he only has the option of using his mirrors.

I truthfully don't care how a person backs as long as they can back effectively, move with a purpose, and are considerate of others.
 

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rustyl,

I got my first trailer boat last year. To practice, I went to Chinook landing during the week in the middle of the day to practice.

Ramps are great, no current and protected from the wind.

Of course, the first time I launched, I wasn't in far enough, hopped in the truck, and backed in some more...and there goes the boat!

Yo!

Go running down the trailer...into the water...standing on the very end of the trailer, up to my neck in water and just grab the edge of the boat. It looked like one of those Crazy Kat cartoons where the the kat is stretched out and then falls off the cliff.

Killed the cell phone in my pocket.

Practice, practice, practice.

Brion
 

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Go Fish,

Sooner or later you will be in a situation where you can't open the doors/ drop the tailgate. Then it will always pay to know. Kinda like driving a stickshift- Your present ride may be an automatic, but there will come a time when you have to drive a stick.

Actually both ways is a good thing. But I am a mirror kind of guy. If I look over my shoulder, I usually turn the wrong way.

That and I can't see thru the rear window of the canopy due to the dog nose prints everywhere!

Mark and the dog.
 

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I appreciate your willingness to practice ...

Try to go mid-week, mid-day and most ramps shouldn't be too crowded.

Much better to learn in semi-private than being "that bonehead with the expensive new boat" in front of a line of 8 disgusted boaters on a Sunday at the low-water ramp at Green Peter Reservoir ... 'cause then your 70-year-old dad has to move a big log so you can drop your wheel in the ditch and scrape your axle across the asphalt.

I'm a look-over-the-shoulder guy myself - when possible.
 

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I drove a tow truck for 7 year reposessing vehicles. Over the shoulder method was the best for me. Could see the middle of the bumper of the car I was backing to. Now I back my boat down the ramp always using the over the shoulder method. Mirrors don't lie however and that way works too.

Others have given advice about practicing your backing skills. And that is good. Practice and hassels will be fewer. I do not find however, that others backing their trailer down the ramp is the main reason I have to wait at boat launches. Too many times folks are using the ramp space to dink around with organizing things inside their boat or forgot to properly prep the boat for launch and now do it at the ramp or taking 10 minutes to give instructions to family members as to what to do with the boat while they go park. This sort of stuff goes on all the time & drives me crazy.

The respectful and courteous thing to do is prep while not on the ramp or in the ramp lane, back down, launch (a one minute activity max). Tie off away from other boats needing to launch, park and get your boat out of the way. Waiting 30 minutes for 2 boats in front of you is rediculous. But it happens all the time.
 

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If you want to see all the things not to do go to the ramp by Saltys on a Saturday and watch the idiots. I made the mistake of launching there on Saturday and man what a cluster, I will never complain about launching during springer season again, atleast most fishermen know how to get down and out fast. These morons were backing down getting ready then launching after sitting in line for 20min. Taking out was just as bad, most could not hit their trailers, saw 3 forget to lift their motors
and grind their skeg off. Then they would stop 1/2 way up the ramp and finish the job
.
 
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