How to safely tow a trailered boat?

Unless you are lucky enough to have a waterfront property, you are stuck, just like the rest of the boating community, with towing your boat several miles to the water.

If you need to transport your boat from your house to your favorite waterbody, you will either have to hire or buy a boat trailer. As long as the trailer and your tow vehicle are properly hooked up, safely towing a trailered boat is a relatively easy process.

But even though towing a boat behind a vehicle is easy enough, there are a few precautions you will have to take in order to avoid accidents or damage to your boat.

Even if you have been towing a trailered boat for a long time, you may still find a tip or two here that will come in handy sometime in the future.

Invest in the right trailer

When you go looking for a boat trailer, be sure to pick out something that will match your tow vehicle. The ideal boat trailer is one that matches the weight and dimensions of your boat so that it is not overloaded during transit. 

To get your trailer right, be sure to check your vehicle’s towing ability before renting or buying. Some of the details you should pay special attention to are the tow rating, gross combined weight rating, gross vehicle weight rating, gross axle weight, and your vehicle’s curb weight. Keep in mind that some of these ratings do not factor in passenger and boat cargo, so the best thing is to err on the side of caution and go for a trailer that can handle a bit more than your specification.

To avoid making a mistake, especially if you are a first-time buyer, look for a knowledgeable seller to buy from. For example, if you buy boat trailers with Lucca, the knowledgeable salesperson will be able to help you make the right choice. 

If you are buying the boat trailer (which is definitely a more investment-friendly choice than renting), be sure to also invest in a set of towing mirrors for improved visibility. 

Hook up your new trailer to your tow vehicle 

Once the boar trailer has transferred into your ownership, you can hook it up to your towing vehicle. Be sure to check and confirm that your vehicle’s hitch is securely bolted to the trailer’s frame. You should also check to confirm that the hitch is free from rust and still strong enough to perform its function. 

Before you hook up the trailer, first go through this checklist:

  • Inspect the trailer thoroughly to determine if there are any hidden faults
  • Check to confirm that the running gear is working properly
  • Inspect the tires for wear and tear
  • Check tire pressure and inflate appropriately
  • Check that the wheel bearings are in good shape that the grease is still fresh
  • Properly inspect the entire frame of the trailer to ensure that it can support your boat

After carrying out this essential checklist, you can proceed to hook up the trailer. Check to confirm that the trailer’s weight is balanced on all sides and that the safety chains are engaged. Finally, remember to set up the trailer lights so that cars behind you can see when you are turning and braking.

Do a test drive

Before loading your boat and heading out, it is wise you do a test drive to see how your new trailer moves. This will also give you the opportunity to test the lights and the brakes (if you trailer have brakes). 

You should also use this opportunity to test the feel while steering and turning. If the trailer feels unbalanced, you should check that you did the connections properly and that the trailer tires are actually in good shape. 

Once everything is set to your satisfaction, you can proceed with loading your boat. Be sure to check that your boat is properly secured on the trailer and that all the chains and latches are properly engaged.

Driving while towing a trailered boat

If you did everything right, you can drive while towing a trailered boat with ease. Simply obey all the traffic rules and just drive as normal as possible.

One thing though, whether you are a rookie is towing or a pro, it is important that you take things easy while driving with a trailered boat. You should definitely not drive at the same speed as you would without a tow behind you, and when you take turns, don’t take them too quickly and try to be as wide as possible so that you don’t scrape your boat.

You should also leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the car ahead of you. This will give you enough time and space to use your brakes should the need arise. 

Once you arrive at your destination, take your time to slow down your vehicle and pack with room to spare. Then take a few minutes to do a post-arrival checklist on your trailer to ensure that everything is okay. For example, if you notice the hubs are hot to the touch, it may mean you have problems with the bearing and this should be checked by a qualified technician as soon as possible. 

Wrapping up

As you can see, driving with a trailered boat is not rocket science, neither is it brain surgery. As long as you follow the tips and instructions in this article, you will leave home and arrive your destination with your boat in tow, all in one piece. 

Happy boating.

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