Boat Trailering 101 | Get your New or Used Boat Home Safe

Posted By Doug Horsfall On August 22, 2013

Congratulations on purchasing your new trailerable boat. It is our responsibility to make sure, when you take delivery, that the boat and trailer are ready to go. Once it's hooked up to your vehicle it's yours to enjoy.  Remembering that once you are hooked to your new or used boat and pull away from the marine dealership, the responsibility shifts to you.

Although you do not have to have a special designation on your drivers license to do this, a few tips from a professional could save some grief down the road. Make sure you are confident as the dealership can not control anything that happens from this point forward.

boat trailering strap
  1. Professional truckers fill out their log book and do a circle check before each trip. They check their vehicle condition including their trailer and the security of their load. Even if we are just delivering a small outboard, we do a circle check including checking the hitch hook up, all lights (especially turn signals and brake lights). Don't forget your running lights if your trip is going to happen after dark. 
  2. Checking tire air pressures every time and lug nut (wheel nuts) tightness is another thing we advise for longer trips, as well as tipping the outboard or sterndrive lower unit to ensure sufficient ground clearance.boat trailer straps
  3. Next is the security of the boat on the trailer. Tie downs front and rear are a must and the law. Check that they are in good condition, tight, and that nothing is loose that may "flap" and damage the boat. Note that if you just purchased your boat from Len's Cove Marina, the rear straps are may not be included in your package and can be purchased separately in our marine store.
  4. Our preference is to tow with all canvas covers stowed away. Most covers are not designed to go down the highway at 90-100kph, particularly convertible tops and camper enclosures. If in doubt, take it off. If the top is designed to be trailered in a collapsed position check the security of all fasteners because damage can occur if it loosens up while traveling (they may not be designed to stay in at high speeds). Any damage that occurs is not covered under warranty.
  5. All items on board your boat should be checked to see if they are secure and could include things like carpet, cushions, keys, life vests, etc. If in doubt, store them away or in your tow vehicle. Items that blow out are not covered under warranty.
  6. Remember that you will need to take corners a little wider than normal to account for the trailer, and that you need more time when slow down and give yourself more space between vehicles.
  7. Stop and check your load (boat, trailer, straps) after the first 10km of your trip, and every 100km after that. 
boat trailering with canvas
Once you made it home, you should put your covers back on, or even better - get out on the water for a ride!
We advocate regular trailer maintenance.. Annual inspection of wheel bearings, lights, winch straps, bunks and rollers could prevent road side problems making for a more enjoyable experience. Like your car or boat, your trailer needs to be looked after as well. After many years of delivering and picking up boats all over Ontario and Quebec I have located ramps in many obscure places and would be happy to point you towards facilities for your boat trailering adventures.
Check out The Used Boat Buying Guide