August 9th, 2017
One of the joys of boating is exploring different bodies of water. This usually means trailering, which brings about a number of safety considerations. You’ll also need to make sure your boat trailer is listed on your auto insurance policy to be protected under the comprehensive and collision coverage your policy provides.
Before you take your boat on the road, compare car insurance to see where you can get the best deals and thorough coverage. And consider these vehicle-hitching tips to help you stay safe while pulling a boat on the highway.
Inspect Your Rig Before Setting Out
Yeah, you’ve hitched your rig up hundreds of times and you can probably do it in your sleep. That doesn’t mean you won’t miss a step. Create a checklist for your hitching procedure and follow it step by step. Then, once you’re all hooked up, go back and look everything over again. Inspect the chains to make sure they’re connected properly and free of kinks. Check your wiring harness and make sure the trailer’s tail-lights are working. If you’re hauling heavy, make sure your trailer brakes are getting the signals they need and are operating correctly. Double-check your hitch to be certain it’s securely fastened to your tow vehicle.
Stow Ancillary Gear & Accessories
Loose items such as life preservers, seat cushions, coolers, deck carpeting, ropes and anchors should be stowed under a secure cover so they don’t blow out of the boat on the highway. Collapse your Bimini cover and stow its hardware so it’ll still be on the boat when you get to the lake. Ditto all of your electronics, such as your fish finder, GPS, VHF radios and the like. These should all be removed from their mounts and stowed in a cabinet so road vibration doesn’t work them loose and send them flying about.
Highway Speeds Mean More Heat
When you’re towing your boat over a long distance on the highway, your trailer’s tires, hubs and bearings are going to experience a lot more friction than when you’re going to your local lake or river. This is going to mean more heat, which could lead to blown tires and exhausted wheel bearings. Lubricate the bearing before you undertake a long trip. Make sure the trailer’s tires are rated for highway speeds, properly inflated, have adequate tread and are free of cracks. Bring spare tires and bearings (as well as the tools you’ll need to install them), just in case something comes loose.
ABC — Always Be Checking
Keep your eye on the trailer as you’re going down the road. Watch out for unusual movements and swaying. If the trailer seems to be responding differently, stop and check it out. Pull over every couple of hours or so and do a walk around, just to make sure everything’s holding together the way it should. When you do, put your hand on the tires and the hubs. If they’re really hot to the touch, you might be about to have a problem; investigate further.
All Breezes Aren’t Cool
Pay attention to the wind, as cross drafts will cause a trailer to sway, meaning you’ll need to lower your speeds in windy conditions. Oncoming vehicles can set up vortices and move your trailer around. Be ready to counter steer when you see large trucks coming from the opposite direction or when they pass you.
Follow these tips, apply some common sense and you’ll enjoy a terrific season of boating. Make sure your auto policy covers your vehicle and boat by comparing car insurance. Find the best coverage at the best price with CoverHound.