Boat Trailering Checklist (Safety Tips & Gear)
The article and video on this ‘boat trailering checklist’ page will make sure that you get to and from your launch points as safely as possible.
You’ll see the supplies needed along with a checklist of items to do in order to take to ensure safe transportation of your boat and trailer to your favorite fishing grounds.
There’s even a free PDF checklist listed below that you’re welcome to download so that you can have it handy on your next trip.
Boat Trailering Items
A lot can happen if you are trailering a boat and it is always best to be over-prepared to handle any scenario.
It is best practice to always go over your trailer to tighten down any nuts or bolts and make sure everything is in place.
It is extremely important that all aspects of the hitch are locked down tight.
You never know what can happen when you are trailering a boat. If the hitch bolt somehow becomes undone and you hit a bump on the road, you’ll quickly find that the trailer is no longer connected to the truck like what happened to me recently… not a fun situation!
Always make sure that the bolt is secure with a lock-nut before heading out to your destination. Also, confirm that the hitch pin is in place and that the trailer coupler is secured around the hitch ball.
These checks just take a few seconds, and they will leave you with the peace of mind that the trailer won’t get unhitched while in transit.
It is also recommended to put grease on the trailer hitch ball because it will reduce the metal-to-metal friction caused by loading and unloading the trailer.
The cables/chains on the trailer play an important role in keeping the trailer and hitch intact and held together.
Be sure to have the cables criss-cross over each other to help keep everything in line.
Having the cables crisscrossed helps maintain control of the trailer.
Tire Changing Gear
If you need to change a trailer tire, a good jack that is quick to set up and lift your trailer can be worth its weight in gold when stuck on the side of a busy interstate in rush hour traffic (I’ve been there before and it’s not fun).
Also, I highly recommend having a tire iron in an easy-to-reach spot so that any needed tire chance can be fixed as fast as possible.
They do not take up much space and will help get you back on the road faster.
What many people often forget about are the lug nuts on the tires of the trailer. Having some fresh water on hand to wash the lug nuts after being exposed to saltwater will significantly increase their longevity. Just a quick rinse down after every dip in saltwater is all it takes (don’t wait until you get home).
Easy Bearing Check
It is very important to make sure your bearings aren’t in bad shape. An easy check for this is to simply touch your hub after you’ve been on the road to make sure they aren’t hot.
Warm is totally ok. But a hot hub means you need to have them serviced/replaced asap to make sure you don’t get stranded on the side of the road with a failed hub.
Watch the video below to see more details along with some helpful tips for safe and efficient trailering of your boat.
Boat Trailering Safety Video
Boat Trailering Checklist
Here’s a list of things to do while trailering boats that will help make sure to keep trailering as safe and trouble-free as possible.
- Make sure the trailer coupler is securely locked onto the hitch ball (add grease to hitch ball if it’s not yet greased)
- Cross the safety chains/cables when connecting the trailer to the vehicle
- Connect the electrical cord to the vehicle
- Check that the hitch ball is securely bolted onto the hitch
- Check trailer hitch pin to make sure it’s in place and secure
- Make sure safety straps/chains are secure for securing the bow and stern of the boat to the trailer
- Check that trailer lights and turn signals are working
- Make sure that the trailer’s lug nuts are secure and not full of rust
- Look for signs of grease on hubs (a grease leak will increase odds of having a hub problem)
- Check that all tires (including the spare) have proper air pressure
- Bring all needed gear for fixing a flat tire (spare tire(s), jack, tire iron, wood plank) & store in an easy to access location
- Check that all items in the boat are secure and won’t blow out while on the road
- When stopping for gas or at the ramp, feel the hubs to make sure they are not hot (hot hubs is a sign of needing to be replaced before it locks up)
- [Optional] Pack extra hitch & spare tire if on a long trip in case you or someone else needs it
- [Optional] Pack an extra hub in case one goes out while on the road
Right Before Launching Items
- Make sure the plug is in the boat
- Load everything needed from vehicle to boat
- Unfasten safety tie-downs in the stern of the boat before backing into the water
- Have set plan for handling/securing boat once it’s off the trailer
- Unfasten bow tie-downs once trailer tires are in the water
- Rinse off hubs with fresh water after pulling the trailer out of saltwater
There is a lot that can go wrong when trailering a boat behind you and taking every little precaution possible can help you to avoid a potential catastrophe.
Be sure to regularly inspect your trailer and before each trip, ensure the functions are normal and ready to go before you find yourself stuck on the side of the road.
Do you have any more questions or suggestions on boat trailering safety tips?
Let me know down in the comments!
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