Boating Tips 6
- Trailering Considerations
- Check trailer tire pressure regularly. Tire failure on trailers is almost always due to low tire pressure. Sometimes recommended tire pressures are higher than you might first expect - often 50 or 60 pounds. Check the sidewalls for the proper PSI pressure. Tire failure occurs in a short distance if underinflated at highway speeds.
- Unplug trailer wiring before backing it into the lake. (incandescent) Hot tail lamp bulbs will burn out if submerged. This is an easy thing to forget, so keep some spare bulbs in your glove box. If you're lucky, you have a trailer with sealed tail lamp assemblies - but don't forget about the marker lights on the trailer--hopefully they're sealed too.
- Submerging the trailer too far makes it difficult to center the boat. When loading a boat onto a trailer, back the trailer into the water just far enough to submerge the back-end side-roller assemblies or the back end of the bunks. Then consider how far the center line rollers need to be submerged so the boat doesn't have to be "lifted" by the winch too much. A judgement call is needed and again for different ramp steepnesses. If the rear end swings to and fro while the bow of the boat is nearly at the winch, the trailer is probably backed in too far. This becomes more troublesome in rough water.
- Use engine manufacturer's recommendations when trailering. Depending on the particular model, the engine may need to be tilted in various positions or need a block or support. If the engine is transported down, wrap the lower unit in canvas and tie with rope to protect the gearcase and propeller from stone chips. Make sure there's plenty of clearance between skeg and road, especially since boating areas are often associated with rough roads. Some trailers can be fitted with a "transom saver." This is a bar that keeps the engine from torquing up and down on the transom of the boat, when on a bumpy road. Transom damage is often caused by trailering.
- Life jackets easily fly out of boats at highway speeds. When towing a boat on the highway, make sure there's no loose cushions, life vests, etc. Check the engine cowling to be sure it's fastened tightly while you're at it! Over the years, we've seen these things lying on the side of the road at one time or another.
This concludes the boating tips.
These tips are only general guidelines. Safety under the circumstances of operation is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the boat operator. Please be in control at all times and review all the operator/maintenance manuals for your equipment.