How to Trailer Your Boat

Tips & Tricks For Trailering the Boat

Chantel’s ‘Boating 101′ series is designed to help new boaters navigate some of the things that may be scary or not intuitive when you first get started. In this video she shows you how to pull up to the dock in your boat. Learn three of the most popular methods and find out when each of them should be used!

Backing Down The Trailer

Doing this first step properly will make the whole experience easier. Have the trailer straight and running parallel with the dock so it is easy for the boat driver to approach. You want to make sure that the fenders are right at the top of the water. This is one of the most important things when you are putting the boat back on the trailer so don’t overlook this step! If the trailer is too deep, the bunks won’t catch the boat as you are driving it up and you can hit the trailer. You can always back down the trailer a little bit more if you need to.

Approaching The Trailer

It is all about keeping the boat as straight as possible when you are coming approaching the trailer. This can be tricky in areas where there is a strong river current. Keep your speed low and try to only make small adjustments. Bump it into gear so that you can steer the boat and then go back into neutral and let it drift. Repeat this pattern as you are approaching the trailer. As you get closer to the trailer, make sure the bow of the boat is aimed right between the two trailer guide posts. As long as you are between them, even if the boat isn’t fully centered, that’s okay! Once you get on the trailer bunks it will straighten it out. You can use the wheel to straighten it out as you power it up onto the trailer.

You want the eyelet on the bow of the boat snugly against the roller that is on the trailer. This is another one of those instances where it is so nice to have a second person. Have the person who backed down the trailer jump out and give you some guidance. This person should be providing guidance for the boat operator as they pull up on the trailer.

Once the eyelet is firmly against the roller, you can hook the winch strap to the boat and tighten it down. Make sure that is tight before you pull the boat out of the water. Now that the boat is all hooked on, go ahead and turn off the ignition. This is a great time to drain the ballast one more time so that you aren’t towing around any extra weight.

Pulling The Boat Out

This step is pretty straight forward. Slowly pull the boat out of the water and make sure the boat is sitting correctly on the trailer. Pull the truck and boat off to a safe spot on the side of the boat ramp where you are out of the way of anyone trying to launch/trailer their boat. The next step is getting the boat ready to tow home.

Shutdown / Clean Up

Shut everything down and turn off the battery switches. Take a look at the trailer winch strap to make sure it is still snug. If your boat trailer has transom straps, now is the time to do those. This is a great time to pull out the transom plug if there is any water still in there so that it can drain out on the ride home. Just make sure to put it back in before you go out next time!

If you are towing a longer distance or at higher speeds, you will want to take some extra steps such as putting the bimini down, folding the board racks in and putting the mirror down. Always make sure all the gear inside the boat is secured and won’t blow out on the drive home. Never leave your boards in the board racks. Either put them in your truck or down inside the boat.

Most importantly, get everyone to grab a towel and start wiping down the boat. Taking a few minutes to do this every time will make sure your boat stays looking good!

Watch More of Chantel’s ‘Boating 101’ Videos