Great thread idea John,
With summer upon us, many of us will be trailering our boats near and far. Getting there is half the battle and getting home in one piece is always a plus. We’ve all seen boats sitting on trailers, abandoned on the shoulder of highways.
A lot of those instances could be avoided by a little pre trip preparedness and well lets face it, something as simple as keeping your wheel hubs out of the water during the launch and recovery.
Since I tow across four states to fish sometimes, here are a couple of things that come to mind that are on my trip readiness checklist.
Is your tow vehicle up to the challenge?
When was the last time you had your brake, transmission and cooling systems serviced?
Ability? What does your vehicles mfg say about it towing capacities. Can it tow your boat over all the mountain passes it needs to and if necessary, hours upon hours of desert driving?
Walk your trailer before
How are the tires, tread and sidewalls and check the pressure.
Do you have with you, tools for every fitting on the trailer.
Pack along a roll of paper towels and hand cleaner.
Before you head out on the road, are you lights working.
Most motorist have no idea just how much boat is hanging off the back of that trailer and absent brake lights, bad things can happen.
Spare light bulbs, brake, turn and side markers.
Check the tie down and winch straps, if they’re worn replace them.
Check safety chains both bow and tongue.
Check over the coupler.
Do you have a coupler lock.
Spare tire, tread, sidewall cracking?
Check its mfg date and replace if needed. Is it properly inflated and if you don’t know for sure, match it’s bolt pattern up with the wheels on the trailer. ( you’d be surprised…)
Will your tow vehicles jack work for lifting the trailer.
Bring along an electric air pump, just in case.
Bring along a can of puncture sealant. I’ve lost more than one tire at a time running over debris, puncture sealant and a pump are often enough to get you down the road to a service station.
Yes, you’ll have to take it slow and limp along for a short ways. But it beats the heck out of leaving your boat unattended alongside a highway. Especially if it’s got gear in it, that won’t fit into your tow vehicle.
When was the last time you lubed the bearings? If you don’t know for sure, it only takes a jiff to do it.
If you're traveling long distances
, you might want to consider packing along a spare wheel bearing kit for your trailer ( contact the trailers mfg, they’ll be happy to sell you one or two. ) Keep in mind, that the service station out at the junction of nowhere and sundown, might be glad to do it, if only they had the right part.
Carry a grease gun and a tube of the right grease for your bearings and you might want to consider something ( a plastic garbage bag works nicely ) for it after use.
Does your auto’s or boat insurance, or automobile association also cover towing the boat. Some plans don’t and while they’ll tow your vehicle to a service center, you’re boat will be left out on the interstate. So it’s a good idea to check.
Here’s one guys seem to forget out here, just like your auto registration, make sure you have your boat trailer registration too.
Make sure your traveling partner has a set of keys and carries them at all times
, to both the tow vehicle and all the keys for the trailer & boat, coupler, spare tire lock, storage compartments, etc.
….and double check that you haven’t forgotten a couple of sets of drain plugs for the boat.