Always use safety chains. When hooking them to the hitch, cross them so they will catch
and cradle the tongue should the coupler or ball fail. This simple step will keep the
tongue off the pavement, thereby preventing a potentially deadly accident from
happening--namely stopping the tongue from digging into the road and pole-vaulting the
trailer and boat into oncoming traffic.
Keep in mind that the chains need to be long enough so they don't bind in the middle of a
tight turn or when backing in the boatyard, yet not so long that they drag on the
Note: Never hook the chains to
the bumper. You must go directly to the frame of the tow vehicle.
On trailers equipped with surge brakes, there is a third chain. It is attached to the
auxiliary brake handle mounted on the tongue. Should the trailer break free the
crisscrossed chains will keep the trailer from digging into the street while the third
chain activates the surge brake. Again, do not hook this chain to the bumper or the hitch
itself, go to the frame of the tow vehicle.
Loadin' 'er Up and Movin' 'er Out
· Load a boat trailer so that you maintain about 8 to10% of the total trailering weight
on the tongue of the trailer. This ensures the tow vehicle's stability and control.
Similarly, load heaviest items close to the boat's keel in order to maintain a low center
of gravity. Make sure all items are secured. As a side note, when trailering without a
boat cover be especially careful to close and tie down all lids, flip/flop windows, floppy
seats, and flip up engine covers. The wind gusts inside a boat can yank a motor box cover
out of the boat.
· While you're inside the boat, check the gas tank, oil reservoir lids, and the battery
tie downs, making sure they're screwed down tightly to prevent any possible spilling.