A Course for Safe Boating
ou must disconnect tail lights from
the tow vehicle while getting ready to
launch. This allows the bulbs to cool
down before they are dipped in the
water and prevents a short circuit in
the vehicle’s electrical system.
The Trailer Hitch
A hitch is used to attach the trailer tongue to the ball on the towing vehicle.
The ball should be bolted or welded to the towing vehicle.
Special heavy-duty equalizing hitches are necessary for trailer tongue or
hitch weights of 350 pounds or more.
The size of the coupler on the hitch should match the size of the ball
exactly. Never use a ball that is too small, because your trailer could sepa-
rate from the towing vehicle. The weight rating and size in inches should be
stamped on the ball.
The trailer should be equipped with two strong, rust-free, safety chains.
The chains should be crossed under the hitch to form an “X”
connect them to the frame of the towing vehicle.
Use sealed waterproof electrical connections on the trailer. Wire couplings
should be high enough to remain dry when on- or off-loading the boat.
Never use the trailer hitch for the ground connection. Instead, use four-pole
The tongue weight on the ball affects the towing vehicle and the
No more than 5 to 7 percent of the total tow weight should be on the hitch.
You can distribute weight properly by adjusting the trailer’s wheel carriage
either forward or backward.
If the carriage cannot be adjusted, relocate movable gear in the boat until
the trailer is more balanced.
Too much weight on the rear of the vehicle:
Raises the front end and makes it difficult to control.
Affects the steering and traction on front-wheel drive vehicles.
Raises the focus of the head lights, possibly blinding drivers of on-coming
Reduces the driver’s field of vision.
Not enough weight on the rear of the vehicle:
Will cause the trailer to sway or fishtail.
Increases the chances that the trailer hitch will separate from the ball.