Why Pickups have to go in the Water: How not to lose your truck to the lake!

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Pickups and SUVs have to go into the water some at boat ramps, as this is necessary to get the boat off of the trailer. However, that is both a necessity, but also a risk when you are driving your truck. In this article, we are going to talk about why pickups have to go into the water to launch their boat, and also things you should keep an eye on to make sure your truck doesn’t go too far and join the boat in the lake.

So why do trucks go into the water at boat ramps?

Trucks have to back into the water at a boat ramp slightly so that the boat will be able to go far enough into the water to become buoyant. Because trailers have some height to them, it sometimes can mean that the water will even be touching the front tires before the boat is far enough into the water to float on its own and be able to be removed.

As long as you back your truck up slowly, and practice ahead of time (if you are new) you should have no problems with launching your boat, but not your truck.

What should you keep an eye on to not lose your truck in the water?

The worst thing that can happen when you are backing your truck and boat up into the water, is that the truck goes into the water as well! This is generally a result of someone not paying attention and following the steps you need to keep you from losing your truck. Let’s quickly go over some things you need to be doing to make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

Back up slowly-

One of the main reasons people lose their trucks in the water is because they back up too quickly and don’t give themselves enough time to correct if something goes wrong. When you are in a tight spot like this, it is always better to go slow so that you have time to react if needed.

Always use your parking brake when off-loading the boat

Even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes, it is always a good idea to use your parking brake. This will help to keep your truck in place, and if something does happen you will at least have the brake holding the truck back.

If you are someone who doesn’t like to use your parking brake, at least use it in this situation! Some boat ramps can be quite steep, and you really shouldn’t rely on only your parking gear to keep your truck from backing into the lake.

Put your truck into 4-Wheel-Drive when leaving the ramp

Once you are done unloading your boat, it is always a good idea to put your truck into four-wheel drive. This will help you get out of the ramp much easier and will help you avoid any potential problems.

If the ramp is slippery, you might find that you can’t get enough grip, and your truck will start to move backward, farther into the lake. That is why 4WD will come in extremely helpful in a time like this.

Only back up as far as you need to

This goes back to backing up slowly- you only want to back up as far as you need to to get the boat off of the trailer. If you go too far, not only will you lose your truck, but you might also damage the boat.

What can you do if you lose your truck in the lake?

If you find that, for whatever reason, you have lost your truck in the lake and it is now submerged underwater, there are a few things you can do.

First and foremost, don’t panic! This might seem like an impossible situation, but with some quick thinking and planning, you can get yourself out of this.

Ultimately, you should consult legal council if this ever happens. However this is the direction I would go.

Call a tow truck

The first thing you need to do is call a tow truck. This will be the best way to get your truck out of the water, and they will be able to help you with whatever else you might need.

Make sure you have insurance!

This one should go without saying, but if you are going to be driving your truck near water you should always have insurance. This will help to cover any potential costs that might come up if something happens.

If you are unable to get the truck out of the water on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are plenty of people who would be more than happy to assist you in this

Start looking for a new vehicle

Unfortunately, a flooded vehicle is not one you should be thinking about keeping long-term. Water can be terrible for transmissions, engines, electronics and more.

Unless you have a lot of money to spend on repairs, it might be time to start looking for a new vehicle. Just make sure you keep your old truck in mind when doing so- you might be able to get some good parts off of it!


Backing your pickup into the water at a boat ramp is a necessity to get your boat off of the trailer. However, it can also be a risky situation if you’re not careful. By following these tips, you can make sure that you safely back your truck and boat up into the water without any problems!