Inadequate trailers can take a lot of the fun out of boating. Undersized, badly set-up or badly adjusted trailers can cause damage to your boat and be dangerous to tow.

Towing Hints

Select a trailer with a long draw bar. The extra distance between the bow and the tow hitch will cause less weight to rest on the draw bar making the vessel easier to tow and reverse.

Buy a trailer with a large number of rollers fitted. Those supporting the keel should bear the most weight with the rest taking an equal amount of weight as each other.

Fit your trailer with a bow location gadget such as a “Retriever Mate” or “Boat Nabber.” These and other useful products are available from your marine dealer.

Fit a heavy-duty winch and cable to load the boat onto the trailer. Check the cable regularly for wear and broken wires.

Make sure that gear is evenly distributed. Load the heavier items in the middle of the vessel. If the rear end is too heavy it will exaggerate any ‘swaying’ of the trailer.


Prepare the boat for launching away from the ramp.

Walk down a boat ramp before you attempt to launch to check on its condition. It may drop off, be slippery or affected by wind and waves.

Tilt the motor and ensure that bungs are in place.

Never race you car and boat down a ramp then hit the brakes to launch your vessel. Many cars have gone in the water because the boat was still secured or the ramp was slippery.

Always have a line from the bow, so that if it goes into deep water you won’t have to swim after it.

Be patient and wait your turn.

Try not to immerse your trailer axle into the water in an effort to preserve the bearings.

Secure vessel and promptly move vehicle off ramp.


If the ramp has a drop-off at low tide, try to time your return so that the tide has risen before you attempt to lad your boat onto the trailer.

If you are retrieving with waves, wash or current affecting the ramp, asking someone to hold the boat in line will greatly assist.

If the water is deep, run a line form the stern bollard to a person on the shore so that they can keep the boat in line.

Before reversing your car down the ramp, pull out the winch cable and hook it to the rear of the trailer.


Keep the trailer under cover and parked on concrete when not in use, if possible

Trailers and wheels are usually galvanised, but this does not prevent corrosion. After each outing, thoroughly hose trailer and apply grease or fish oil to entire trailer. Remove any corrosion with a wire brush, as soon as it appears, and coat with re-galvanising paint.

Check high stress areas for cracks and rust-coloured fluid run off.

Spray and/or grease linkage coupling before each outing.

Regularly check wheel nuts are secure and tyre pressure is correct. Keep wheel bearings greased and ensure that there is no ‘play’ in the wheels.

Replace deteriorated rollers, and adjust their height for even distribution of load. Keep rollers lubricated.

Service brakes regularly.

Spray winch with lubricant and grease all shackles. Replace frayed cables immediately. Check securing bolts for tension.

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