Trailering a Boat Checklist

Posted by Brock Dumoit on

Wakesurfing is an experience you won’t forget! So is being stranded because of a trailer issue. Don’t ruin a great lake day by having a breakdown. Make it a habit to look over things like lights, brakes, safety chains and more. By looking, you’ll know when it’s time to service or replace certain parts before being stranded or worse, causing an accident.

monkey in hat driving a boat


Check these seven items on the trailer every time you hook up your boat:

1. Electrical connections

Are they corroded? They won’t work properly if they are, which means no lights! Changing the bulbs won’t fix this problem.


2. Tires

Trailer tires do not last as long as we would like. The lifespan is about two years, but they could last as long as three (although, that’s pushing it). If you see steel belts peeking through the tread, it’s time for new tires! 


3. Coupler

Couplers can wear out, even on newer boats. You’ll notice a defect if the tongue lock does not clamp tightly to the trailer hitch ball. To check it, give it a pull (if it’s light enough) to see if it separates from the hitch ball. This can cause major inconveniences (and accidents) so check it every time!


4. Safety chains

Chains may take more abuse than you realize. They drag along the ground and are subject to salt or fresh water (or both!) which causes significant wear and tear. Take a look at the condition every time you head out. Also, be sure to crisscross the chains under the tongue. If the coupler DOES come unhitched, the chains will be underneath to catch it.


5. Lights

Failed lights are a ticket-able offense. For this reason, it’s likely that it’s already on your list to check. With all the exposure to sun and water, they take quite a beating! When you do need to replace a bulb, consider going LED. 


6. Brakes

Checking brakes is important on both electric and surge brakes though it’s easier on trailers with electric. Tap on the brakes once, and you’ll know if they work. Look closely at the master cylinder atop the tongue and check for leaks or corrosion at the fittings and at the cap.


7. Bow strap & pinch roller  

While you’re looking at the components of the tongue, check the bow strap. The threads can break down with exposure to water and sun. Likewise, the pinch roller will crack and split as the years go by. It can fail when the bolt it spins on rusts. Keeping these components working properly is critical to keeping your boat on the trailer.


Let’s be honest, working on your boat or your truck is much more fun. But keeping your trailer in tip-top shape is just as important. Save yourself the embarrassment and inconvenience of your boat flying off the trailer.  Don't be an idiot sandwich... check these seven components every time you go out!



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