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Old September 13th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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ASwaff400 ASwaff400 is offline

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Post ASwaff's Towing Guide: Before You Leave...

Although summer boating season is winding down for most, fall/winter fishing is creeping closer... these are a few steps that i take and recommend for anyone who tows a boat, or any kind of trailer for that matter...

step one:

latch the hitch coupler, and lock it (dad keeps taking my lock) a bolt or pin will also do. connect the safety chains, cross the chains in an X, make sure they are long enough for tuning they dont bind, but not too long they drag on the ground. connect the trailer light plug, check for corrosion inside plugs, corrosion is the #1 reason why boat trailer lights quit working... check brake fluid reservoir (if applicable), check to see if your lights work...

step two:

make sure the bow winch strap/cable is hooked up, and in good condition ie: no rust or frayed. DO NOT USE if the straps/cables have any cuts for frayed!! also secure safety chain (ratchet strap in my case) to bow-eye. i prefer to have the chains/strap secured directly to the frame, i have seen accedents where the winch post was still hanging on the boat and the boat was about 75 ft away from the trailer on the side of the highway... last thing to check here is to raise the trailer jack out of the way...

step three:

check tire air pressure before each use, also check tires for any cracks from dry-rot. boat trailer tires in florida dont seem to last too long because of the heat and salt water, also from year round use. i usually check the lugs after about 4 local trips(non highway) and before each trip on the highway. any time you have the tire off, grease the S!#T out of the lugs. even brand new lugs will seize up after 4 or 5 dunkings in salt water... every 2 or 3 trips i spray some grease on the lugs... also, check you wheel bearings every 5 or 6 local trips or before any longer trip over the highway. i also recommend a set of bearing buddies for your hubs(if not already installed) i usually add a few pumps of grease before every other trip... also, visually inspect springs, axles brakes(if installed), and any other misc brackets, bolts, etc. before each trip. i usually keep a light coat of grease on all bolts, makes for easy adjustment/removal...

bunk brackets

step four:

make sure you strap the rear of your boat down, im most if not all states, its the law. use only ratchet style straps, those pull to secure style are not made for holding something over 2,000 lbs, i recommend no smaller than 2" 3,000lb straps for smaller boats and 3" straps for larger boats. again check for any cuts or abrasions, do not use if there are any cuts...

step five:

trim/tilt motor up enough to clear any debris or any other hazards

step six:

DRAIN PLUG!!! if towing long distances, i recommend leaving the plug OUT, until you reach your destination to avoid filling the boat up with water if you encounter any rain... otherwise, while im hooking up the rear straps/trimming the motor, i install the drain plug. also its a good idea to check after you get to your boat ramp to check again while your removing the straps just in case you forget to put it in.

step seven:

make sure all gear is stowed down, tops, antennas, anchor light, and fishing poles, i try to keep anything no taller than the height of the console... for coolers and tackle boxes, other gear, make sure everything is secured and wont shift if you encounter any bumps in the road... i usually tie the cooler to either the stern or midship cleat, and put tackle boxes in one of the storage compartments. nothing like pulling up to the ramp and your beverage of choice and lunch items are scattered all over the deck.... make sure all hatches, doors, windows are closed. keeps your gear from blowing out and/or from getting soaked from rain... ropes, make sure they're stored also until you reach your destination.

after youve been on the road for 15 to 20 minutes, or when you stop at a gas station, put your hand on the hubs, they should be warm to the touch, if they are hot, you've got a problem. things to cause hot hub: lack of grease, stuck brake shoe or caliper, worn bearings, over loading the trailer...

to complete these steps take less time to do than it would take to read this article...

towing in the Florida Keys, you will get pulled over and you will get a ticket for not properly strapping the boat down and if your trailer doesn't have brakes and your well over the limit w/o brakes, also if you dont have a permit for wide loads...

if your trailer has brakes, check to make sure they are working properly, in most states the max is roughly 2500 to 3500 lbs for trailers without brakes

State | max mph | trailer length | max width | max height | max OAL | max w/o brakes
Florida | 65 | 40' | 8'6" | 13'6" | 65' | 3000


these are guidelines, follow at your own risk...

ALSO DONT FORGET about the spare! I keep mine in the bed along with a 5-ton bottle jack and a complete spare hub w/ bearings... you never know!


'95 F150 XLT, reg cab long bed, swapped 351w,
4.56 gears, 4-link SAS, 14" coil overs.

SAS Thread!!!

'04 F250 Lariat, crew cab short bed 4x4 6.0L PSD, 3.73 gears, straight piped,
sinister coolant filter, welded egr, CAT EC-1 coolant, blue spring.
60 gallon fuel tank/tool box, SCT X4 w/IDP custom tunes, SOON TO BE STUDDED!!

a bunch of boats


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