Boat Trailer

Your boat trailer is an important part of your boating equipment. All too often a trailer does not receive the attention that it demands and deserves. After selecting the appropriate trailer for your boat and towing vehicle, proper maintenance and continual care when hitching and towing are necessary. If care and maintenance are neglected, you may be endangering the safety of your boat, your car, your family, yourself and others.

Choose the right trailer for your boat. More damage can be done to a boat by the stresses of road travel than by normal water operation. The trailer should be designed to carry the total weight of the hull, engine, equipment, and extra gear normally carried.

The coupling hitch on the trailer should have a lock or similar device to prevent it from vibrating loose. Periodically lubricate the hitch for longer wear and quieter turns. The trailer should have a least one, preferably two, safety chains strong enough to control the trailer if the hitch should come loose or break. The chains should be securely attached to the towing vehicle at a place separate from the ball and bracket. They should be long enough to allow turning but not long enough to drag on the ground.

Extra caution is necessary when towing any trailer. The heavier the rig, the more time it takes to accelerate, pass and stop. Most boats on trailers obstruct the rear view of the driver. When this happens, a rear view mirror on each side of the towing vehicle is required by law.

Make sure your vehicle is capable of towing the trailer. Be sure the engine, transmission, cooling system and brakes can withstand the strain that towing will put on them.

Out of courtesy to others, and to prevent rushing, prepare your boat for launching away from the ramp.

If you must leave your vehicle on the ramp, set the parking brake, block the wheels, and set the transmission in "park."

Never allow anyone to stand in line with the winch cable when it's in operation or has a strain on it.

Review our in-depth Boat Insurance Guide.

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