A Few pointers on TRAILERING OR TOWING A BOAT or PWC
…Practice makes perfect! …. the trip from your home or boat strorage to the launch ramp can be as challenging as being out on the water. But with some preparation and practice, you can spend more time on the water than the road and more time on the water.
- Pre/Post-Departure Checklist is a must! If you fail to plan … plan to fail! There are some simple items that are easy to overlook: failing to replace your drain plug, and not strapping your boat to the trailer properly. These can be catastrophic. The best ways to eliminate those risks are to have a simple checklist. I have one on a laminated paper, but if you a tech savvy … Use the “notes” function on your smart phone. Also include in that list, Check the lug nuts on your trailer wheels and your tires pressure. Check that the runaway chains are crisscrossed and attached to your tow vehicle. Test the brake light connections. Buy Quality Straps. Finally, secure the outdrive or motor in the upright trailering position.
- Remember to change your driving mode. We are all creatures of habit, It’s easy to forget when you’re driving your car that you have an extra 28 feet of trailer and boat behind you. Pulling into a gas station, food market parking space or fast-food drive through without considering your “wide load” is just asking for trouble. Remember that your trailer has a tighter turning radius than your tow vehicle. So … If you’re just clearing that curb with your car or Pick up, your trailer won’t.
- Watch your weight & Test your brakes Make sure you can stop … Let’s see…trailer, boat, full tanks of fuel on the boat and car, two packed coolers, carload of passengers… You get the idea. Your vehicle will not exactly perform like you’re used to. Pay close attention when you’re merging into traffic and when stopping.. Okay, so once you understand that your payload is much-heavier-than-usual, think about how much longer it will take to make a stop. You have all the extra weight and the laws of physics working against you. Brakes could fail! unlikely, but at least you will give yourself ample room to stop. Have you heard of Jackknifing? If you slam on the brakes; it can lead to jackknifing or cause dangerous trailer sway. Gradually apply pump brakes and that will bring the give you more control.
- Place your Hands on the bottom of the Steering wheel. When you’re backing up, place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. For example; Aim toward the passenger side of your tow vehicle and the trailer will go right (from your perspective). Face forward and let your mirrors be your guide. The most important things to remember are to slow down, don’t panic and use common sense.
- Have common courtesy at the Boat ramp … At the end of the day when you come to retrieve your boat … make sure that after you pull your boat on to the trailer and secure the boat on to the trailer, PULL AWAY FROM THE RAMP … and prepare for trailering home in the parking lot. You never know if someone might need to pull their boat to the ramp in an emergency (running out of fuel or medical emergency)
- After a long day on the water … your reaction time might be less so even more important to have that Post departure check list when preparing to trailer home. Trailering a boat can be the perfect solution for your boating lifestyle. These tips can make sure you spend more time when enjoying your time on the water.
Take a boating Lesson to improve your skills and a boating safety class!
Captain Rick Mendez