boat trailer wheel

QUICK GUIDE TO BOAT TOWING SAFETY

Towing a boat takes some practice. If you are new to towing a boat it is always best to do it with someone who has experience. No matter what type of boat or size of boat you tow, you will be faced with some unique dangers. Here is a look at some simple tips to towing your boat safely.

INSPECTION

Always inspect your boat, trailer and hitch before moving – this is just commonsense but you will be surprised how many people don’t stop to give everything a good check. Make sure your vehicle and trailer are properly hitched, including the brake safety cable and the safety chains. Make sure your safety chains are crossed over to support the tongue of the trailer just in case something goes wrong.

CORRECT POSITION

If there is any heavy gear on your boat, make sure it is in the centre of the boat and above the trailer’s axles. Your trailer tongue weight should be around 10-15% of the total load. If this is not the case, it is easy for the trailer to start swaying. Ensure your towing vehicle’s load is also even.

FINAL INSPECTION

Always check all your lights, brake lights and indicators are working properly before departure. This is something that many of those who tow a trailer and boat start to neglect over time. Don’t let yourself fall into the habit of not going through a proper check each time before departing.

WHEN TOWING YOUR BOAT

These tips will help you drive more safely when towing a boat.

• Always take wide turns – never hug the inside of a turn because your boat will follow a tighter arc behind you
• Leave extra room in front of you because you need more distance for stopping
• If you are hit by crosswinds, take your foot off the accelerator but do not use your brakes
• Get used to using your sideview mirrors because you won’t see anything but your boat from your rearview mirror
• Practice backing up because this is one of the hardest parts of trailering – it is nearly impossible to reverse in a straight line
• Never drive alone if you do not have experience
• Practice on quiet roads until you build your confidence
• Always check your trailer wheel hubs after towing to make sure they are not hot – heat indicates the bearings are worn

 


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Martin White
martinw@dinga.com.au

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.