Every boater knows that safety on the water is imperative to having a good time. Whether you’re fishing, tubing, exploring or just relaxing in your boat, making sure you’re prepared and safe means being able to focus on your chosen activity and not having to cut your day short due to unexpected mishaps. But the water isn’t the only place where boat safety is essential. From the moment you hitch your jet ski or boat to your vehicle to the moment you dock it on the water, there’s another aspect of safety that you absolutely must worry about: boat trailer safety.
If your trailer is not working properly and you are not ready to transport your boat, you may not even make it to the water!
Check out these 7 simple boat trailer safety tips and remember to use this checklist the next time you’re getting ready to spend a day on the water:
- Check tire pressure: Be sure to check the PSI of the tires on your trailer and make sure they are inflated to their maximum PSI. Too high or too low a PSI can put pressure on the tire and cause a blowout, along with premature tread wear. Be sure to check the PSI of your tires every 50 miles or so. Trailer tires have a variety of ply ratings. Know the maximum weight capacity of your trailer tires and make sure you stay under it.
- Make sure your bearings have fresh grease and that there is no play or movement of your tire bearings.
- Always use your safety chains: the last thing you want is an out-of-control boat while on the road! A safety chain will keep your boat from coming loose in the event of a trailer disconnect, keeping your cargo safe.
- Check the electrical: Are your trailer brake lights working, are there loose wires hanging out, is your electrical connection protected and stable? All of these things and more should be considered before traveling with a boat on a trailer.
- Secure your cargo: towing a boat behind you is not like hitching up a bicycle; we’re talking about a huge boat weighing thousands of pounds. Be sure to use tie-down straps at the correct anchor points to keep your boat securely fastened and in place for the entire trip.
- Check your tire nuts: Check your tire nuts and make sure they are tightened to the correct torque.
- Check and carry a spare tire: Like a Boy Scout, it is your duty to be prepared for anything when transporting a boat behind you. The simplest thing you can do to be prepared is to carry a spare tire and, in addition, make sure the spare tire has adequate pressure and is in proper condition to be used in the event of a blowout.
Most people tend not to think about trailer maintenance or thorough safety checks unless they’ve had a bad experience in the past: a tire blowout, leading to inconvenience, delays, frustrations, damaged fenders, and worse, damage to your boat. Avoid the headache this summer and relax completely before you hitch up your boat for a day of fun in the sun and be sure to check out the 7 simple boat trailer safety tips above.
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