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Getting Boat on Trailer

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SC Fam

Help...took my first training run in my new 'bu (oh my gosh!) Rockon.gif . My dealer insisted I load/unload by using a considerable amount of throttle to pull the boat off the trailer and push it on. Meaning, most of my boat is out of the water when I unload and load it. I'm ALMOST certain he is giving me great advice, but are there any other methods (using the winch more, or floating the boat onto the trailer more) that others out there prefer? I totally get the idea that I don't want to be running the prop if my boat isn't straight on the trailer, and that the guides on the trailer make that happen....any thoughts? My family was so amazed with this boat.....

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mlange

You're going to get A LOT of opinions on this one, so I'll just tell you my process. The most important thing to understand is that the angle of the ramp you use is going to determine how much you need to back the trailer in. The steeper the ramp angle the less you should back in.

Unloading

1. Back the boat into the water most of the way to wet the bunks down good.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the fenders are a few inches underwater.

3. Start 'er up.

4. Unhook the strap.

5. Push 'er off with just a little help from the throttle.

Loading

1. Back the trailer into the water to completely wet down the bunks.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the top of the fenders are just about at water level.

3. Drive it right on.

4. Strap 'er up.

I also spray down the bunks with a silicone spray once a year, but be VERY careful if you do because it really does make a huge difference in how slippery the bunks get.

Mike

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auto
Unloading

1. Back the boat into the water most of the way to wet the bunks down good.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the fenders are a few inches underwater.

3. Start 'er up.

4. Unhook the strap.

5. Push 'er off with just a little help from the throttle.

Loading

1. Back the trailer into the water to completely wet down the bunks.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the top of the fenders are just about at water level.

3. Drive it right on.

4. Strap 'er up.

Mike

Pretty much how I do it. Adjust for current, wind, and boat wakes

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Willy

I have a little different take on the whole procedure just because I am super anal. When I launch ,I back in until I can just get to the winch and stay dry. I then unhook and back her in slow with someone in the dock to hold her. As soon as she is floating free from the trailer I pull out real slow. Pretty much just the opposite when I load. I back in far enough that it is almost all of the way up. (our ramp is pretty flat so the fenders are just under water) I then walk up to the bow hook up the winch and crank it a couple times to get it the rest of the way. I will only drive on or off if the ramp is full and we need to go in between where there are no docks yet I still back the trailer in so the fenders are under the water.

FWIW

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DUKENO1
Help...took my first training run in my new 'bu (oh my gosh!) Rockon.gif . My dealer insisted I load/unload by using a considerable amount of throttle to pull the boat off the trailer and push it on. Meaning, most of my boat is out of the water when I unload and load it. I'm ALMOST certain he is giving me great advice, but are there any other methods (using the winch more, or floating the boat onto the trailer more) that others out there prefer? I totally get the idea that I don't want to be running the prop if my boat isn't straight on the trailer, and that the guides on the trailer make that happen....any thoughts? My family was so amazed with this boat.....

SC FAM...first of all congrats on the new boat! You will love it. I have had mine for two full seasons and up to the purchase of my boat in 06, had never driven an inboard. If you are not familiar with the way an inboard handles (I wasn't...had always driven outboards or I/O's) it is a little bit of a learning curve. The trickiest/most scary parts for me early on were putting the boat back on the trailer and docking. Since you are asking about loading/unloading here is what I do. For me I am always with another person, sometimes more and I always employ their help. If with a friend that is experienced and comfortable with backing the trailer, I let him/her do the backing and the rest of us are already in the boat with all of the days gear loaded.

We usually back down until the fenders are a few inches under water. This will vary depending on the length of your trailer, steepness of ramp etc. Next I start the boat and make sure everything seems to be operating normally. I then put the boat in reverse and begin applying throttle gradually. If the boat doesn't start to back away pretty easily I motion for the person in the truck to back me in a little further so that the boat floats a little more. You can macho man power it off the trailer if you want (sounds like what your dealer is suggesting)but I prefer to do it this way. It seems less stressful on the engine, hull and trailer bunks to me. Once clear of the trailer I back away from the dock and get out of the way of the next guy, if necessary, and wait to pick up my friend after the truck is parked.

Don't know if you are familiar with docking an inboard but that is a little scary at first too. The Bu's rear end wants to swing towards the driver side (starboard) when in reverse. I use this to my advantage by coming in to a dock at about a 45 degree angle or so, dock being on the starboard side. Slow wins the race. When the bow of the boat is 4 ft or so from the dock I turn the wheel all the way to the left, move the throttle to reverse for a second and then to neutral for a second and then back to reverse and back to neutral. You will feel the rear end begin to slowly swing in towards the dock. Sometimes you might need to bump the throttle to the forward position for just a second as well. It is really just something you have to practice and get a fell for, but once you do it is super easy and you can spin the boat around in a tight circle. Practice out in the middle of the lake backing up to a buoy, vest or fender at first till you get it.

