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Power Loading

Power loading is when a boater remains in their boat and keeps the motor trim low to "power" the boat onto the trailer, vs. using a bow line and the boarding dock to "walk and guide" the boat onto the trailer.  Power loading may be faster, but it's costly and impacts everyone who uses the boat ramp.  For longer wake board boats that do not have winch mechanisms, operators are strongly encouraged to "bump" the throttle just enough to dislodge the boat from the trailer and shift into neutral quickly to prevent scouring from power loading.
Here's what happens:

What happens when boaters "power load."
Power loading causes damage to the toe of the boat ramp that requires costly repairs and may damage your trailer.

When the toe of a boat ramp is undermined, it compromises the integrity of the ramp itself, causing damage to the rebar and other material on the ramp.  This can cause boat ramps to be shut down, as is the case for Clackamette Park, in Clackamas County.  In many cases, the boat ramp requires a complete rebuild that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And these are boater dollars that come from registration and titling fees.  So it really behooves all boaters to protect "their" investment, and take the extra 5 minutes to properly load their boat onto the boat trailer.  View a short video from the Boat-Ed study guide about power loading.

Images below: Brownlee Reservoir in 2015 during the drought.  OSMB staff surveyed the ramp toe for damage.  
Brownlee Reservoir during a low water survey to assess damage to ramp toe
Looking at the end of the ramp...

Brownlee Reservoir ramp toe and the "hole" from power loading
Looking from the side of the ramp toe.

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