Boat Trailer Safety Tips

Not many people know that more damage can be done to a boat in a few miles on the road than in hundreds of miles on the water. In order to properly care for a boat, you must be familiar with the basic guidelines for towing. First of all, select a trailer in which the weight of the boat will be evenly distributed. In other words, the trailer needs to be long enough to support the entire length of the hull, but not so long that the engine cannot hang off the end. Before hitching the trailer to the back of your vehicle, make sure that the tow ball and coupler are the same size, and that all of the bolts are tight. Ensure that the safety chains are attached such that they cross under the coupler. Bumps in the road have the potential to loosen the trailer hitch, so it is crucial to make sure that everything is in order before beginning your journey. Also, take one last look to ensure that the boat is situated on the trailer such that the weight is evenly distributed across both the length and the width. If the bulk of the weight is either too far forward or backward, it can adversely affect the ability of the car to gain traction. Finally, make sure that the lights on the trailer are operational, and that the boat does not obstruct your use of side-view mirrors. Once you are on the road, be aware that you will need more time to accelerate, brake, and stop the vehicle, and that your turning radius will be vastly greater. It is never a bad idea to practice driving with the trailer before loading the boat, preferably in a safe location like an empty parking lot. When you arrive at the waterfront, take a moment to ensure that the boat has not suffered any damage in transit. Raise the lower part of the boat, insert the drain plug into the bottom of the boat, and disconnect all of the trailer lights. Before lowering the boat into the water, make a brief survey of the area to ensure that there are no large or sharp objects. As you launch the boat, keep the rear wheels of the vehicle out of the water, taking care to keep the exhaust pipe dry. When you are in the process of lowering the boat, keep the car in neutral and put blocks behind the tires.

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Last Updated: 05/08/2014