Putting the boat back on the trailer is probably my least favorite part of the day. It is not that bad if you are not having to deal with all of the other folks trying to do the same thing. (rarely the case) I could probably make a best selling video and call it Boat Ramp Follies. It can get pretty stressful but maybe it's just me. First I drop my trailer- backing friend at the dock, they back the trailer in and I drive on. We usually back the trailer in pretty deep to get the bunks completely saturated, and then pull back out until just the fronts of the fenders are exposed. While they are getting the trailer right, I am getting myself lined up and in position to come in. I get as straight as possible while moving at the slowest speed toward the trailer. The key for me is not to pull the throttle back out of gear at anytime during the loading process. You have to get lined up and moving forward and not let yourself get spooked and come out of gear. Once you do this the boat will start drifting and you will come in crooked or worse!

To me, my boat feels like it is moving too fast, even in the slowest forward position but I just have to trust myself and keep moving. Once you hit the trailer, the bunks and guide posts should line you up properly and I come back to neutral. Once the boat stops, I put it back in gear and apply throttle until the boat is pretty close to the bow roller. I f I am not quite there I can usually winch it the last few inches. All in all not a hard process and in ideal conditions can be done in just a few minutes.

Sorry for the long post! I just re-read your post and It probably could have been answered with one short little paragraph! Sorry...I get long winded. Good luck!

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SC Fam
You're going to get A LOT of opinions on this one, so I'll just tell you my process. The most important thing to understand is that the angle of the ramp you use is going to determine how much you need to back the trailer in. The steeper the ramp angle the less you should back in.

Unloading

1. Back the boat into the water most of the way to wet the bunks down good.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the fenders are a few inches underwater.

3. Start 'er up.

4. Unhook the strap.

5. Push 'er off with just a little help from the throttle.

Loading

1. Back the trailer into the water to completely wet down the bunks.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the top of the fenders are just about at water level.

3. Drive it right on.

4. Strap 'er up.

I also spray down the bunks with a silicone spray once a year, but be VERY careful if you do because it really does make a huge difference in how slippery the bunks get.

Mike

Ok...it sounds like you do about same as my dealer, just maybe a tiny bit more underwater (but not much). Thank you.

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spaznoook
You're going to get A LOT of opinions on this one, so I'll just tell you my process. The most important thing to understand is that the angle of the ramp you use is going to determine how much you need to back the trailer in. The steeper the ramp angle the less you should back in.

Unloading

1. Back the boat into the water most of the way to wet the bunks down good.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the fenders are a few inches underwater.

3. Start 'er up.

4. Unhook the strap.

5. Push 'er off with just a little help from the throttle.

Loading

1. Back the trailer into the water to completely wet down the bunks.

2. Pull the trailer back out until the top of the fenders are just about at water level.

3. Drive it right on.

4. Strap 'er up.

I also spray down the bunks with a silicone spray once a year, but be VERY careful if you do because it really does make a huge difference in how slippery the bunks get.

Mike

Sounds exactly like our procedure. We also spray our bunks once a year (usually memorial weekend since that's when we've always got the trailer handy w/ no boat on it).

Welcome & congrats on the new boat!

Welcome.gif

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SC Fam
Help...took my first training run in my new 'bu (oh my gosh!) Rockon.gif . My dealer insisted I load/unload by using a considerable amount of throttle to pull the boat off the trailer and push it on. Meaning, most of my boat is out of the water when I unload and load it. I'm ALMOST certain he is giving me great advice, but are there any other methods (using the winch more, or floating the boat onto the trailer more) that others out there prefer? I totally get the idea that I don't want to be running the prop if my boat isn't straight on the trailer, and that the guides on the trailer make that happen....any thoughts? My family was so amazed with this boat.....

SC FAM...first of all congrats on the new boat! You will love it. I have had mine for two full seasons and up to the purchase of my boat in 06, had never driven an inboard. If you are not familiar with the way an inboard handles (I wasn't...had always driven outboards or I/O's) it is a little bit of a learning curve. The trickiest/most scary parts for me early on were putting the boat back on the trailer and docking. Since you are asking about loading/unloading here is what I do. For me I am always with another person, sometimes more and I always employ their help. If with a friend that is experienced and comfortable with backing the trailer, I let him/her do the backing and the rest of us are already in the boat with all of the days gear loaded.

