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Boating Know How
Tips on caring for my trailer

Boat Trailer and Towing Tips – 5 Must-know Tips For Any Boater

When towing a boat, many people simply load it on the trailer, hook it up to the vehicle and start the journey. It only takes them a few minutes to realize that towing a boat is a different ball game. ... read more The car’s handling, stability, maneuverability and many other factors change. The following boat trailer and towing tips will undoubtedly come handy to both a novice as well as an experienced boater.

1. Protection

A boat is always under risk of damage when being towed. This is because it is designed to be used in water. This becomes even more critical when being driven on rough terrains, unbeaten path, or a road with too many potholes. The shock, vibration and bumps may damage the boat and also the inboard/outboard or outdrive motor. To minimize the damage use a transform saver, keel guard, skeg protector, and other boat supports during towing.

Properly set up on a trailer

2. Braking

You should always pay special attention to the braking system. Attaching a boat to the vehicle puts more stress on the tires, brakes and braking system. Rule-of-thumb states that when the weight of the boat and trailer exceeds 2000lbs, the trailer should have its owned distinct set of brakes. You may install the surge/ hydraulic or electric brakes. Remember, it will require a longer distance to stop.

3. Weight Distribution

Poor weight distribution such as when a boat leans on one side or is tied unevenly will cause undue stress on the vehicle as well as driver. Always try to center the boat and redistributing the equipment on board the boat. The vehicle and boat should be perpendicular/parallel to the ground. In order not to overload the hitch, the tongue weight should be at least 10% of the weight of the trailer and boat. For example a 600-pound tongue will be suited for a boat and trailer weighing 6000lbs.

4. Harnessing

Boats have been damaged or lost simply because of failing to secure it properly. A loose or broken strap/ cord led to the boat hitting the hard asphalt/tarmac or falling off the trailer. To avoid such incidences always use ratchet straps to secure the vessel. It’s also advisable to make sure the winch strap on the trailer is fastened to the bow eye. Walking-round the boat after short distances is highly advisable.

5. Speed

To make sure the boat reaches the desired location in one-piece always adjust your driving habits to suit the situation. Avoid instant braking, sharp cornering or swerving, or speeding through the rough terrain. This will not only wear you out but also damage the boat. Towing pundits advise that the activities done during normal driving should be reduced by half when towing a boat. For instance reducing the speed by half.

Towing a boat in a safe and effective manner is more than just hooking it up to an SUV (sports-utility vehicle), or pick-up truck with lots of power and torque. It’s also about getting first-hand experience before hitting the road. For instance, you may try backing-up (reversing), turning or braking while at a safe location. Online resources and discussion forums also provide boat trailer and towing tips. Finally, never exceed the rated towing capacity.
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