You Own a Boat What Now?
Congratulations on buying your first boat! With all major vehicles, there are things that you’ll need to know in order to make the most of it. Just because it can only be used on the water, doesn’t mean that your boat isn’t subjected to the rules and regulations on land. An estimate of over 87 million people had participated in recreational boating for a variety of activities like fishing, water skiing, or travelling. As for competitive boating, there’s a sizeable amount of athletes that take part as well. Not to mention, there are various boating competitions held in the US annually. Sports can range from kayaking, canoeing, and wind sailing, the list goes on. The point is, people love boats. That includes you.
There are various places that you can take your boat to in order to enjoy it to the fullest: it depends on your general location, purpose, boat size, and availability of the intended destination, among other factors. The further you take the boat, the more of a hassle it will be for you to actually enjoy yourself boating. Lugging around a boat isn’t easy. Have a transportation vehicle that can tow the boat to it’s suitable location. You may need to invest in sturdy wheels and fixtures to safely transport the boat. After all, you spent this much money on it. Like your house or car, you want to take good care of it. These transport fixtures can (and will) set you back hundreds, or maybe even thousands of dollars. It’s also quite common for trailers to accompany boats. They’ll have to be accounted for in transportation costs.
When using your boat, you must also consider the size of the boat is what it will be used for. If the destination that you intend to use your watercraft is public, you may have difficulty in getting the space to use it. It’s a good idea to plan out your boat usage ahead of time to prevent any possible conflicts and accidents.
Trailer boating has a number of advantages over leaving your boat in the water at a marina or pier. Advantages include taking your boat to new cruising grounds, the efficient launch at ramps that are close to different fishing spots, and saving money.
Here’s how to trailer a boat:
- Align the hitch and ball, then lower the trailer hitch down over the ball.
- Close the latch and insert the safety pin.
- Cross the safety chains, and attach them to the truck.
- If your trailer has brakes, attach the safety line to the tow vehicle.
- Plug in the lights, and run a full check to make sure they’re all working.
There is one big challenge, particularly for those new to trailer boating: learning how to tow a boat. Here are some good tips to keep in mind:
1. Before trailering, perform a full pre-tow safety inspection of your rig.
2. Tongue weight should be about 10- to 15-percent of your load. If it’s not, the trailer might sway. Swaying is extremely dangerous—if you detect sway in your rig, slow down immediately, pull over, and adjust your load.
3. Make sure your truck’s load is level and even.
4. Make wide turns to avoid clipping a curb or other obstructions.
5. Leave extra following room between your vehicle and those in front of you. When towing a heavy load, braking distance may be significantly increased.
6. When wind-blast shoves your rig sideways, you can minimize the effect by taking your foot off the accelerator. Do not step on the brakes.
7. Use your side-view mirrors. Your rear-view is useless because all you’ll see in it is the broad bow of your boat.
8. As soon as you arrive at the boat ramp, walk back to the trailer hubs and check that they’re cool to the touch. If they’re hot, your bearings aren’t functioning properly and need to be serviced immediately.
9. Don’t remove the winch strap and safety chain until you’ve backed the boat down into the water. If you remove the strap and chain too soon, the boat can slide off the trailer and smash onto the boat ramp.
10. Practice, practice, practice. Before you tackle any busy roads or long trips, take your rig to an open parking lot. Practice backing, turning, and making other maneuvers in a controlled setting.