We usually back down until the fenders are a few inches under water. This will vary depending on the length of your trailer, steepness of ramp etc. Next I start the boat and make sure everything seems to be operating normally. I then put the boat in reverse and begin applying throttle gradually. If the boat doesn't start to back away pretty easily I motion for the person in the truck to back me in a little further so that the boat floats a little more. You can macho man power it off the trailer if you want (sounds like what your dealer is suggesting)but I prefer to do it this way. It seems less stressful on the engine, hull and trailer bunks to me. Once clear of the trailer I back away from the dock and get out of the way of the next guy, if necessary, and wait to pick up my friend after the truck is parked.

Don't know if you are familiar with docking an inboard but that is a little scary at first too. The Bu's rear end wants to swing towards the driver side (starboard) when in reverse. I use this to my advantage by coming in to a dock at about a 45 degree angle or so, dock being on the starboard side. Slow wins the race. When the bow of the boat is 4 ft or so from the dock I turn the wheel all the way to the left, move the throttle to reverse for a second and then to neutral for a second and then back to reverse and back to neutral. You will feel the rear end begin to slowly swing in towards the dock. Sometimes you might need to bump the throttle to the forward position for just a second as well. It is really just something you have to practice and get a fell for, but once you do it is super easy and you can spin the boat around in a tight circle. Practice out in the middle of the lake backing up to a buoy, vest or fender at first till you get it.

Putting the boat back on the trailer is probably my least favorite part of the day. It is not that bad if you are not having to deal with all of the other folks trying to do the same thing. (rarely the case) I could probably make a best selling video and call it Boat Ramp Follies. It can get pretty stressful but maybe it's just me. First I drop my trailer- backing friend at the dock, they back the trailer in and I drive on. We usually back the trailer in pretty deep to get the bunks completely saturated, and then pull back out until just the fronts of the fenders are exposed. While they are getting the trailer right, I am getting myself lined up and in position to come in. I get as straight as possible while moving at the slowest speed toward the trailer. The key for me is not to pull the throttle back out of gear at anytime during the loading process. You have to get lined up and moving forward and not let yourself get spooked and come out of gear. Once you do this the boat will start drifting and you will come in crooked or worse!

To me, my boat feels like it is moving too fast, even in the slowest forward position but I just have to trust myself and keep moving. Once you hit the trailer, the bunks and guide posts should line you up properly and I come back to neutral. Once the boat stops, I put it back in gear and apply throttle until the boat is pretty close to the bow roller. I f I am not quite there I can usually winch it the last few inches. All in all not a hard process and in ideal conditions can be done in just a few minutes.

Sorry for the long post! I just re-read your post and It probably could have been answered with one short little paragraph! Sorry...I get long winded. Good luck!

Thanks, man...I'm usually pretty windy too....but what I want is good advice and I think you have given me some, so I appreciate the time you took to post all of that. My dealer had me bumping the drive in and out to slow down your procedure, and we did drift a little...which scared the &&*( out of me!!....however, he says once you get the nose worked up onto the bunks you can just keep wiggling and working your way onto the trailer, which worked ok but scared the wee wee out of me...Again, thanks for your reply.

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SC Fam
I have a little different take on the whole procedure just because I am super anal. When I launch ,I back in until I can just get to the winch and stay dry. I then unhook and back her in slow with someone in the dock to hold her. As soon as she is floating free from the trailer I pull out real slow. Pretty much just the opposite when I load. I back in far enough that it is almost all of the way up. (our ramp is pretty flat so the fenders are just under water) I then walk up to the bow hook up the winch and crank it a couple times to get it the rest of the way. I will only drive on or off if the ramp is full and we need to go in between where there are no docks yet I still back the trailer in so the fenders are under the water.

FWIW

This is how I do my fishing boats too...I am going to try your way as well when I have time and people to help out. Man...all of you guys are awesome for giving me the advice so clearly and so fast!! Thank you and thanks to all!

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live2ski423

Silicone spray??? What brand / where do you get it?

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vette-ski

I do it just like mlange for the most part. Unloading is easy, because you can always error by backing in too deep and it really doesn't hurt anything. When I load, I back in until I can see about 1" of the fenders out water. The carpeted guides on my fenders position the boat side to side. If I try to load with those under the water, it's a crap shoot if the boat is centered when you pull out and I've actually had my boat come out on top of those before and mess them up. So for me, I always have the tips of the fenders visible when loading.

One thing I'll mention that nobody else has that I see is, even though it takes practice and may be nerve racking, I like to put the boat on the trailer with a fair amount of speed and let the momentum of the boat carry it up onto the trailer. Around here, it is frowned upon to power load onto the trailer. It washes out the end of the ramps to the point where the concrete cracks off. So I don't make it a practice of hitting the throttle once I'm on the bunks. Usually I glide right up to within a foot or two and do the rest with the winch.

