A Course for Safe Boating
Tips for Safe Trailering
Driving with a trailer takes special care and requires practice. Skills
that take extra practice include backing up, taking corners and judging
Avoid sudden stops. Always allow extra distance between your vehicle and
vehicles in front of you.
Don’t brake when the rush of air from a large vehicle pushes the trailer to
the side. The trailer will tend to correct itself without braking.
When traveling below average traffic speed, you should pull over at the first
safe opportunity to permit cars to pass. (California law requires drivers to
pull over at the first possible safe location when they are holding up
You need more time and distance than usual to overtake and pass another
vehicle because the trailer adds weight and reduces acceleration.
Change lanes smoothly to prevent whipping the trailer.
Stay in the middle of your lane.
Take special care when going around corners to avoid making the trailer
run over curbs, lamp posts and other objects. The trailer will take the turns
in a tighter radius than the towing vehicle.
Carry a properly inflated, mounted spare tire and wheel. You will also need
a lug wrench and jack for changing the tire. Be sure that the lug wrench
and jack matches your trailer, because the size of the bolts and the height of
the trailer may differ from your car’s.
It is illegal and dangerous to carry passengers on the trailer or boat while
Before towing a boat on a trailer,
check to see if:
The locking mechanism on the
trailer hitch is properly engaged.
Boat tie-downs are secure and in
their proper locations.
The cable that secures the front of
the vessel to the trailer is attached
and in good working condition.
Trailer safety chains are connected
in a criss-cross pattern.
The spare tire is inflated and usable.
The trailer lights are in working
The boat is not overloaded with
extra gear, which could affect
handling of the towing vehicle.
Trailer Maintenance Tips
Water will rust the metal parts of your trailer, causing these parts to get
stuck and/or wear away. It is nearly impossible to keep the rims of the
trailer’s wheels or the bearings out of water when launching. Maintain the
Keeping the bearings well greased.
Allowing bearings to cool first if they must be immersed in water.
Repacking the bearings when necessary or as recommended by the
Carrying spare bearings, grease and tools for replacing the bearings on
It’s also a good idea to maintain the lug nuts on the wheels. You can do
this by “exercising” or loosening the bolts, and then oiling them. Be sure
to tighten them back up!