Boat Trailering & Storage Tips

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Does my bow trailer need its own brakes?

Trailer Brakes Used For Towing Your Boat

In many instances, you may be able to tow your boat using the vehicle you already own and a trailer built for towing 2,000 pounds or less. But, if you boat and trailer together weigh more than 2,000 pounds, many experts agree you should consider installing a separate set of brakes on the trailer itself. The most popular type of trailer brakes are surge and electric. Surge brakes work hydraulically, while electric brakes have a controller in the tow vehicle that senses brake pedal pressure. Remember, you are now asking your motor vehicle to stop with an additional ton of pressure, so installing trailer brakes may save your boat from damage or even prevent a more serious injury to you or another driver.

   
How do I safely tow a boat

Adjust Your Driving When Towing

Once your boat is safely loaded on a trailer, remember to take extra caution before you pull out and begin your journey. By attaching the boat to your trailer, you have dramatically altered the total weight of your moving car and trailer and you should take extra precautions with the way you drive. Many experts recommend that everything you do while you trail a boat should be done at about half your normal speed. This advice should especially be followed when you are accelerating and turning. And, when you brake, allow for more room to stop than you normally would. Following these basic guidelines will ensure you don't cause damage to your boat or have an accident while towing.

   
How do I make sure my boat is secure before towing it?

Safety Procedures With Your Boat Trailer

When you use a trailer to move your boat from one location to another, you should be astutely aware of damage and injury that can result from improper towing. For example, to reduce the risk of injury, do not step inside or on the trailer frame while you are launching or loading. And, failure to properly attach safety chains between your trailer and tow vehicle can result in serious danger. Also, do not forget to tie down the bow independently from the winch line;otherwise your boat could shift while traveling. Finally, maintain proper torque on lug nuts or wheel bolts.

   
How do I tow my boat safely?

Is Your Boat Trailer Safe?

As a boat owner, it's important to pay a lot of attention to safety procedures, rules and standards. Towing your boat is no different. Never move your boat from one location to another unless you first ensure the safety of your trailer. The following are questions you should ask before towing your boat:

*Are the boat supports adjusted correctly according to manufacturer guidelines?

*Is the boat positioned correctly on the trailer according to safety and other guidelines?

*Have you taken precautions against ‘fishtailing'?

*Are all trailer lights and brakes in proper working order?

   
What are the ways other people store and transport boats?

Boat Storage and Trailer Options

There was once a pair of college professors in Maine who owned a sailboat and house in Nova Scotia. During the summer, they would tie their boat off at a mooring in their resident harbor. During the winter, they would sail their boat up the coast to a boat marina and have the vessel put up into dry storage for the winter. They did this for many years and the boat always looked new.

That boat owned by the professors looked new for one reason. Although it was kept in the far north, exposed to the elements all summer, it was washed, waxed and finally wrapped up, being placed in heated dry storage for the harsh winter. This is usually the way to go if you want to extend the longevity of your boat. There are other ways to keep your boat, as well, though.

Some people pay boat marinas to use their trailers to get their boats at the owner's personal residence. They wrap the boat in shrink wrap for the winter, so they are protected from the elements. Other people usually rent their own boat slips at the marina and when the winter arrives, the marina uses their boat lift to pick the boat clear out of the water, storing it for the season.

The majority of people who own boats, however, simply transport their boat on a trailer, use it for the day and pull it home at night.

   
Does my boat need special storage during the off-season?

Consider A Separate Shelter For Your Boat

Even though most boats are designed to hold up to tough weather conditions and lots of water, they often don't fare well in heavy rain or very cold temperatures. One way to offer better protection without the cost of indoor, off-season storage is to purchase a shelter you can install on your own property. You may not want to incur this extra cost but just recall how much you invested in your boat and it may become clear that this extra cost is worth it. One of the best advantages of an outdoor storage shelter is that it can keep your boat up to 15 degrees warmer than other types of coverings. There are many types of portable shelters on the market so you'll be able to buy one that suits your needs based on size, construction and cost.

   
How do I properly store a boat?

Storing Your Boat Safely

There are many boat covers on the market made of a variety of materials. These materials are usually designed to keep your boat protected from harsh elements when being stored. However, don't be tempted to use these typical boat covers to store your boat outdoors in the winter. Buy a large tarp and use that as an additional cover on your boat. Tarps are a relatively inexpensive way to add protection for your boat during the off-season. To get the most of this storage technique, construct an A-frame to hang the tarp on. You can use one piece of wood running down the center of the boat, held up at both ends by poles. This tarp construction placed over your usual boat cover will give your boat much more protection against the elements.

   
Can my car tow my boat?

Is Your Car Equipped To Tow?

Anyone moving a boat from one location to another should never assume that their motor vehicle can accomplish the task. Many cars simply cannot serve as towing vehicles. In general, smaller cars can work if a trailer is at or below 2,000 pounds. Additionally, a full-size, rear-wheel-drive car can serve as a towing vehicle in many situations. But, for larger loads you may need a sport utility vehicle or compact pick-up truck. If you are unsure about towing your boat using the car or truck you own, always consult your trailer manufacturer to obtain proper guidelines to follow.

   
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Ray Lokar