Trailering Tips

 
Always use safety chains. When hooking them to the hitch, cross them so they will catch and cradle the tongue should the coupler or ball fail. This simple step will keep the tongue off the pavement, thereby preventing a potentially deadly accident from happening--namely stopping the tongue from digging into the road and pole-vaulting the trailer and boat into oncoming traffic.
Keep in mind that the chains need to be long enough so they don't bind in the middle of a tight turn or when backing in the boatyard, yet not so long that they drag on the pavement.

Note: Never hook the chains to the bumper. You must go directly to the frame of the tow vehicle.

On trailers equipped with surge brakes, there is a third chain. It is attached to the auxiliary brake handle mounted on the tongue. Should the trailer break free the crisscrossed chains will keep the trailer from digging into the street while the third chain activates the surge brake. Again, do not hook this chain to the bumper or the hitch itself, go to the frame of the tow vehicle.

Loadin' 'er Up and Movin' 'er Out

Load a boat trailer so that you maintain about 8 to10% of the total trailering weight on the tongue of the trailer. This ensures the tow vehicle's stability and control. Similarly, load heaviest items close to the boat's keel in order to maintain a low center of gravity. Make sure all items are secured. As a side note, when trailering without a boat cover be especially careful to close and tie down all lids, flip/flop windows, floppy seats, and flip up engine covers. The wind gusts inside a boat can yank a motor box cover out of the boat.

While you're inside the boat, check the gas tank, oil reservoir lids, and the battery tie downs, making sure they're screwed down tightly to prevent any possible spilling.

(Continued on page 179)

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