While your regular Boats Blog author has been on vacation, Trailer and Outboard Expert Charles Plueddeman has been in search of boat ramps. Or more specifically, a new way of finding your next launch site.

Public boat ramps in Florida

Boat Ramps displays a list of launch ramps and marina within the selected radius of a location.


Here's his review of "Boat Ramps."
—John Burnham

Trailer boaters who like to roam may find some utility in the recently updated version of Boat Ramps, an application for the iPhone/iTouch that includes a database of more than 45,000 launch ramps and marina-based launch facilities located in the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia. The app allows the user to search for ramps within a specified radius of his current location, by U.S. ZIP code, or by city name. Tap the name of a ramp, and you’ll usually get a listing with a street and LAT/LON address, a phone number, and a brief note on facilities. The Boat Ramps app ties into the iPhone Maps application to produce a standard or satellite map with the ramp location pin-pointed, and the ability to request a driving route and directions from your present location.

Boat Ramps displays a list of launch ramps and marina within the selected radius of a location (left) and pinpoints those locations on the iPhone Maps application (right).

Locations (above) are then pinpointed on the iPhone Maps application.

I thought a good way to test Boat Ramps would be to look for ramps I know and use. The Evinrude dealer two blocks away was the first ramp listed when I searched from my home in Oshkosh, Wis., but the very busy public ramp at a county park right across the river was not listed. Neither was the small public launch ramp at our summer lake cottage. A number of other small, back-country ramps in the area were listed, however. A state park on Lake Winnebago with a good-size marina facility was listed, but there was no phone number in the description. On the other hand, most locations I’m familiar with in Florida were listed, and the information was more complete.

There’s a function on the first page of Boat Ramps that lets the user add a boat ramp or marina to the data base. Enter the ramp name and address and other info, and it will be uploaded to the app administrator, verified, and then added to the database and downloaded to all users the next time they log on.

According to the Boat Ramp creator Derek Trauger, this on-going process is gradually making Boat Ramps a more-comprehensive list – more than 600 ramp and marina sites were added in December alone, according to Trauger. The cost to download Boat Ramps from iTunes is only 99 cents. It’s an application that functions well and will get better as the database is expanded. Boat Ramps requires the iPhone OS 3.0 to run.

Here's a link to download Boat Ramp from iTunes.