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Trailering Your Boat

Trailering > Trailering Your Boat

  • Loading your boat onto the trailer
  • Securing the boat to the trailer
  • Proper weight distribution
  • Safety on the road
  • Recommended replacement trailer parts

For many people trailering can be a difficult and a dangerous event, but by following a few simple tips it can be a relatively simple process that is safe and easy.

Make sure you have a trailer that fits your boat and ensure that it is properly licensed and set up with brake, tail, and clearance lights. Boat hulls are designed to be supported evenly by water. When you transfer the boat from the water to the trailer it is important to remember that the hull needs to be supported evenly across the trailer. The trailer should be the length of the boat but not any longer so that the lower unit of the engine is able to extend without restraint.

Trailering Safety Tips
Following these important safety tips will allow you to enjoy more time on the water and keep your boat and equipment in good shape for a long time.

#1 When pulling your boat up to the trailer, pay special attention to wind direction, water current, depth of water, and other boaters around you.

#2 Carefully approach the submerged trailer at idle speed and raise the lower unit of your engine.

#3 Once the boat is over the trailer, attach the winch strap or cable to the bow eye and winch the boat up onto the trailer until it hits the bow stop.

#4 Rollers and bunks must be in good condition and adjusted properly so that the hull doesn't get scratched or punctured.

#5 Tie-downs must be used when trailering your boat. Secure the bow eye with a winch strap as well as a safety chain. Use a couple of tie-downs along the gunwale of the boat, as well as a couple to tie-down the transom. Also, it is important to use a motor support or transom saver so that the engine isn't bouncing around when driving.

Once the boat is securely on the trailer you'll want to check a couple of things before you get going.

#6 Safety chains should be attached from the tongue of your trailer to your vehicle. The chains should be long enough to reach the vehicle with ease so that your turning radius isn't affected but short enough to keep the tongue of the trailer from hitting the ground if the hitch fails. The chains should crisscross under the coupler and attach to the frame of your towing vehicle.

#7 The amount of weight you can tow depends on the capacity of your trailer as well as your towing vehicle. As a general rule, never exceed 85% of the rated weight of the trailer including the motor, equipment, and other gear you have in the boat.

#8 It is important to have the proper amount of tongue weight when towing your boat. Too much weight will cause damage to the engine and transmission of your towing vehicle as well as make steering much more difficult. Too little weight will cause your trailer to weave and fishtail. In order to adjust the amount of weight that is on the tongue of your trailer, you will need to distribute the weight evenly in your boat so that it is not all in the front or in the rear.

#9 Remember to allow more time to pass, brake, and stop when towing your boat. When making turns, don't forget you are towing a trailer. Your turning radius is much bigger with a trailer and will require you to make wider turns. On longer trips, it is wise to stop from time to time to make sure straps have not loosened and that everything is secure.

Remember these important procedures when launching your boat.

  1. Remove the tie-downs and motor support.
  2. Disconnect the trailer lights from the towing vehicle (prevents shorting of electrical system).
  3. Make sure the drain plug is installed.
  4. Visually inspect the launch ramp for sharp objects and steep drop-offs.
  5. Keep the rear wheels of the vehicle out of the water as much as possible when backing the trailer down the ramp.
  6. Set the parking brake and place blocks behind rear wheels.
  7. Lower the motor and prepare to start the engine.
  8. Start the motor and make sure water is passing through the engine cooling system.
  9. Unhook the winch strap and safety cable from the bow eye.
  10. Have fun on the water.

From time to time you will need to replace certain parts on your trailer as they become old or broken. Shop iboats.com for a huge selection of trailer parts like boat guides, rollers, winches, lights, trailer jacks, and wheels and tires.

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