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Safety Chains How-To's

Trailering a Boat

Trailering a Boat

This Boat-Ed safety course video discusses safety procedures for hauling boats on trailers, as well as launching and retrieving boats with trailers. ... read more

Video Transcript

If you tow your boat on a trailer; boating safety begins before you ever leave home. Here are some key things to remember.

Secure your vessel to the trailer with several tie-down straps or safety lines to prevent it from shifting. Never trust the bell winch alone to hold your vessel onto the trailer. Put your engine or drive unit in a raised position and secure it.

Make sure your trailer won't get away from you by attaching the safety chains between the trailer and the towing vehicle; crisscrossing them under the truck. Then check the tire pressure on the trailer and make sure the brake lights are working. And when you're on the road, remember that you'll need more time to stop because of the extra weight.

When you launch your boat; be sure to get it ready before you back down the ramp. Transfer all your gear and supplies. Then disconnect the trailer lines. Remove all-tie down straps and make sure the drain plug is in place. Leave the trailer winch line attached. Tie a rope to the vessel's valve for more control while you launch.

When you're ready to launch; back the boat into the water just enough to cover the lower unit. Set the parking brake on a towing vehicle. Then start the engine. If you've got problem while the boat is still on the trailer; it's easy to pull forward and fix it. After the engine warms up; back the trailer into the water until vessel floats under the winch line. Put the boat engine in reverse and back slowly off the trailer.

When you load your boat, back the trailer into the water, so about 2/3 of the rollers or bums are submerge. Set the parking brake on the towing vehicle. Move vessel onto your trailer, close enough to the bell winch to attach the lines securely. Then finish pulling the vessel onto the trailer with a winch.

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