About the Study Guide

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Securing the Vessel on the Trailer

Secure the vessel on the trailer and the gear within the vessel.

  • Secure all gear in the vessel firmly to keep it from shifting. Arrange the gear so that its weight is balanced side-to-side and front-to-back.
  • Secure the vessel to the trailer with several tie-down straps and/or safety lines to prevent the vessel from shifting. Use extra tie-down straps in case one fails. Never trust the bow winch alone to hold your vessel onto the trailer.
  • Put the engine or drive unit in the raised position and secure it.
  • Attach the safety chains between the trailer and the towing vehicle, crisscrossing them under the trailer tongue.
Boat being launched
Inspect and Maintain Trailering Equipment
  • Check the pressure of all tires on the towing vehicle and the trailer. Make sure you have a spare tire in good condition for both the vehicle and the trailer.
  • Tighten the lug nuts/bolts on the wheels of both the towing vehicle and the trailer, and grease wheel bearings.
  • Make sure that all lights and brakes on the towing vehicle and the trailer work properly.
  • Examine tie-down straps, lines, winch, safety chains, and hitch for signs of wear. Replace or adjust as necessary.
Proper Trailer Lighting

It is very important to have proper lighting on trailers, including turn signals and tail and brake lights. Also make sure you have a jack that fits properly under the trailer—most car jacks are too large to fit under a trailer.