Our Outdoors: Boat Loading and Launching

Doug Leier
Staff Writer

Like it or not, we’re heading into July and the peak season for fishing, boating and water recreation. As such, there’s no shortage of reminders for buying a fishing license, making sure you have enough life jackets in your boat.
As we’ve seen the expansion of water across North Dakota we’ve also seen the number of watercraft registrations swell. More water and more boats, pontoons and personal watercraft, in addition to kayaks, canoes and paddleboards can create congestion on any water. And not just during a hot summer holiday weekend.
And that’s why every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department also reminds boaters that patience and understanding are two key personal characteristics that might be needed on any random trip to a boat ramp.
The reason is simple and I witnessed it many times early in my career when I was a game warden at Bottineau and spent a lot of time at Lake Metigoshe, one of the busier waters in the state. On any given day the line-up of boats waiting to get in or out of the water could include veterans who could back up a trailer blindfolded, and others who were driven to high anxiety by the prospect of launching a boat for the first time.
As an example, a collegue recently told me the story of his first boat launch last year, when he forgot to unhook the tie-down straps at the back of the boat, and had to pull out of the water after discovering the reason the boat wouldn’t move off the trailer. An experienced husband and wife waiting in line told him not to worry about it, and offered their help if he needed it.
The second attempt went smoothly. Pretty much everyone who’s ever been responsible for backing a boat down the ramp has experienced the same situation. For do's and don'ts about loading and launching water vehicles, purchase your Thursday June 27th edition of the Times Record.