Oh, if you use that silicon spray, don't forget to latch the winch before you pull out.

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SC Fam
I do it just like mlange for the most part. Unloading is easy, because you can always error by backing in too deep and it really doesn't hurt anything. When I load, I back in until I can see about 1" of the fenders out water. The carpeted guides on my fenders position the boat side to side. If I try to load with those under the water, it's a crap shoot if the boat is centered when you pull out and I've actually had my boat come out on top of those before and mess them up. So for me, I always have the tips of the fenders visible when loading.

One thing I'll mention that nobody else has that I see is, even though it takes practice and may be nerve racking, I like to put the boat on the trailer with a fair amount of speed and let the momentum of the boat carry it up onto the trailer. Around here, it is frowned upon to power load onto the trailer. It washes out the end of the ramps to the point where the concrete cracks off. So I don't make it a practice of hitting the throttle once I'm on the bunks. Usually I glide right up to within a foot or two and do the rest with the winch.

Oh, if you use that silicon spray, don't forget to latch the winch before you pull out.

Excellent advice...that is a great consideration, cuz I was tentative and ended up having to gun the crap out of it to get it on the trailer. Also good advice on latching the winch. Thanks much.

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MalibuTime
Silicone spray??? What brand / where do you get it?

FWIW- I've seen alot of TMC recommend to not use silicone, but to use pledge (like, in lemon pledge) or a product called liquid rollers, which is a spray. Search the forums and you will probably find.

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SacRiverRat

Yes, I use Liquid Rollers - still makes them pretty slippery, so never unhook the boat until you are ready for it to come off Yes.gif

Seems like coming onto the trailer with speed is just asking for problems. The boat always bumps around a little to get aligned, and something has to give. I'd just be careful with that one.. but given your concern over the ramps.

Around here, the ramps are loooooong, so no worries about them washing out. I just creep up to the trailer (with the bunks wet) and let the boat settle onto the trailer - then give it a little gas to get it up into place. With lubed bunks, it comes up nice, and you never have to reset the boat on the trailer (as you sometimes do if you load it with the trailer too deep)

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Bill_AirJunky

I've been power loading & unloading boat for years without any issues. Recently local laws have been put in place that forbid power loading & unloading on some ramps. Others don't have issues.

Also, different ramps are different degrees of steepness.

And then my own property is not a ramp, but really just a sandy beach that we launch from.

Because of all these variables, my process tends to change to fit the situation. If it's not very steep, I'll unhook early & back in till the boat is floating. If I have a friend in the boat & know the ramp, I'll back in & hit the brakes so it pushes the boat off the trailer. If it's a steep ramp or I'm not 100% familiar with it, I leave the boat hooked up till I'm at the water's edge, then unhook & back the rest of the way in. Then we'll back the boat out of everyone's way so the ramp is clear, returning only to pick up the truck driver.

Loading is much the same. Back in till the fenders are at the water's surface, then power on to the trailer. If the local ramp doesn't allow power loading, then we'll winch load the last foot or two. Then hook up the safety cable. But it's most important to approach the trailer slow enough that you can back out if there is a problem, yet fast enough that waves & currents don't effect you much. Keep in mind the bunks & guides will help you align the boat on the trailer.

Last summer when I was looking at boats, we looked at a Vride where the owner was so cautious that he pulled the boat on & off the trailer with mooring lines, and kept the boat at the dock while he was parking the truck, blocking the ramp the entire time. I guess if he can't load & unload right, this is the best way to keep the boat in pristine condition. But it was time consuming & blocked the ramp for a good 10 minutes....... something that really chaps me when I am the guy waiting on them. So teach your wife & friends to help you, and trust them to do their part so the process goes smoothly & quickly.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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YJim

Unloading... leave strapped until boat touches water. Get out, unstrap, back rest of way in, power off.

Loading... back trailer in until steps in front of fenders are submerged (front of fenders are still out of the water). As boat is being powered on, pull out ~3 feet of strap. When within 3 feet, attach strap and winch rest of way with boat in gear. Sometimes driver will need to steer right or left to center on bow roller. Kill engine and pull out. I've found that if I don't back in fairly shallow the bow may try to go under the roller and also the boat may not be centered on the trailer. The latter is magnified with current/ wind.

Both loading and unloading take < 1 minute...

Edited by YJim

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Adam

Here ya go... a quickie...

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SC Fam

Thank you to all!! Now I'm feeling a lot better about it all....nice.

