Launch Procedures

  • All vessels must arrive to Big Bear Lake CLEAN, DRAINED, and DRY. No exceptions!!!

  • All vessels (motorized and non-motorized) must be inspected by WIT I certified staff prior to launching.

  • Check your boat before coming to the ramp. Every season, especially at the beginning of the season, boaters have mechanical issues with poorly running engines, worn impellers, dead batteries, broken shift cables, etc. and end up not being able to launch. Service your engine before coming to the ramp. When possible, run your engines at home to ensure everything is working properly and then drain it. Charge your batteries as they have a tendency to discharge over time.

  • Put fresh fuel in your boat! and no, your fuel gauge doesn’t work properly. I can’t tell you how many boats are towed in where the operator says, “but my gas gauge says half a tank!!”

  • Don’t “roll the dice” and launch a poorly running vessel. While Lake Patrol may tow you in if they are available, this is not their primary responsibility and it could take a while on a busy day, or early or late season evening.

  • Learn how to back your trailer before coming to the ramp. Good places to practice are large parking lots after the close of business. A busy holiday weekend is not the time to try this for the first time.

  • Once at the ramp, prepare your vessel for launching well away from the ramp. Load boat with food, water skis, tubes, fishing gear, etc. in the parking lot before you back onto the ramp. The busy ramp is not the place to take everything out of your vehicle and put it into your boat while others wait on you!

  • Unhook tie down straps and put in the bilge plug in the parking lot, not on the ramp while others are waiting.

  • Use two people to launch whenever possible. One to operate the vessel and one to drive the tow vehicle.

  • Leave the winch strap connected until the vessel is in the water and operational. Put the boat in deep enough to start the motor but not deep enough to float off the trailer. Start the motor. Once motor is running, unhook winch strap and back the trailer in deep enough to float the boat.

  • Once the boat is in the water, have your partner move it away from the dock to await your return from parking the vehicle. Your partner can motor around outside the courtesy dock areas and re-approach to pick you up.

  • Never block the ramp with an unattended vessel or vehicle. Whether launching or retrieving, the launch protocol remains the same. Do not cut in front of others who have waited in line. Always adhere to staff directions, at times they may be able to launch you before someone else depending on the circumstances at the ramp line.

  • Never park your boat on the inside of the courtesy dock fingers. This tends to block those trying to launch or retrieve their vessels. Always park your vessel on the outside of the courtesy dock fingers.

  • When retrieving, do not pull your vessel into the launch ramp until the towing vehicle is at the ramp. The line is formed by vehicles with trailers, not by vessels in the water. Drop off the vehicle driver and wait offshore and clear of the ramp until they arrive with the trailer.

  • Ramp Attendants are designated Lake Ranges and Lake Patrol Officers are peace officers under California law. Lake regulations are designed for your safety and that of others. Failure to follow the instructions of District personnel could result in revocation of your Lake Use Permit.

  • A little common sense, patience, and consideration for others will go a long way to ensuring a pleasant and safe day on the lake for all!

  • You don’t want to end up on the website below!


Funding for quagga and zebra mussel infestation prevention activities has been provided through an agreement with the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. The contents of this web page do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation of their use.