If you've been boating for a while you may be aware that there are various types of boat ramps and that it's always a smart move to do your research to ensure you find the best one with the right resources for you and your boat.
When looking for the best option boaters should consider a few essential things that could make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. For example, the ramp should be easy to find and accessible for the size of the boat and vehicle you have. The ramp should be in good condition, accommodate a wide range of recreational activities and have expansion capabilities to ensure it's wide enough to cater to multiple boats when necessary.
Key Things to Consider When Looking for a Boat Ramp The size of your boat in relation to the ramp
Some boat ramps are designed purely for small watercraft like dinghies where you can walk into the water, whilst others can accommodate vehicles backing in larger boats or even keelboats. It's a good idea to double-check the capacity capability of any boat ramp before turning up, this can help you avoid wasted time.
Boat ramp features How many lanes does it have? Single lanes are not a deal-breaker but they can mean longer queues and therefore affect what time you arrive and depart What is the angle of the boat ramp? If the ramp is too shallow you may have trouble getting your boat to float and which could require you to put some of your car in the water (which may be saltwater). If you don't want to do this then it's worth double-checking the angle of the ramp first Courtesy docks Check how well kept the courtesy dock is and how many boats it can accommodate. Ideally, you should look for a floating rather than a fixed dock so you know it's usable at any phase of the tide. Ramp weight restrictions
Some ramps may impose a weight restriction due to limits on the structure of the ramp. Ensure your boat falls within the acceptable limit.
Some boat ramps may not be accessible during certain phases of the tide. Double-check whether this applies to the ramp you're planning to use so you can adjust your schedule to accommodate using the slip at the best time of day. Note if the ramp is dictated by the tide then there may be rush hours which you will need to factor in if there is a queue.
The wind conditions
This can have a big effect on your planning when it comes to what you do with your boat once you've splashed in the water, where you tie it up whilst parking your car and how many people you may or may not need to help you. Always check the weather conditions shortly before launching.
savvy navvy marine weather forecasts to view a handy weather feature using the Meteomatics MIX model in your savvy navvy app. The distance to the ramp and parking
It's good to do a trial run on foot from the holding area to the boat ramp to evaluate how long it will take you to get there and how fast queues tend to move. This will give you a good idea of what time to turn up and how many people you might like to assist you. Checking out the parking for your vehicle and trailer in advance is also useful so you can be more efficient at parking your car and getting back to your boat once your boat launches without any unnecessary surprises. It's also a good idea to check how many parking spaces there are and whether there is a facility for "turnaround spots" that will be helpful when it comes to leaving at the end of the day.
Ramp admission fees
You may be tempted to look for a boat ramp that has no management or handling fees however this could be risky. Ramps that are not managed and therefore have no cost associated with them may not be as well cared for which means you cannot be sure of the structural integrity of the ramp, the quality of the surface you will be driving on or the condition of the underwater subsurface once you've launched your boat. Other useful facilities such as courtesy docks may also not be available which could make securing your boat and parking your car and trailer a bit of a juggle!
Our advice would be to opt for a well-managed boat ramp (of which there are many benefits) and ensure you check the costs of using it ahead of time. You may also want to consider how you pay, for example by booking a time and slot in advance with a pre-payment or with a card and cash on the day. Checking all these details in advance will likely make your waiting time and experience run a whole lot smoother.
Boat Ramp Finders
Boat Ramp finders are an online service that helps you to find boat ramps and marinas near you, these will always vary depending on your location so it's worth just Googling wherever you are and some sites are sure to pop up. You can also use apps like savvy navvy to hone in on your GPS location and simply look for the
"boat ramp or marina icon" to see options nearest to you.