Thanks.

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HOskier313
Silicone spray??? What brand / where do you get it?

As others mentioned, you can buy liquid rollers which is overpriced, as all marine stuff is. I just buy generic silicone spray. It's twice as cheap and is the same stuff. Any auto parts store should carry it.

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BlastRlxi
I've been power loading & unloading boat for years without any issues. Recently local laws have been put in place that forbid power loading & unloading on some ramps. Others don't have issues.

Also, different ramps are different degrees of steepness.

And then my own property is not a ramp, but really just a sandy beach that we launch from.

Because of all these variables, my process tends to change to fit the situation. If it's not very steep, I'll unhook early & back in till the boat is floating. If I have a friend in the boat & know the ramp, I'll back in & hit the brakes so it pushes the boat off the trailer. If it's a steep ramp or I'm not 100% familiar with it, I leave the boat hooked up till I'm at the water's edge, then unhook & back the rest of the way in. Then we'll back the boat out of everyone's way so the ramp is clear, returning only to pick up the truck driver.

Loading is much the same. Back in till the fenders are at the water's surface, then power on to the trailer. If the local ramp doesn't allow power loading, then we'll winch load the last foot or two. Then hook up the safety cable. But it's most important to approach the trailer slow enough that you can back out if there is a problem, yet fast enough that waves & currents don't effect you much. Keep in mind the bunks & guides will help you align the boat on the trailer.

Last summer when I was looking at boats, we looked at a Vride where the owner was so cautious that he pulled the boat on & off the trailer with mooring lines, and kept the boat at the dock while he was parking the truck, blocking the ramp the entire time. I guess if he can't load & unload right, this is the best way to keep the boat in pristine condition. But it was time consuming & blocked the ramp for a good 10 minutes....... something that really chaps me when I am the guy waiting on them. So teach your wife & friends to help you, and trust them to do their part so the process goes smoothly & quickly.

Bill is absolutely right about blocking the ramps. I see it every time we go to the lake. Early on, I gave my wife the choice of driving the boat or the tow vehicle. She picked the boat and has since done all the loading/unloading while I run for the tow vehicle. We still get looks at the ramp from men who are busting their a$$ while their wife sits in the boat and does nothing. It makes the whole process go fast and smooth.

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jcaksume

Be careful with the liquid rollers / silicone spray. I've heard multiple people on here say that if you use the silicone spray to make sure you dont unhook the trailer from the boat until the boat is in the water.

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SacRiverRat

Yup- don't unhook it until you are ready for it to come off ;)

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Sunsetter95

A point of safety.

NEVER NEVER go up the trailer under power with your driver standing at the back of your truck. I have a neighbor whose friends daughter was killed when his boat malfunctioned. It went full throttle up the trailer and crushed her against their truck.

Have them stand to the side while you come up the trailer. Once it has stopped on the bunks to where you will finish pulling it up with the winch, have them then hook the strap and crank it up. Using the liquid rollers will make this an easy task.

Team work at the ramp is much apprieciated by all. It is also a good way to visually teach other that may not have it down.

Do you run your bilge blower on the way down the ramp and while backing it in?

We have ours backed down and off the trailer in just a couple of minutes. The same when pulling it out.

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txwakejunkie
A point of safety.

NEVER NEVER go up the trailer under power with your driver standing at the back of your truck. I have a neighbor whose friends daughter was killed when his boat malfunctioned. It went full throttle up the trailer and crushed her against their truck.

Have them stand to the side while you come up the trailer. Once it has stopped on the bunks to where you will finish pulling it up with the winch, have them then hook the strap and crank it up. Using the liquid rollers will make this an easy task.

Team work at the ramp is much apprieciated by all. It is also a good way to visually teach other that may not have it down.

Do you run your bilge blower on the way down the ramp and while backing it in?

We have ours backed down and off the trailer in just a couple of minutes. The same when pulling it out.

As soon as we get to the ramp my wife gets in the boat and turns the blower on. After she has takin a seat I start backing it in.

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Longjohn

The most important thing is to teach your wife how to do it as well. Most women do not like to back the tow vehicle down the ramp, which is understandable, but they certainly need to learn to drive the boat on/off the trailer. This makes the process so simple and should take less then 30 seconds.

To learn what NOT to do, simply to go a popular boat ramp the first few nice Saturdays of the season. Pull up a lawnchair and observe for about 3 years. You will learn real quick what does not work so well.

For a beginner, I highly recommend going in the middle of the week when the ramp is quiet. This will give you a stress free experience until you become comfortable with the situation. The process is very very simple, but can be extremely stressful for those people who make it more difficult then it really is.

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