Make your boat trailer-ready
Whether you’re planning to take your boat to the lake or a distant destination, consider these tips to make your boat trailer-ready.
Before you go
- Check all tire surfaces for defects, and inflate tires to their maximum pressure.
- Ensure that the bearings are free of water and properly greased.
- Lubricate the hitch and ball with grease.
- Test the trailer lights and connector thoroughly.
- Put the boat tie-downs in place and check for proper holding.
- Ensure all boat systems are operational.
- Use safety chains strong enough to support the trailer’s tongue weight. Instead of S-hooks, use hooks with safety latches to hook chains to the hitch.
- Ensure the trailer’s nuts, bolts, and supports, as well as the vehicle hitch and ball hitch are in place and tight. Locking nuts with nylon inserts deteriorate over time, and anything bolted or welded can fall off or fail.
- Make a short trial run to an empty parking lot to practice your handling and backing skills.
On the road
- Position the tow vehicle’s mirrors so you can see the trailer tires and other traffic.
- Actuate your trailer’s brakes to remove accumulated rust in the brake drum, especially if you haven’t used them in some time.
- Stop and check the wheel bearings for overheating after traveling a few miles. Also, check that the brakes are working by feeling the heat they create. (Careful! Brakes can be hot to the touch.)
- Check the tires, hitch and tie-downs when you stop. During a long trip, check them every time you stop.
Repeating the process before bringing the boat home at the end of the summer or for an extended stay. –Jerry Le Cocq
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.