Booat. That's how we say it here in Northern Minnesota. It's kind of our jam, getting on one of the 10,000+ lakes and fishing, water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, or just lounging on the pontoon. Why does it seem though that we all are going to the same lake if we have so many of them. It's early in the season, but each time I've been to the boat launch on either Vermilion, the St. Louis River or Pike lake this year it has been a zoo. Is it because everyone is sick of being stuck in the house from the pandemic?

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Either way, it's been more important to practice decent boat launch etiquette. I was in a line of 3 trucks & boats yesterday for both launching and loading. Luckily these guys practiced good etiquette so it wasn't a nightmare. But it sure can be. Let's get started.

  1. Make sure your boat is ready to go before you pull up to the launch. Find a parking spot somewhere and that's where you take the straps off, put the drain plug back in, and get your ropes and lines ready to secure it. Anything you want loaded should already be in. When your boat is floating at the dock is not the time to start packing everything in.
  2. If possible, have someone in the boat already to back off the trailer once the boats in the water and drive to an adjacent dock or other side of the dock. This will let other people get launched while your partner parks the truck. If you successfully can do this with your wife, congratulations on your perfect marriage.
  3. Know how to back up a trailer. Practice at home if you have to. Nothing is worse than completely failing at backing your boat up to the launch, and having everyone else judge you. You can hear all the other dads in the car muttering "look at this guy" under their breath.
  4. Keep your boat in good running condition. Nothing sucks more than successfully launching your boat and then not having it start. Congratulations, your day is over. I guess we're fishing from shore, kids. Enjoy sitting on that tube on the beach.
  5. Practice COVID-19 Social distancing. Don't be like the one guy I saw last weekend coughing like crazy all up and down the dock. What a jerk. I think his name was Dunken. So when you're dunking your boat in the lake, don't be like Dunken. Six feet apart, please.
  6. Actually check for invasive species and clean off your boat. Don't just pull the drain plug out, shrug your shoulders and walk away. Seriously, we need to keep these critters from spreading from lake to lake. By the way, you should be doing this far away from the ramp.
  7. If you don't have a boat & trailer and you're at the public water access, don't park in the trailer parking. I cannot tell you how many people you have full blown ticked off when you park your Subaru in the last trailer spot. Now I have to go wedge my boat and trailer on the side of the road halfway through a wood tick filled ditch.

It's that simple. I don't know if that really is simple or not, but something to think about. Be courteous, be quick, and enjoy the lake!

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