Boat Ramps Overview
What are Boat Ramps?
Boat ramps are sloping surfaces intentionally made for launching small watercraft into a lake or river. The slope typically goes from the land to a point below the low tide line. Boaters use a trailer or similar means to move the boat down the ramp and into the water.
What Problems It Solves:
Boat ramps make taking a boat in or out of the water very simple. Without one, you’d have to attempt to find a spot on land where you could somehow get your boat close enough to enter and exit the water safely, which is not an easy task.
If there isn’t enough slope to launch your boat from, you risk damaging the boat as you try to get it into the water or even seriously injuring yourself if you attempt to lift it. Boat ramps eliminate any of these risks and make the overall process of getting waterborne easy.
Images of Boat Ramps
Advantages & Disadvantages of Boat Ramps
There are plenty of advantages to having a private boat ramp:
- It makes getting your crafts into the water much less stressful and takes less time.
- It mitigates the risk of damage to your boat when taking it in or out of the water.
- You have complete discretion over who has access to the ramp, so there’s no risk of others degrading or damaging the ramp over time.
- Taking your boat out of the water (as opposed to only leaving it docked) allows you to properly clean and care for it regularly and prevents aquatic life from growing on the boat’s hull.
There are, however, a couple of disadvantages to keep in mind:
- Boat ramps can be costly to install and maintain, and you need the right land area to put one in at all.
- They can also deteriorate on their own over time due to wear from water, especially if they are not constructed correctly.
Boat Ramps Process
If you hire a contractor, they will handle most of the process. Still, it’s essential to understand the steps and various considerations.
Step 1: Consideration
Start by considering what your ramp will look like and how to get started. First, determine how you will use your boat ramp and what kind of boats you will be putting in the water with it. You should also think about your available budget for materials, a contractor, and laborers. These questions will help you decide the general type and style.
Step 2: Consult with a Contractor
Contractors can help you understand the best placement for your ramp based on tidal changes and other factors. They’ll also know how long to make the ramp based on the specifications you provide.
Step 3: Start the Construction
Once you have finished all the planning, your contractors will begin construction. In many cases, they may create a cofferdam to keep the area that will be submerged dry while under construction. Or, they may form the ramp on a thin layer of sand, then push it into the water using machinery after it has dried.
The materials and equipment needed for this project will vary depending on the type of boat ramp, your intended use, and land.
Materials or equipment used could be:
- A backhoe or other heavy machinery
- A cofferdam, either pre-made or built on-site
- Sand or crusher run
- A pump to remove water
- Concrete and pouring materials
Before you can begin constructing your boat ramp, it’s vital to check with your contractor regarding what types of permits may be necessary for the build. Depending on where you live, different state or federal regulatory agencies could require permits, such as this one.
To obtain some permits, you may need to have a sketch of your ramp prepared, so you’ll need to have your plans fleshed out. Talk with your contractor and contact your local agencies to get more information.
A common issue that people tend to have with their boat landings is size. You need to create an adequate space with enough room to turn your towing vehicle around and align it correctly with the boat ramp. Make sure you consider this when coming up with your plans. You don’t want your ramp and turnaround area to be too small.
Another concern is the flow of the water. It’s easy enough to consider building the ramp, but once your boat is in the water, the direction of the currents can push on your boat and make it hard to offload. It can also cause silt to accumulate on your ramp more frequently. Take the directional flow of the water around you into consideration as you decide how to angle your boat ramp.
Questions To Ask Contractors
When you begin consulting with contractors, ensure you ask the right questions. Start with the following list:
- What is the best type of ramp for my area?
- What types of permits will I need?
- What are the best materials to use for my chosen construction method?
- What are the costs of this build?
- How should I angle my ramp?
- How much space will I need?
Different Types of Boat Ramps
You can choose between two primary boat ramp types, each with a unique construction process.
Professionals construct this type of ramp in the area that the ramp will occupy. They place a cofferdam around the area that would be underwater, and then they pump the water out so the slab can be poured and dried.
This ramp is constructed out of the water and pushed into it using heavy machinery once it has cured. This method limits the size of the ramp since you can not easily push a slab that exceeds a specific width and weight.
Alternative Solutions to Boat Ramps
If a ramp is too costly or difficult to build, you could consider using a boat lift instead. A boat lift can keep your boat directly out of the water while still keeping it at a dock.
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|Boat Ramps vs. Boat Lifts|
Boat ramps, compared to boat lifts:
Boat ramps, compared to boat lifts:
Costs of Boat Ramps
Like any construction process, the prices can vary drastically. A few determining factors include:
- Ramp type
- Necessary permits
The time and cost for your project can vary depending on all of the above factors. It can also depend on whether you’re building a ramp yourself or using a contractor. The price range can be anywhere from $3,600 to $27,400.
Bid & Buying Solicitation
It’s essential to use the right service to get a reasonable estimate for the cost of your project and find a good contractor should you use one. Marine Matcher is a great place to solicit bids or even just to get an idea of pricing.
DIY Solutions for Boat Ramps
You could potentially build your boat ramp, and this may seem like an attractive option. But there are many elements to consider that could make doing your own build more costly and less effective than hiring a professional. You need to be sure your skills are up to the task. You can research how to build a ramp yourself, but it may be better to call a contractor, and it can be more affordable than you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are either poured in place after the water has been directed away or pushed into place.
The impacts of building a ramp can be relatively small, but it’s crucial to consider your local area’s laws to minimize any damage that could occur. As such, a contractor familiar with potential environmental issues can help limit or prevent a negative impact.
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