The main job of boat trailer parts are to tow or store your boat but you can also use it to launch and retrieve your boat from the water.
Boat trailers are made up of several different components. They all have different jobs that when working properly and together make for a smooth nautical adventure. From the bigger couplers, tongues, and jacks to the trailer lights and safety chains, all boat trailer parts need to be maintained to safely operate your trailer.
Keeping your trailer in top condition is just as important as taking care of your boat...without a trailer you won't get very far!
Most of us live within 90 miles of boat accessible waterways. And the fact is most recreational boats are trailered to and from the water. Trailering your boat can add new dimensions to the freedom that comes with boating, that's one of the reasons it's so popular. You are free to boat just about anywhere: Lakes, rivers, bays or inlets. Using a boat trailer is also the most affordable way to store a boat.
If you have never trailered a boat there are several things to consider. First, the towing capacity of your car, truck or SUV. Most standard pickup trucks or SUVs can trailer boats up to 25 feet, but always check information about towing capacity in your vehicle's owner's manual. When shopping for a trailer make sure that it bears the national Marine Manufacturers Association certification label. This means it complies with established industry standards and federal safety regulations.
Safely hitch the trailer to your vehicle using these steps. First back the ball under the hitch and couple it. Latch the hitch by inserting the safety pin and connect the safety chains. It's always a good idea to cross the chains. Connect the lights. If your trailer is equipped with brakes, connect the safety brakes cable to the vehicle. After that's done check the headlights, brake lights and turn signals to ensure all trailer lights are working.
Now you're ready to go. Before setting out, plan your trip well using a map and noting turns and exit numbers. If you can plan your route online and printout directions, all the better. In general it helps to travel about 5 mph slower than the traffic on the highway. Stay in the right lane unless passing. You'll get there with less stress and nearly as quickly. Stop periodically to check the wheel hubs for excessive heat a sign of problems.
Leave plenty of space in front of you when you drive. Even a trailer with brakes will double a vehicle's emergency stopping distance. Turning a corner with a trailer takes double the arc. Check traffic before you start a turn and swing wide enough to avoid curbs, signs or any other obstructions on the inside of your turn.
Pulling a boat holds a few challenges for boaters. But the steepest learning curve comes with backing the trailer into its parking place or into the ramp. It's not intuitive and in fact it works just the opposite of how you think it should. In essence when you steer, you turn the wheel in the opposite direction. For example if you want the trailer to back to the right, you have to push the tongue to the left. And if you want to back it to the left, you have to push the tongue to the right.
With most boats is best to look over your shoulder and drive with the left hand. Remember you're pushing the trailer not pulling it. Practice in an empty parking lot with lots of space until you get hang of it.
It's important to maintain your boat trailer. Hubs and lights get dunked twice every time you go boating. Pamper both as you would your boat, it's an essential element of boat trailer maintenance. Periodically inspect the hubs by popping off the cap. If the bearings are dry add grease. Have a friend or family member occasionally stand behind your trailer and make sure to brake lights, tail lights and turn signals work. As with your boat, a thorough fresh-water cleaning of your trailer after each use way extend its life. It's also a good idea to invest in a spare tire just in case.