Is this your first boating season? Maybe you have a new vessel, and you can’t wait to get into the water. All boats, whether they’re small fishing boats or large vessels on hydraulic trailers, have special towing needs. Here are five tips for getting your boat to its destination as safely as possible.
1. Don’t Forget Your Towing Vehicle
It’s easy to get excited and carried away thinking about all the fun ahead, but don’t forget to service your car or truck before your trip. Towing puts a strain on engines, transmissions, and cooling systems. Check all belts and hoses and change the motor oil. If your car doesn’t use a special transmission cooler, consider adding one. Make sure all the tires are properly inflated before leaving.
2. Don’t Exceed Your Trailer’s Capacity
Even large hydraulic trailers have limits so make sure to stay within these limits. You need to figure out the weights of both trailer and vessel before towing. Some vehicles can’t handle large loads, and you could damage the transmission or cause other serious problems. If your vehicle isn’t up to the job, consider a rental vehicle to solve the problem temporarily.
3. Use the Right Hitch
Some trailers, (especially hydraulic trailers) need special hitches. Just as vehicles and trailers have limits, so do hitches. Make sure to use the right size ball for your hitch. For heavy vessels, you may need anti-sway bars for greater load stability.
4. Service Check
Do a service check before each trip. Check your vehicle and trailer’s lights and brakes. Make sure the brake lights and turn signals are in working order.
5. Pack Smartly
Be careful packing things into your vessel. For example, make sure the load is equally distributed. Otherwise, your boat could shift or sway at high speeds. Also, don’t pack so much that you exceed the towing limits of the trailer.