Boat Loading and Launching Made Easy

Easy Way to Load Your Boat on the Trailer

One of the hardest things about boating is getting your boat on the trailer and hooking up the winch strap while still in the water.

On my boat, I can't reach the winch strap and crank without leaning way over the bow or getting out of the boat, stand on the trailer tongue and hook up the strap. It is slow and clogs up the ramp.

Normally, when you launch, you undo the winch strap to back the boat off the trailer. Some guys undo it at the boat prep area on the ramp. I prefer to undo the strap at the waters edge and then get in the boat.

Getting the boat on the trailer is also tricky and worrisome. I know some guys drive on the trailer until it hits the bow roller and then have their partner drive up the ramp.

I almost bought one of those step systems you attach to the trailer for $500. That works but you still have to get out of the boat, hook up the strap, and then get back in the boat.

I don't trust either method. I've seen too many boats slide off the trailer on the ramp. And even if the boat doesn't slide off, it may slid back a little so the strap is not tight. Then the bow bounces when driving down the road every time you hit a bump.

Not good.

I recently installed a product that makes launching and retrieving safe, painless and easy.

Boat latch installed
Catch-N-Release Boat Latch
Boat latch installed
Close up photo

It is called the Drotto Catch-N-Release Boat Latch. It is pictured here. It replaces the bow roller on your trailer.

To launch your boat, back in the trailer, pull the lever on the latch and your boat is free. (You can undo the main winch strap at the boat prep area before backing into the water.)

One thing you can do is loop a small cord through a hole on the lever, get in the boat, hold the cord, and have your partner back you in. While seated at the console, pull the cord to release the latch and your floating free. It only takes seconds.

Some guys attach the rope to the lever, but it is better to loop the rope through the lever, without tying it to anything and hold both ends of the rope. Once you activate the lever, release one end of the rope and hold the other end. The rope will slide through the lever hole and then you pull the rope into the boat and store it away until next time.

The beauty of the boat latch, however, is loading your boat. Drive on the trailer, the latch automatically activates and your secure. Drive up the ramp and then attach the winch strap and safety chain if you have one.

It was easy to install and we did it the hard way. I removed the winch post, slid the latch into position and gently slammed it on the bow eye. The reason I did it this way is because I knew I would need to move the winch post forward a little. We installed the latch and then reinstalled the post. But that also required putting a floor jack under the boat and lifting a little to get the post back in place.

It would be easier to do this at the lake. Launch your boat. Install everything and then reload the boat. If you have to move the post, launch the boat and move the winch post and retrieve the boat.

Watch this short video again to see how simple it is to load your boat.

Loading your boat video.

The boat latch comes in several sizes. Measure the width of the bow roller to determine which size you need. (Don't include the outer rollers. Just the actual roller between the bracket.)

(I buy a lot of stuff on eBay so I get coupons once in a while. I used a 20% off coupon to order mine.)

Getting the right size is important.

You can choose from a 3-inch wide model, 3.75-inch model and a Ranger Boats specific model. My trailer needed the 3.75-inch model (Phoenix Boat).

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