A Course for Safe Boating
All trailers owned and operated in the State of California, and
used to transport boats of any size, must be registered with the
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The Boat Must Fit the Trailer
The length of the boat determines the length of the trailer.
The beam of the boat determines the width of the trailer.
Your boat and its contents should not weigh more than
80 percent of the trailer’s weight capacity.
When the boat is placed on the trailer, make sure that the rollers and
supports are adjusted to fit the shape of the boat’s bottom. And be sure to
secure the boat to the trailer.
Your trailer should be equipped with the following:
Brakes (these are optional, mainly for heavier trailers)
Brakes for Your Trailer
Usually, small trailers do not have brakes of their own. But larger trailers
need special brakes. You have two main choices in braking systems: surge
Surge brakes work from the trailer’s momentum. When you apply the
brakes on your vehicle, the trailer surges ahead slightly and the trailer’s
hydraulically operated brakes take hold. Trailers equipped with surge brakes
also have an emergency release cable that must be attached to the towing
vehicle. If for some reason the trailer breaks free of the towing vehicle, the
brakes on the trailer will engage.
Electric brakes go on when you apply the car’s brakes. This system works
well on the road, but not as well when backing up.
Lights for Your Trailer
In California, your trailer must be equipped with taillights, brake lights,
turn signals, and clearance lights. If possible, mount your trailer’s lights on a
removable board, because water, especially salt water, is hard on trailer lights,
and some light fixtures are not waterproof.
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