Life at public boat launch

Generally I am launching a boat but often I am putting one of my canoes in the water at a public boat landing. I travel all over the upper Midwest and over the years I have seen a lot of crazy and expensive things happen with people while they are taking care of business at a boat launch.

This past week I spent time at a very busy boat launch on Lake Wisconsin in Columbia County as well as Park Lake in Pardeeville and Beaver Dam Lake “Waterworks Park” in Beaver Dam.

What I did was I sat in a lawn chair with my golden retriever pup “Ruby” next to me and observed and talked to people for two full days.

Saturday, July 1

High 83, Low 63

Today is the first full day of the Fourth of July weekend and I picked a boat launch that I knew would be crazy busy and that is the landing at Whalen’s Grade on Lake Wisconsin which is part of the Wisconsin River.

This launch can easily have a hundred boats, kayaks, canoes and jet skis run through it in a day’s time and though I felt I knew a lot about people and their ability or inability to be a smooth operator while launching a watercraft I learned a ton today while sitting here from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

There are maybe four categories from what I could see of situations at a boat launch.

First is probably 80 percent of everyone that is launching or trailering. This person or persons have a plan, are good at backing up their trailer and the entire job is done in a minimal amount of time.

Second, this person is very common. Perhaps it is their first time of the season or they do not have the ability to think ahead or care about the one to five trucks with trailers waiting behind them to launch their own watercraft

Though they may be good at backing a trailer up, they have no plan as to already having gear from their truck or car into their watercraft. Every landing has a place where, before you are at the launch, you can get everything from your vehicle into your boat so that when you launch your boat you are using the minimal amount of time.

Third, I observed this at all three launches and it goes with both launching and putting their rig back on the trailer: that is the person or persons that do nothing to help the people that they are with that are doing all of the work. I believe that I witnessed this at least 40 separate times.

Fourth, anyone who has spent much time at a landing knows about this: that is the person that simply cannot back up a trailer. The bad guy in me finds this to be hilarious. If you filmed it you would know what I mean.

The good guy in me and he generally rules, feels very bad for this person, tries not to watch, “even though I do,” and likes to see that at least this person is trying to enjoy our great lakes and rivers.

So I had a ton of time to watch people and train my pup with water retrieves and of course observe my fellow man.

Here is the fifth category (I know that I said four but it is expanding). Perhaps only one in 50 people are like this but most of us are aware of what I am talking about and that is rude people. Whether on the water or waiting to back up a trailer, they are always waiting and looking for an opportunity to butt in line or perhaps will not take their trash home but leave it at the landing or beach.

Here is the sixth-category person that I observed: this is a very real situation. This person is generally with his wife. I could tell every time that the woman was really excited to be putting the boat on the water. I also had strong feelings that in their younger days they probably spent many a day with friends and family on the water.

As time passed, many of the earlier mentioned categories came into play or perhaps are leaving. These folks are in their twilight years for hauling and launching a pontoon boat or any watercraft as far as that goes, and as happens in all forms of the aging process, their skills are diminishing and my friends, I ask that everyone respects this person.

I believe that they are well aware of what is happening. If you can, help them please do so. In the very least please do not embarrass them. If you are lucky and ambitious you will stay on the water until the day your heart quits beating.

Think and be courteous!


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