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Taking your boat along on a vacation? If you are towing your boat on a trailer, a few things you will need to do are:

Check your tires. Make sure they don’t show sidewall cracks or tread wear. Take along a pair of spare tires, especially if yours is a multi-axle trailer.

Make sure your wheel bearings are in good condition and well greased. It’s smart to carry a few extra sets of wheel bearings and seals. If a bearing failure occurs on the road, finding the set you need may be difficult.

Covering your boat for travel can be a trying task. Your factory canvas that snaps on may not hold up to highway conditions. If the snaps or zippers come loose, they can permanently mar fiberglass, isinglass or paint finishes. They may also tear loose and flap in the wind, increasing the damage. A cover can be helpful while traveling but it has to fit tight and if it doesn’t, shrink-wrap could better serve your needs.

Before you get underway, check your brakes; some states require brakes on all axles, others do not. To avoid possible delays, call or look online to determine requirements in states you will pass through.

Once loaded and ready to hit the road, be sure to have your boat held tight with the winch, and then add a safety chain from the bow to the trailer frame. Make sure the boat is fastened down solidly at the stern corners. When hooked up to the tow vehicle, check all your trailer lights. Take along a few extra bulbs – they could come in handy.

Boat trailers are designed to carry a “fitted” load with weight limits. If you load a lot of extra items in the boat, you may be overloaded which really can cause problems, including a ticket from the highway patrol.

Call ahead to be certain adequate facilities will be available. Many marinas limit their services. Take along a complete set of charts of the areas you will encounter. Note the GPS coordinates and other pertinent data in those port areas. Be sure your VHF and other equipment is in good working order and have a great cruise.

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One Response to Have A Great Trip

  1. David Giddings says:

    The “kit” I always recommended for people taking a trip of any length included ratchet straps, tools to repair stuck brakes, flashlights and warning triangles, fix-a-flat cans, extra long jumper cables that could reach back to the boat battery from the truck and more. My “Ask Dave” blog was fun to produce back in the day. The ratchet strap can tie up a blown tire to the fender if the wheel was slotted/open, allowing travel to continue. Cheers

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