Boating Vacation Precautions, When Towing a Boat
The forgotten until it breaks: boating necessity
Author: Streetwise Tech Talk
OK, Here’s the scenario, it’s as Eric Clapton says, After Midnight, you’re on I-90, just outside of nowhere, when, boom, flat tire on the boat trailer. No problem, you bought the optional spare tire kit with the trailer. Now here’s what follows, do you have a lug wrench sized for the trailers tire lugs? If not, does the one for your tow vehicle fit? Maybe, maybe not. How about your jack. It fits your Tahoe fine, but will it fit under your boat trailer? These and many other questions had better be answered before the above situation occurs. After making sure your jack and lug wrench are correct, let’s put two or three short pieces of two by fours in your tow vehicle. These can be used for blocking the tires or getting more height for your jack. There are many other uses you may find for them in different situations.
Next how about a light: Flashlights are great; however they require a second person. I really like LED headlamps as these only require one person and are ALWAYS aimed where YOU want the light. I also like to put on a yellow fluorescent t-shirt over my jacket. Other people do not seem to take proper precaution when driving by a flat tire victim. And let’s not forget flares or reflector triangles.
OK, now for the non-emergency trailer requirements. Check your brake fluid at least twice a season. Some wheel bearings have grease zerks, if so, grease as needed. Some bearings are oil cooled; check the level in the sight glass occasionally. I here over and over again, but I only put 500 miles on my trailer a year, I’m sure it’s fine. WRONG. Sitting for long periods of time is hard on equipment. A tire can have lots of tread life left, but signs of sidewall cracking are present. Tire gauges are cheap. Keep one in your glove box, and please use it several times a season. Boat trailers are meant to be submersed in water, however remember, this is a harsh environment. Check your lights on a regular basis as this is very important safety wise. Also, please remember, it takes you longer to stop when towing a boat, even with the trailer brakes, so allow more room in front of you.
Pit Stop Check Routine
On long trips, I stop at every other rest stop and to stretch my legs, I walk around the rig and go thru a visual check. Heres my routine. With the lights on, I first look at the rear tire on my tow rig, then to the trailer hitch, cables and wiring look good? Winch strap tight? Cover looks good? Nothing flapping? Next tires, fine. Rear straps tight and in place? Good. Now the same on the other side Lights? Now up to the rear tire on the tow rig. Headlights? Good, Now finish with the driver’s side front tire on the tow vehicle and I’m ready to go another 100 miles or so with the peace of mind knowing I’ve done my part to ensure a safe and problem free trip.
Recommended Emergency Kit When Towing A Boat!
- Spare tire kit
- A lug wrench sized for the trailers
- Trailer jack that fits
- Two or three short pieces of two by fours
- Flash light or LED headlamps
- Yellow fluorescent t-shirt
- Flares or reflector triangles
- Spare tire for trailer
- Tire gauges
Emergency Prevention Check List
- Check: brake fluid at least twice a season
- Check: grease/ or oil bearing
- Check: lights after every time trailer is submerged into water
- Check: tires
- Check: winch strap
- Check: boat cover
Check us out at seattlewatersports.com and stay tune for our nest post!
- 7 Tips for Tow, Tow, Towing Your Boat (allstate.com)
- Towing Basics (motortrend.com)
- When It’s Time to Hit the Water (blinetrafficschools.com)