- Written by Andrew Smythe
1. Make sure when you are buying a boat, that you get a minimum of 13 inch wheels and a drive on trailer. Most people spend 10,000 bucks for their boat and 300 on their trailer. You can’t enjoy the boat when you always are having trouble transporting or loading it. Spend at least a $1,000 for a good trailer. Ask around, talk to people before buying.
2. If you already have one of those trailers that’s a pain to load your boat on, think about making some upgrades and install a guide on it. Two 2x4’s five feet long covered with carpet attached to 4 inch angle iron bent to attach to the trailer frame will cost about 60 bucks to make and install. Make sure before mounting them that your boat is on trailer correct, then mount them carpeted surface first flush against the side of your boat. This way your boat will automatically center itself as you drive on the trailer.
3. If your boat is light in weight, small tires less than 13 inches will probably do but not recommended. I would always carry a spare anyway, but if you have a heavy boat with small tires, carry two spares. Check your air pressure often, inflate to maximum load pressure. At any sign of abnormal wear, get them off the trailer and have them checked out for the reason.
4. Always! Always! Put bearing buddy’s on your trailer (big or small) and also install bearing buddy caps to keep the grease from being thrown all over your wheels. Also a good idea to always carry a set of spare wheel bearings.
5. If you are using a truck type vehicle with a bumper ball to haul your boat, may I suggest having your ball welded to the bumper. Also weld your bumper to the frame of your truck. My trailer and boat kept working my ball loose. It also kept pulling my bumper down crooked in relationship to my bronco. So I had it welded. I also had them weld a couple large links of heavy chain to my bumper about a foot on each side of my ball sticking out from under the bumper. This was for the safety chains I installed on trailer. In case something broke, I would not lose the trailer.
6. Get a bigger winch, with a strong nylon strap and replace the small one. Trailers don’t come with ones large enough to do the job right
7. I extended my trailer tongue by three feet using the next size up square steel tubing. This allows me to keep my feet dry during launching and also allows me to use shallow ramps better. Make sure you put some sticky back rubber matting on it so you won’t slip. This can be purchased at most good boat dealerships. Remember if you extent your trailer tongue you will have to swing wider on them turns!
- Written by Andrew Smythe
Learning the proper way to trailer a boat is a necessity for any individual who does in fact trailer their boat as opposed to keeping it on a lift or at a storage facility that offers "in and out" service for their customers.
While there is no "official" data available at the current time from the government or insurance companies on the exact number of accidents specifically, that occur while a vehicle is pulling a boat, it is widely speculated that the number is on the rise for several reasons:
* Rise in the number of individuals purchasing boats and boat trailers.
* Increased use of trailer companies using low-cost imports to build trailers that unfortunately have been associated with a decrease in quality, particularly in the area of boat trailers spring suspensions.
* Inadequate maintenance of boat trailers by the owner.
* Inadequate knowledge by boat trailers owners on the proper way to hook up the boat trailer to the vehicle, trailer a boat, launch a boat (backing up a boat trailer) and retrieving a boat.
Also, improperly trailing a boat, particularly when launching and retrieval, is extremely poor boating etiquette and causes much inconsideration and aggravation to knowledgeable and studied boaters. In addition, the environment suffers as more pollutants enter into the water with a constant reversal and forward of the boat while trying to retrieve to the trailer.
With increasing your experience, rest assured your turn will come someday as you patiently wait for the inept driver making their fourth attempt at backing the boat trailer down the ramp or trying to retrieve it back onto the trailer.
All this being said, lets look at tips on the proper way to hook up, trailer, launch, retrieve and travel a distance with a boat trailer.
Hooking up a boat trailer to a towing vehicle:
* If you have a SUV vehicle, most of the hatches can be lifted up. Before you begin to back up to the boat, open and lift the hatch up. This will give you an enormous advantage in backing up to the trailer by enabling you to see tremendously better where you are backing up in regards to the trailer.
* Once the vehicle is properly backed up to the boat trailer hitch, put the emergency brake on in your vehicle and begin to crank down the boat trailer jack onto the coupler ball on the vehicle. Once the trailer hitch is all the way down on the vehicle coupler ball, continue to crank the trailer jack as far as it will go up.
* Tighten down the trailer to the coupler ball either by turning trailer hitch or locking it down, depending on which type of trailer hitch you have. It's a good practice at this time to put a master lock through the trailer hitch. This is often forgotten and many a boater has come back to the ramp and found their trailer gone. Therefore, do this immediately after your attached and secured to your trailer.
* Attach the safety chains from the trailer to the vehicle making sure to cross them over one another.
* If your trailer has brakes, hook up the S-hook on the brake cable from the trailer to the hitch on the vehicle.
