Power loading -NOT a good boating practice

Power loading is when a boater remains in their boat and keeps the motor trim low to “power” the boat onto the trailer, vs. using a bow line and the boarding dock to “walk and guide” the boat onto the trailer.  Power loading may be faster, but it’s costly and impacts everyone who uses the boat ramp.

Here’s what happens:

Power loading causes damage to the toe of the boat ramp that requires costly repairs and may damage your trailer.

Power loading causes damage to the toe of the boat ramp that requires costly repairs and may damage your trailer.

When the toe of a boat ramp is undermined, it compromises the integrity of the ramp itself, causing damage to the rebar and other material on the ramp.  This can cause boat ramps to be shut down, as is the case for Clackamette Park, in Clackamas County.  In many cases, the boat ramp requires a complete rebuild that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And these are boater dollars that come from registration and titling fees.  So it really behooves all boaters to protect “their” investment, and take the extra 5 minutes to properly load their boat onto the boat trailer.

Boat-Ed study guide about power loading -with short, 22 second video.

Photo showing the damage to the toe of the boat ramp in 2013 and the subsequent damage to the concrete framing., rendering the boat ramp to be closed for safety purposes.

Photo showing the damage to the toe of the boat ramp in 2013 and the subsequent damage to the concrete framing., rendering the boat ramp to be closed for safety purposes.

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2 thoughts on “Power loading -NOT a good boating practice

  1. While this makes a good point, think of this on a hot Saturday if there are 100 boats loading at the end of the day you just added 500 minutes or 8.3 hours to the already long line. even with two lanes you are still adding over 4 hours. I pride myself for being on the ramp no more than 2 minutes. Ken Rice

    Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 17:40:35 +0000 To: missskitow@hotmail.com

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    • That’s awesome, Ken. There’s definitely a balance there. What we’re trying to convey is the type of power loading from a dead stop and throttling at the toe of the ramp. With low water levels, this can cause significant scouring and damage to the ramp…not to mention the the drop off and hump it creates for other boats launching and retrieving.

      In high water, this isn’t as much of an issue in some locations. I’d welcome a video of how you do it, Ken! A lot of folks new to boating would benefit from seeing experienced operators.

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