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Launching your new Malibu can seem intimidating at first, but it’s relatively simple with these quick tips. Follow along and you’ll be a boat ramp champ in no time!

Ramp Etiquette

When you roll up to the boat ramp with your rig, find the staging area and get your boat ready to launch. Everyone at the ramp will appreciate it if you launch as efficiently as possible and the staging area is the place to make that happen. If it’s your first time launching, try to go on a day when the ramp is less crowded so you can take your time.

Prepping the Boat

The idea here is to get the boat as prepared as possible before it gets to the ramp. Put the plugs in, remove the transom straps, turn the batteries on, load up your gear, and attach your bow and stern dock lines to the boat’s cleats. This is also the time to find your fenders and have them ready.

Deploying the Bimini

To provide shade and sun protection for boat, you can deploy the Bimini. Make sure you boot it correctly and your whole crew will feel cool all day.

Backing into the Water

It’s a good idea to have a driver in the boat so you’re ready to go when you back in the water.

When you’re reversing, remember that everything is backwards with a trailer. Here’s a trick that will help: Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and whatever direction that hand goes is the direction the trailer will go. Watch your mirrors and take it slow. Roll down your windows and turn off your radio so you can hear your spotters in case you need to stop for any reason. When you hit the right depth, your Malibu trailer’s depth alarm will let you know with a high-pitch noise you can hear in the tow vehicle. Put the vehicle in park and set the emergency brake.

Watch Now

The Truth to Boating: How To Launch Your Boat

Unhooking the Boat

Unhook the emergency chain first (if equipped). Carefully pull the winch a short distance in the only direction it will move and flip the winch’s direction-selector switch to make it reverse directions. Hold onto the handle and carefully let the boat out until you can disengage the hook on the bow eye. Keep a tight grip so the handle doesn’t slip out of your hand. The boat should be free now so you can either guide it with lines to the dock or start the engine and have your driver pull away. If you’re launching solo you can hop in the boat and bring it to a sandy beach or dock, then go get the tow vehicle and trailer.

Pulling the Truck and Trailer Out

Release the parking brake with the vehicle in park and your foot on the brake. Put the vehicle in drive and take it slow going out of the water so you have less chance of spinning the tires on a slick or steep ramp. Park with plenty of room to get out and you’re ready for a great day on the water.

Driving the boat is next. Stay tuned!

Miss Part 1 to The Truth To Boating? Check out how to trailer your boat here.

*This document is meant as a guide. Always check state and local regulations as well as U.S. Coast Guard regulations for specific boating rules and regulations. Areas and conditions can be unique so it’s best to check ahead of time. 

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