Tips for easier power boat towing
Towing a power boat is a difficult and highly-pressured situation, which can take its toll on both the driver and the towing vehicle itself. If you’re planning on towing a power boat and haven’t done it before, there are a few basics you’ll need to keep in mind to ensure your trip is as safe and stress-free as possible.
Positioning the power boat on the trailer
Weight distribution is very important when it comes to towing – keep the centre of gravity low, with around 60 percent of the power boat’s weight on the front half of the trailer, and 40 percent on the rear. Distribute weight evenly side-to-side also.
Secure the power boat firmly with at least two ratchet-type straps.
Prepare the tow vehicle
Before connecting to the trailer, fill the tow vehicle with fuel and check oil, water, transmission fluid levels and tyre inflation. It’s much easier to take care of these things now than it will be when you have a trailer attached.
Connecting the trailer
Carefully hook up the trailer to your tow vehicle and connect the safety chains, as well as the safety brake chain if you have one.
Check your trailer’s lights, tyres and the reservoir on your trailer’s surge brakes.
In an area away from traffic, practice turning, stopping and reversing your trailer to make sure you have adequate visibility.
Towing your power boat – on the road
After double checking that your power boat is secure on the trailer, you can hit the road.
When reversing, place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it in the direction you want the trailer to go, using small movements. Use your mirrors as much as you can and – if possible – get someone to stand outside the trailer and direct you.
You’ll need to allow much more distance for braking than you would normally to account for the weight of the trailer and your power boat. Steer as straight as possible when braking to avoid “jack-knifing” (when the trailer swings around and folds into the tow vehicle).
It sounds obvious, but you need to keep reminding yourself that you’re towing. On your first few trips it’ll probably be impossible to forget, but as you get more comfortable you might find that you start becoming complacent. Keep checking your mirrors so you remember to always allow for the trailer when braking, turning and changing lanes.