* Lastly connect the electrical connector from the boat trailer to the vehicle in whatever connection is on your vehicle hitch.
* Make sure the trailer winch is locked down tight on the boat bow eye. Shut your SUV hatch.
* At this time you are hooked up and ready to go, however it is suggested to take a few more minutes to prepare for launching either at home, which is strongly suggested or at the boat ramp.
* Preparation, preparation, preparation. This is the key to safely launching your boat. This is not only a safety issue but an enormous courtesy to fellow boaters at the ramp. Again, most of these tips can be and should be addressed before leaving home with your boat; however, some must wait until arriving at the ramp.
* Put the drain plug in the boat. Check your fuel level. Check your oil level. Put the boat key into the boat. Do this at home.
* Raise your outboard or out drive motor to prevent it from striking the road and ramp. Do this at home.
* Make sure you have all safety equipment in your boat. Floatation devises life vests, radio, fire extinguisher, flares and anchor. Attach dock lines to the bow and both sides of the boat. Do this at home.
* At the ramp, remove any tie-downs you may have on your boat. The Florida Keys requires boat tie-downs on all boat trailers entering the keys, however every where else they are optional. Our opinion is it depends on the distance you are traveling with the boat trailer and your security with your trailer and winch.
* I actually find it easier to launch my boat off the trailer by myself, however many find it easier with a friend. Both require the same fairly similar procedures, however with a friend, they can guide you down the launch and hold a guide line from the boat to help get it off the trailer into the water; or they can actually be in the boat and drive it off the trailer.
* If your trailer is such that your electrical attachment is going to get wet, unattach the connection as to not short out your vehicle and/or trailer lights and electrical system.
Launching the Boat:
* Open the hatch of your SUV, if applicable. This once again enables greater visibility for the driver.
* Back the boat trailer down the ramp.
* Keep the rear wheels of the tow vehicle out of the water (this will prevent the possibility of the vehicle stalling). The trailer should be midway down into the water.
* Set the vehicle in park and engage the emergency brake.
* If launching by yourself, retrieve the dock line from the bow of the boat, loosen the winch, unhook the winch and attach the knotted end of the dock line from the bow to the trailer winch hook.
* Get back into your vehicle and drive forward a bit, then reverse a bit and hit the brakes hard. This will release the boat of the trailer. With the bow line attached to the trailer hitch, you just get the bow line from the hitch, swing the boat around and attach a side dock line to the cleat on the dock.
* Shut your hatch and park vehicle and trailer.
* If you have a friend helping you launch, they can actually get into the boat, drop the motor a bit, crank it up and drive it right off the trailer. Otherwise they can use the guide line attached to the boat to pull it off the trailer. The other individual can go and park the vehicle and trailer.
Boat Retrieval onto the Trailer:
* The steps for removing your boat from the water are basically the reverse of those taken to launch it.
* Moore your boat to the dock and tie a boat line to a dock cleat.
* Retrieve vehicle and boat trailer.
* Maneuver the boat to the submerged trailer, raising the motor as you go.
* If driving onto the trailer, engage the motor in a forward motion against the trailer winch, lean over the bow of the boat, and attach the trailer winch to the bow cleat on the boat. Secure it tightly.
* Turn the motor off, raise or trim it all the way up to the upright position and pull the boat trailer out of the water.
* Once out of the water, remove the drain plug from the boat.
Driving long distance with a Boat Trailer tips:
* Use tie-downs on the back of the boat attaching them to the trailer.
* Have boat trailer serviced prior to trip (ball bearings, tires.).
* Have plenty of experience of trailing your boat.
* Realize your boat can be wider than your vehicle. Pay attention to the sides of the road so that the boat trailer wheels do not leave the pavement.
* Understand that you will have to make wide turns to compensate for the length of your boat trailer behind your vehicle.
* Make sure everything in the boat is securely tied down.
* Check your trailer blinkers, brake lights and that trailer lights are on when your vehicle headlights are on.
- Written by Justin Linder
Take the time to plan for your boat move.
Proper preparation of your boat for transport requires careful planning and attention to detail on both the part of the owner and the boat transport service companies involved. Proper preparation of the boat for transport is the responsibility of the owner.
Boat Transport companies do not typically prepare boats for transport. Marinas and boat yards personnel prepare boats and yachts for transport and typically will only allow their employees to prepare boats while on their property.
Communicate with your Boat Transportation Company. These boat transporting companies are grateful for...
Having the boat ready to load when the truck arrives at its scheduled time. Besides having to pay the driver for unnecessary delay, this also causes the boat transporting company to get behind on the other boats they have scheduled for transport. Transport companies do their best to deliver the boat at the estimated time. However, this is an approximation only due to the many factors beyond their control such as weather, traffic, permitted re-routes, and availability of marina operations for loading and offloading schedules.
