With so many new boaters expected on the water this summer, many of them must understand the basics of trailering and launching a boat. This post details everything you need to know.
STEP 1: TRAILER PREP
Trailering a boat has many advantages and being successful at trailering and launching a boat begins with proper trailer preparation. When trailering it’s important to make sure the hitch connection is secure, the safety chains are attached and crossed, and the proper size ball and receiver are used. Also, the receiver must be locked down so the trailer doesn’t pop off the hitch.
Other important items include making sure your trailer lights are working properly, you have the trailer tag visible, the motor is trimmed up so it doesn’t scrape the ground (and it’s supported), the boat is properly tied to the trailer, the boat is tight to the bow stop and the bow safety chain is attached. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure the tires and wheel hubs are in great condition and everything is secure inside the boat so nothing blows away or becomes a dangerous missile on the road.
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STEP 2: IMPORTANT TOWING CONSIDERATIONS
Once underway, there are few things you’ll want to remember to ensure your journey is safe and problem-free. The first thing is to remember to take all turns a little wider than normal. This will prevent the trailer from running over objects or curbs (or gas station pumps). The second thing you’ll want to remember is to frequently view the boat, trailer, and trailer wheels for any signs of problems.
Opening the car windows and periodically listening for rubbing or odd noises also is a good idea. Other important towing considerations include making sure you allow for longer stopping distances due to the added weight to your vehicle and you also consider the clearance height of the boat when approaching any low-clearance locations.
STEP 3: LAUNCHING YOUR BOAT
When you arrive at the ramp it’s important to prepare for the launch by stopping at the staging area before you enter the ramp. This will allow you to get your boat set up for the day without causing others any inconvenience. Also, you’ll want to make sure the boat plug is secured, tie-downs are removed, the vehicle is in four-wheel drive (if you have it), the motor is ready to be trimmed down, the battery is on and the bow safety chain is still attached.
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STEP 4: KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE
In all my years of boating, there’s nothing as important and meaningful as knowledge gained through experience. It’s great to jump-start your skills through online knowledge, but there’s nothing quite like going through the motions and experiencing it over and over. Using the knowledge you’ve gained and the combined experience will make you an expert in trailering and launching a boat in no time.
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If you want a head start to becoming proficient with trailering and launching a boat as well as being able to drive a boat with confidence, consider taking my online boating course. For about the price of one tank of boat fuel, you’ll become a better boater much quicker than most.
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