View Full Version : Kids load / unload.

09-02-2012, 02:56 PM
Has anyone trained their child how to load the boat or take it off the trailer at the ramp? My kids are 12 and 17. One backs the rig into the water the other takes it off the trailer / loads it on the trailer. May have to wait until next season to just watch from shore but they do a good job and understand how the boat handles around the dock.

09-02-2012, 03:05 PM
Our 16 yr old son drives boat on and off trailer which also gives him practice around dock. The only training we did was a some basic handling out in open water. I believed experience would be the best teacher. Much of it is about building confidence and understanding it is not about absolute perfection every time. Dad is watching and dad wants attentiveness and respect but dad takes part of the responsibility if something happens.

09-02-2012, 03:16 PM
Agreed. When we as adults place our kids into a role like that we must be prepared to shoulder their responsibility if an issue arises or give them 100 percent of the credit when it works out.

College Kid
09-02-2012, 05:42 PM
My son is only 5 so he's not quite ready although I plan on teaching him to drive the boat off the trailer as soon as I feel he able to dock the boat comfortably.

Our family cottege is on an island so learning to dock and drive a boat is an essential skill that everyone must learn as soon as they are old enough just for safety reasons.

I was trailer and dropping in my families boat at age 10, granted it was only a mile down a private road to a private ramp about 100m from our dock.

09-03-2012, 12:00 AM
I'm comfortable with my 17yr old with boat and trailer. He has a full understanding of the responsibilities that come with the boat. Boating has been in our family for several generations and hope it continues!

09-04-2012, 10:08 AM
One of my 16 year olds has been driving the boat on/off the trailer since he was 14 (legal boaters age here in AL).

Double D
09-04-2012, 11:14 AM
Nathan (17) has been unloading the boat and driving and pulling me since he was legal (and before) and he does have his license. The only thing he has not tried is driving the boat on to the trailer. I'm pretty confident he could do it but I have not asked him to do it, YET!

09-04-2012, 01:11 PM
I let my 16 year old load and unload the boat most of the time now. She had done a great job.....and she is gentle coming in so that's good!

I have started letting my 14 year old do it but she has only done it a few times. But, she is also doing very well. Experience is key so if convenient, they both get some seat time while on the lake. The 16 year old now pulls me in the lake so I now get to ski too!!

(side note....DD, man I love our boat! Skied behind a 2000 205 this weekend....still love our 94' over the newer one! We definitley have great boats!!)

09-04-2012, 02:06 PM
Here in CA you must be 14 and have an adult supervise in the boat to drive, at 16 you can drive a boat without an adult.

My son has been driving the boat since 14 and I've gradually increase responsibility. At first just driving in open water then launching and retrieving. He drives the boat on/off the trailer and then holds the boat some distance off the dock until I return from parking the trailer. At 15, I was entirely comfortable/trusting him with the boat. I still remind him to play the wind and give a little advise depending upon the circumstances (wind and current). He also takes my cues (slow down, left, right) while I'm standing at the dock waiting to be picked up. So all in all it is a good, actually great, experience.

I need to have him practice actually docking an inboard. He was able to do the I/O just fine but the direct drive is a different beast. He's seen it enough times I suspect he'll do it with just a little bit more coaching. During our week vacation we had a narrow slip and an approch that required turning into it - it was a toss up as to who was better, him or me, getting it into the slip.

My son is also about to get his driver's license. I've already had him back the trailer down a ramp for practice. He did quite well fior his first time with just a little bit of instruction. I look forward to when I can drive the boat and he can park the trailer.

My motivation for starting him was the fact that trying to teach my wife to drive the boat just did not go well...

My daughter is 12 and I'm going to start to teach her. Not quite legal but I feel it is safer for her to know how to drive the boat in case of an emergency - at least be able to bring it back to the dock.