Your consideration that if your boat is being moved at 60 miles per hour into a 14 mile per hour head wind, it is experiencing hurricane force conditions, as well as any inclement weather that may be encountered en-route. Please expect normal road dirt on the boat
Properly Measure Your Boat for Transport
When requesting a quote to transport your boat, the dimensions are extremely important. Please follow these guidelines for measuring your boat accurately. In order to transport your boat for the lowest possible price, boat transporters try to carry more than one small boat going in the same general direction at the same time. That is why it is important for the boat transporter to know the full overall length of your vessel in order to know what boats will fit on the trailers.
OVERALL LENGTH: Include bow pulpits, swim platforms, outboard motor brackets, outboard motors themselves (the length of the motors or out drives in the raised position). If on a trailer, include from the tip of the tongue to the end of the motor.
OVERALL HEIGHT: The maximum height of many overpasses is 13 feet 6 inches. Many oversized yachts require wide-belly low-boy trailers in order for the keel to set down low. Using these type trailers for tall yachts can sometimes be low enough to avoid using a pole car if the boat loaded is less than the state-by-state height restraint (the New England area has many low bridges and re-routes may be dictated by the Department of Transportation. Boats with an overall height greater than 13.6' loaded on the trailer require special handling and routing. It is critical to measure from the bottom of the keel to the highest non-removable part of the boat.
The draft (from the waterline to the bottom of the keel) + clearance (from the waterline to the highest part of the vessel) equal the total standing height. Pending on your model, if the fly or command bridge may need to be removed. It is important to measure the vessel without the bridge and also provide bridge dimensions to ensure appropriate transport space. Remember measure twice - cut once!!!
The bridge should be placed somewhere suitable on the boat and make certain it is safely secured. If it must be placed on the trailer, a frame should be prepared for it to rest upon. If your radar arch is removed, it should be secured against your boat. You might consider using carpet to protect areas where surfaces may "touch".
Electronics such as radios, Loran Systems, etc., should be shipped separately or securely stowed in your cabin, with all cabin doors, windows, and any other access, locked.
OVERALL BEAM/WIDTH: The beam of your boat is the measured as the widest point of the boat including anything attached to the boat.
Remove and properly store the following items. WHEN IN DOUBT...PULL IT OUT!!!
This includes valuables, all exterior electronics, Anchors, Antennas, Propellers, Flagstaffs, Outriggers, any item that extends beyond the stated length, width or height of your vessel, all canvas, screens, cushions, and weatherboards, radar transmitters, hailers, and dinghies.
Check the drain plugs. There should not be any water in the bilge while it is being transported.
Drain fuel and water tanks as much as possible. Be sure the tank is no more than ¼ full. During winter months, water should be drained from water systems, pumps, and air conditioners.
The batteries should be disconnected and the cables tied off to prevent contact.
If engine hatch covers are battery operated, they should be secured to prevent their opening while in transit.
Check for any loose items or items that could become loose
Additional instructions for transporting your wood boat.
It is highly recommended that wood boats be transported on their own custom cradle. This is suggested because there may be inherent structural weaknesses that are not readily visible or detectable. A well designed cradle will spread the weight of the boat over a much wider contact area. Wooden boats can be expected to dry out. A coat of linseed oil will help. Most boat transport companies will ask you to sign a release of liability for wood boats.
Additional Instructions for Sail Boat Transporting.
Make certain that all Mast Poles are un-stepped and de-rigged. All cables and spreaders should be bound to the pole. ALL rigging, winches, wind indicators, and lights must be removed from the mast. The strongest side of the mast should be left on our trailer. Wrapping of poles is optional, but should be considered. Carpet should be provided for the mast at the points of tie down. Expect some chafing at these points. If the mast is painted, it is almost impossible to keep the paint from chafing. The carrier will not pay to repaint masts if chafing occurs. Do not secure the mast to the boat, as there is a space on the carrier's trailer for the mast. Should the mast be secured to the boat, the carrier will not be responsible for any resulting damage to the mast or the boat.
Life lines, stanchions, bow and stern pulpits should be removed if they render the boat over height. On center board sailboats, make sure the board is secured and will stay up in transit. Keel sailboats may expect some separation where the keel joins the hull. This is not structural damage, but rather is the paint or filler cracking at the joint. Light built or racing sailboats can expect some hull indentation from the support pads. These indentations generally disappear when the boat is returned to the water.
Rudders, sticks, ladders, outboards, and anything else that can turn or flap in the wind, should be removed and/or well secured.
Now that you have an idea of how to prep your boat for transporting internationally or domestic stop by our website at http://www.yachtexports.com and lets us take it from there.