How To Launch A Jet Ski At Boat Ramps…

sea doo launching

Photo ©2016 by Craig Nicholson

Related: Launching Lessons


My Sea Doo launching check list is common sense, not rocket science. But overlooking any one of these items can be trouble for experienced riders like me on my Sea Doo watercraft or for jet ski beginners embarking on self guided PWC adventures. Recreational boaters will also benefit from these tips!

I have many more tips to make your PWC riding more enjoyable while on Sea Doo tour in Ontario and throughout Canada on your Sea Doo, jet ski or waverunner watercraft. Such as pulling into a gas station for cheaper fuel before you get to the launch ramp!

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Check for Obstructions…

Avoid getting into a difficult manoeuvring situation with your PWC trailer in the launch area. Always check that the approach road to the ramp is clear of obstructions (traffic, parked vehicles, construction, etc) and accessible for turning and backing before entering it.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Inspect Ramp…

Even with familiar launches, inspect the ramp area itself before backing in to check water depth, ramp width, steepness and condition. Also be sure it’s clear it of any obstacles or debris.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Before Backing Onto the Ramp…

  • Remove PWC cover
  • Undo rear tie down straps
  • Check that drain plugs are tight
  • Unplug electrical hookup.
  • Load on board anything you want to carry on this ride.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Start PWC Before Launching…

After making sure its your turn, back onto the ramp. But before backing into the water, start your jet ski(s) briefly while on the trailer to avoid launching a dead PWC (or one without the right DESS cord). Do not leave your personal watercraft running out of the water.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – 4-Wheel Drive Helps…

Before backing in, engage 4-wheel drive (if you have it) for extra traction in case the ramp is slippery or steep. Leave it in 4-wheel drive while parked because that mode can be especially helpful when pulling a fully loaded trailer back up the ramp.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Keep Tow Vehicle Running…

During the launch process, do not turn off your tow vehicle. Especially if the exhaust pipe goes under water. Before getting out of your vehicle, to launch your jet skis, set the parking brake as an additional safety measure to keep your vehicle from rolling back into the water.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Don’t Go Deep…

Always be careful not to back in so deep that water floods into your tow vehicle.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Launching Alone from Regular PWC Trailer…

  • Before backing into the water, undo the back straps securing the PWC(s) to the trailer.
  • Tie the front mooring rope to the trailer with enough slack for the PWC to float free, but not away.
  • Back in until the jet ski is in the water but not floating, then undo the front trailer strap. 
  • Back in until the PWC floats, set tow vehicle parking brake. After untying the mooring rope from the trailer, either walk the PWC over to the nearest dock (good reason for an extra long mooring rope) or climb on board and drive it to the dock.
  • Repeat this process if you are launching a second PWC from the same trailer.
  • My advice is for one person to never try to launch two PWC’s at the same time.

Sea Doo Launching Check List – Launching with Help from a Regular PWC Trailer…

  • Before backing into the water, undo the back straps securing the PWC(s) to the trailer.
  • After backing part way into the water, undo the front strap securing the jet ski you want to launch to the trailer.
  • Have a companion in a PFD climb on board that jet ski with the right DESS cord.
  • Back father into the water until the jet ski floats free, so your companion can back it off slowly.
  • Unless you have one companion on each PWC to launch at the same time from the same trailer, repeat this process to launch a second jet ski.
  • After all PWC’s are safely launched, pull your tow vehicle and trailer off the ramp slow and easy. Clear the area, being sure to park where it is legal to do so and not blocking ramp access for other recreational boaters.

A Sea-Doo Move trailer makes the last two items easier because the operator can release the Sea-Doo Watercraft from the trailer while on board.

Check out my favourite boat launches!

The tips and advice in this article are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.

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