Before You Tow:
- Tyre pressure should always be checked when the tyres are cool. Check them on the vehicle & trailer before you drive.
- Make sure your trailer is in a level and straight towing position.
- Check the tread of the tyres on the vehicle & on the trailer that all is still ok.
- Make sure that the trailer wheel hubs have the correct & proper bearing lubrication.
- Ensure that the wheel nuts on the vehicle & trailer are correctly tightened and fastened.
- Outboard motors and stern drives should always be towed in an “Up” position.
- Secure boat covers properly and make sure they are fastened enough so that they can’t come loose when the watercraft is towed.
- Make sure the trailer lights are connected properly (Brake, Reverse & Indicator Lights) and check to ensure they are working correctly before you drive away.
- Connect the safety chains or cables as well as the breakaway cable.
- Check & tighten the transom tie-downs.
- Make sure all equipment is safe and properly secured on the boat.
- Make sure that all the drain plugs are inserted properly and tightened.
- Back the tow vehicle with the trailer down far enough to ensure cooling water can be picked up by the motor. Normally you should still be able to see the trailer’s wheel arches just sticking out of the water.
- Put handbrake on and leave the vehicle in park if it is an automatic vehicle, or one of the forward gears if it is a manual vehicle.
- Lower the outboard or stern drive into the water.
- Start the motor/s and allow to warm up for a few minutes.
- Disconnect the winch hook from the bow eye and then launch your boat.
- Slowly reverse the boat away from the launch site and idle around a bit in a quite area if you want to warm up the motors a bit more or if you need to get other things on the boat sorted out first.
- Once the boat is clear, remove the tow vehicle from the slipway.
- Reverse the tow vehicle and back the trailer into the water. Normally you should still be able to see the trailer’s wheel arches just sticking out of the water which makes it a bit easier for the skipper to park it better on the trailer.
- Slowly approach the trailer taking the water current and wind into consideration.
- The skipper should nudge the bow of the boat onto the centre of the trailer.
- The skipper should then power up slightly until the boat sits correctly on the trailer, against the bow stopper.
- Attach the safety chain or bow strap.
- Raise the outboard motor.
- Clear the ramp as quickly as you can for other users.
- Reconnect the trailer lights and attach the tie-downs and secure the boat.
- Lower any antennas that needs to be lowered.
- Remove the drain plugs and flush the motor with fresh water to prevent corrosion.
- Oxidation can build up on the contact points of the trailer lights causing them to stop working. Using light grade sandpaper, gently rub the contact points to remove any build-up of material.
- Electrical grease can be used on contact points to prevent oxidation.
- Regular repacking of the wheel bearings on the trailer will keep it running for many years.
- If rust is beginning to show on the galvanised trailer, sand down the offending rust and use a zinc-based (cold galvanising paint) to stop further corrosion.