When traveling with your boat trailer, it will go a long way in ensuring you have a safe and trouble-free ride if your trailer have been matched with and secured properly to your vehicle. When you share the highway with other drivers, you have additional responsibilities that you have to take on when towing a boat. The added length, weight and axle put on your rig make you a bigger threat to your fellow travelers. This is why it’s imperative that you understand what limitations you have when you hit the road with your trailer and boat. Below are some important considerations.
Trailer Compatibility and Towing Capacity
You first need to make sure your vehicle can even tow your boat and trailer by having it properly rated for the boat and trailer’s combined weight. To learn the towing capacity of your vehicle, you can refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Also, your towing hardware you have on your vehicle needs to match your trailers.
Weight and Balance
It’s important that your rig’s weight distribution is accurate, otherwise you risk dumping your boat on the road. What’s key here is the tongue weight which should be about 15 percent of the total weight of your rig. You can verify this by putting the jack stand on a scale, however, you will most likely know it’s out of kilter the first time you tow it due to the swaying that inaccurate tongue weight causes.
Although your trailer will likely be equipped with electric or surge brakes, you still need to factor in longer stopping distances and how far it will take to stop or slow your rig while on the road. So, while you are towing your boat, you have to give yourself some added space when you accelerate to pass another vehicle or pull out into traffic. You also need to be sure you give yourself extra distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
Trailer Maintenance and Inspection
Your manufacturer will also have guidelines on regular trailer maintenance that you will need to adhere to. It’s important regularly maintain your trailer as well as inspect it before each trip since it (like your boat) is susceptible to damage from harsh environments like the salt water when you launch your boat.
Once you know your trailer is safe and in good working order, then you can safely secure your boat for transport. Of course, there are more safety tips you need to follow to ensure your boat is secure and safe on your trailer. However, the more knowledge you gain, boat towing practice and real-world experience, you will become an expert in no time.
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