• Is Your Trailer Ship-Shape?

    A trailer problem can sink a boating trip faster than a hole in the hull. Keeping your trailer level, lubricated and legal is an essential part of being a happy boater.

    Early in the season, inspect your trailer, both with and without the boat. Look for cracks or bows in the frame, loose bolts and wires, corrosion, and worn tires. Also, check your hull for damage or cracks that may have been caused by having too few rollers, or rollers and supports incorrectly placed.

    Notice how the boat sits on the traileróyou may need to adjust tie-downs, tongue length and other factors to get the whole rig trim and level. Driving, turning and backing up will all be easier and safer when the boat is correctly placed and secured.

    Test that all lights and signals are working and that plates or registrations arenít expired. Itís better to spend a few minutes at home than to get the bad news from a police officer on your way to the water.

    Check tire inflation and condition, watching for wear and other damage. A blowout at highway speed can be catastrophic. Lubricate liberally. Do you carry a spare wheel, and a jack capable of lifting the whole rig? Off season, consider extending tire life by putting the trailer up on blocks to relieve pressure. Even better, remove wheels and store them inside. This has the added benefit of making your boat harder to steal.

    If you need new components or want to upgrade your current gear, check our Boat Accessories Trailering (include link) section for wiring, lights, wheel and bearing necessities, boat guides and motor supports. We've also got a line of winches and straps to hook it up and tie it all down.

    One key moment comes when changing vehicles. Donít assume that your new vehicle will be compatible with your old trailer. Check the manuals for vehicle, trailer and boat for the exact specs, and donít be afraid to ask the salesperson to do some homework. Will the new vehicle have the power, the hitch, the brakes and the wiring to accommodate your existing trailer? To be sure, youíll need to know your boatís actual weight fully loaded with fuel, water and gear.

    One more thing. Invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil are just as happy to glom onto your trailer as your boat. By now we all have heard about the importance of keeping these invaders from spreading to new bodies of water. We clean hulls, flush water wells, and hunt down any other possible source of contamination. But donít forget to wash and dry your trailer! Unlikely as it may seem that contamination has occurred in the short submersion required to launch or haul a boat, every mussel and piece of vegetation counts. Did you know a single female Zebra mussel can put out a million eggs at a time? You owe it to the environment and other boaters to clean your trailer as meticulously as you clean your boat.