An App or website that gives details about all U.S. boat ramps?

Started by Trailz, Sep 22, 2023, 10:58 PM

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I looked, but the only ones I can find are not very robust.

Does anyone have one they use to travel around the U.S.?



I've towed cruising boats 21' to 28' all over the USA and Canada for 40 years and have had good luck everywhere, usually with no advance knowledge.  One contributing factor is to not have much in the way of special needs for your gear, like no fixed keel on the boat, a vehicle that can handle ramps with a steep slope, a hull that sits low enough on the trailer so as to it floats off on shallow ramps, etc. 


I don't know of any web-accessible info on all US ramps.  It's going to be constantly changing.  Lake levels change, trees and overhead wires are added and/or removed, side docks deteriorate and get fixed, and the concrete ramp breaks up occasionally causing holes.

When possible, I scout out a ramp before using.  Or call a local marina on a weekday - for example I called a marina on a lake near Raleigh.  Found out the ramp is fine but there are 2 road bridges on either side with 25ft clearance (my chart didn't show clearance).  I need 30ft with the mast up.  Finally, as I approach a ramp, I can tell pretty rapidly if the ramp is going to work out for me or not.  And in almost all cases, there are other good ramps nearby.

That said, as Nick pointed out, having a fully retractable centerboard boat that mostly fits between the wheel wells and an AWD tow vehicle certainly helps the usability of any given ramp.  The 2 things that have stopped me from using particular ramps in my home area are overhead wires/overhanging tree limbs in close proximity, and wheel swallowing potholes in the ramp.

Fred W
Stuart Mariner 19 #4133  Sweet P
Yeopim Creek, Albemarle Sound, NC

Doug SC

Check with state DNR websites for public boat ramp access.

You can use the Dockwa app for marina dock and mooring reservations listed by states. Many may have ramps associated with them.

You might also try a google search for nearby ramps.


I really wish an app like this existed, and this gap in knowledge is why I started writing ramp reviews on the regional boards in this forum.

When I first got started trailer sailing in the seattle area, Towing and launching any kind of boat was new to me and I didnt know any other boat owners to ask for advice. There are so many "Gotcha's" on the ramps around here that I had to find out the hard way. A couple examples:

*The ramp at shilshole doesnt go out far enough to launch boats when its a really low tide.
*The ramp at Kenmore is unusable in winter to boats with >21" draft because lake washingtons water level drops a foot and a half and the approach gets really shallow.
*The Ramp in lake Cle Elum starts to get unusable in different points in late summer because the lake is drawn down so far to support agriculture.
*You can get randomly locked out from the ramp in Lake Kachess in early afternoon because there's a nearby beach and they close all access to the park when the beach fills up.
Vessel: Precision 165 "Irresolute"
Home Waters: Coastal Washington

Wayne Howard

I quickly googled about a boat ramp app and there are several out there. However, I believe they are all geared to powerboats and I could not see any information about things like trees and powerlines between the parking area and the ramp. Or warnings about shallow areas at the ramp. Case in point is a ramp on Matagorda Bay. We had no problem launching the 21 footer with its 18" draft but we ran aground just past the ramp while still next to the dock. People "powerload" their boats and that dug a big hole at the ramp and pushed the dirt out about 20 feet. And we ran aground on the hump. Plus you had to dodge the powerline across half of the ramp because the county put up a streetlight.
Wayne Howard
Master and Commander of S/V Impetuous
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

Brian N.

Most trailer powerboats would not face the same problems as a sailboat, such as deeper draft or overhead clearance. The predominance of powerboat ratings would render the rating useless for sailboats.

Like Straander said local knowledge is paramount. Most local ramps here are shallow slope, making them very tide dependent. Until a couple of years ago the town ramp had overhead wires way too close to the setup area. Another town run ramp leads out right over a shallow bar. A third ramp which is fairly steep and would otherwise be perfect has a massive tidal current. Any app would need such information, contributed by locals.
Fair winds
Brian N.

Riley Smith

Here's an example of a good site for our state;
click display ramps on interactive map...

I know most of the ramps within 50 miles or so, and almost all I can think of in this part of the world are well-built and designed. Yes, there are problems as Fred mentioned, and eyes on the situation are sometimes all important. The worst ramp I ever encountered was in Pensacola; very shallow and sandy and I suspect not really intended for what I asked of it. Maybe more geared to kayaks. Back the pick-up to the water and throw the yak in. But S R Cat is pretty small in a strangely big way, and I haven't found a place I tried to launch that I couldn't. That said launching at that particular ramp wasn't the issue. Maybe the tide went down but I had hell getting that large-hipped boat  back on the trailer by myself.