Boat ramps are the “best show in town”
If you ever need a laugh there is no better place in the world to get one than at your local boat ramp. We all know about going to the mall and “people watching”, just sitting on a bench and watching people scurry around doing things that just make you laugh. From little kids who say things out loud and embarrass their parents, to people who just do stupid stuff, it’s comical to watch. The boat ramp has its own set of players and usually they have some really funny antics.
One of the most common “players” is the guy who is in a hurry, he just can’t wait to get on the water and nothing at this moment is more important than getting that boat launched. One morning while launching my boat at Mill Creek Park on Sam Rayburn I watched one of those folks who was in a hurry put on a hilarious display for all to see. My partner had just pulled my truck and trailer out of the water and was parking as this brand new shiny Skeeter bass boat backed down to the launch. Almost before the matching colored truck had come to a stop a young tournament fishermen who looked like a NASCAR driver with all his patches and sponsors logos everywhere jumped out and was headed for the boat. The young fishermen unhooked the winch, jumped in the boat, and fired up the big motor in the blink of an eye. As the big motor roared to life the young fishermen showered down on the throttle to unload the boat like he had done hundreds of times only this time the boat wouldn’t budge. Well the answer to his problem was “more throttle”, the RPM’s went way up, water flew everywhere, but the boat was still on the trailer. At this point the fishermen climbed back in his truck and backed the trailer down into the water a little more believing that would solve problem. Another round of throttle punching only resulted in more water rolling into the boat over the transom. Finally the guy had enough and decided to investigate as he pulled his rig out of the water with a scowl on his face. My partner and I were watching the whole thing trying to figure out what was the problem when we both busted out into laughter. Our young friend who was in such a hurry had neglected to unstrap the boat from the trailer or remove the transom saver from the motor. I can laugh at the mistake because I have been guilty of the same thing, as I am sure most of all boat owners at one time or another have been as well.
Probably one of the most common displays of comedy at the boat ramp involves backing down a trailer to either launch or load a boat. Invariably an inexperienced driver is given the responsibility of backing the trailer into position and this is where the fun begins. For anyone who hasn’t backed up a trailer let me tell you it takes a little practice but can easily be mastered. Not being able to back the trailer up can cause lots of frustration for everyone involved. I have seen my fair share of folks get out of a truck just flat give up trying because they are so frustrated. The worst thing is when they finally get the trailer going in the right direction and don’t stop until it’s too late submerging the whole truck and trailer. This is easily the worst thing that can happen, especially if it’s your truck. I have seen this a couple of times and it’s bad, I mean it’s really bad. To walk down on the ramp and only see a car antenna sticking out of the water is quite a sight and makes for a great story after the fact as long as nobody gets hurt.
Now besides the obvious stories of people forgetting things and struggling with trailers and such the average boater does a good job of launching as long as they remember to put the plug in the boat. Anyone who has ever owned a boat has pulled this little stunt at least once. This is a problem especially if you are by yourself and you can’t reach the plug without the boat being on the trailer. Coordination and a little help are always welcome as it takes some thought to keep from sinking the boat. I have seen folks fly up to the launch and someone jump out of the boat like a Navy Seal headed for the truck while the boat driver continues to run the boat so the water won’t continue to come in. The looks on both their faces are self explanatory.
Now this last little bit has nothing to do with funny stories or experiences, it just has to do with plain old stupidity and laziness. This weekend I brought my son down to the public boat ramp under the big Cow Bayou Bridge to meet some of his friends and go wakeboarding. On the launch ramp were the remnants of a crawfish boil dumped there by some folks with little regard for others. The crawfish were all mashed up and they stunk to high heaven, it was a mess to say the least. When people act like this and make things worse for folks who want to use the ramp it’s just a shame. Dumping trash of any kind on public property is lazy as well as against the law. Hopefully the folks who did that will eventually “reap what they sow” because it all comes around full circle.