Boat Like A Pro Part 1
How To Trailer Your Boat
It doesn’t matter if you’re on your first A20 or your tenth A24, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals of trailering your boat. It’s relatively simple as long as you check the boxes every step of the way, and this guide will help. Here’s the process of getting safely from your driveway to the ramp.
Grab Your Gear
There’s nothing worse than getting to the ramp and realizing you forgot your PFDs or your surf rope. Gear up ahead of time with wakesurf boards, wakeboards, life jackets, tow ropes, and all your crew’s snacks and beverages. Per U.S. Coast Guard regulations, kids under 13 need to be wearing their PFD at all times, so comfort is key. You’ll also need a throwable float along with a watersports flag in some states. It’s always a good idea to check local and state regulations for any other safety requirements as well.
Truck To Trailer
Just like docking, take this step slow. Set your truck up with a 2” ball. If your vehicle has a backup camera you can line things up by yourself, but it’s never a bad idea to have your crew helping out. They can give hand signals to guide the truck’s ball onto the trailer’s coupler and make sure the trailer is at the right height, which is about one inch above the ball. This height is low enough to make it easy to judge when you’re lined up in the backup camera, but still high enough for the ball to clear the coupler. For the crew giving signals, remember: if you can’t see the driver in the mirrors, they can’t see your signals.
Lock It In
When you’re lined up with the truck’s ball directly below the trailer’s coupler, lower the coupler onto the ball using the tongue jack. Secure the coupler onto the ball and connect the safety chains in an “X” pattern. Secure the transom straps from the trailer to the boat’s transom and remove the boat’s cover unless it goes over the tower and is specifically meant for towing. Pull your chocks from the wheels and you’re ready to head to the ramp!
On Your Right!
When towing a trailer, you’re going to need to swing wide on turns—especially on the right side. The longer your boat the wider you’re going to want to swing out to avoid clipping curbs. When pulling out onto busy roads, patience is key. Wait for your window and take it slow until you get comfortable. When available, it’s usually best to get into the slow lane and let faster traffic pass you by. You’re on lake time anyway!
Use Your Mirrors
Your mirrors are there to cover your blind spots so make sure to use them. In most cases, you’re not going to see much when you look backward anyway so rely on your mirrors and plan your route ahead of time so there are no surprise turns.
Back It Up
Reversing with a trailer takes some practice, but the longer the trailer the easier it is so be glad you’re not backing up a jetski. If it’s been a while since you’ve backed up a trailer, a trick is to put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. Whichever way you turn your hand the trailer will go.
Now that we’re at the ramp, launching the boat is up next!
*This document is meant as a guide. Always check state and local regulations as well as U.S. Coast Guard regulations for specific boating rules and regulations. Areas and conditions can be unique so it’s best to check ahead of time.
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