As the boating and camping season rolls on into the dog days of summer, we all can get a little lenient about trailering safety. The heat, combined with the fact that you’ve probably been hauling all season, can lead many boaters to forget about rules they typically so staunchly follow.
For the safety of everyone on the road, it’s your responsibility as a hauler to review these rules and to always keep them in mind, no matter where you’re trailering to or how long you’ve been doing it. Read on for a quick reminder of some of the commonly forgotten guidelines and rules below.
Be Mindful While Driving Your Boat Trailer
The Minnesota state government provides a list of guidelines to be mindful of every time you leave your driveway with your trailer in tow. The guidelines below help all drivers, regardless of whether they trailer, get to where they’re going safely.
● Maintain a safe following distance, often larger than you would assume! The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that, at all times and regardless of weather conditions, drivers of vehicles towing a trailer must maintain a 500-foot following distance between themselves and the vehicle in front.
● Trailer brakes can sometimes be a requirement. If your boat trailer weighs more than 3,000 pounds, you must have proper brakes installed on the trailer itself. Driving without them is both illegal and unsafe, large loads can be difficult to stop quickly and safely with only your vehicle’s brakes.
● Take precautions before you leave. Before driving out into traffic, always check to make sure all your safety equipment is in proper working order. This includes tie-downs, brake lights, turn signals, and tires. A travel cover for your boat can prevent any loose equipment from coming out of your boat while traveling down the road. Make sure your boat cover is properly installed to prevent damage to your boat or the boat cover.
Launching Your Boat Safely is Easy When You Follow a Few Guidelines
Your trailer safety responsibilities don’t end when you reach the boat launch. Other people use both the dock and the launch; you must take their safety into account, as well as your own. Launches can be very active areas, it’s important to follow certain rules to keep everything safe and running smoothly.
● Prepare your boat and trailer for launching before getting into line. Remove your boat cover, transfer any remaining gear, and put the plug in. This ensures that you can launch your boat smoothly and quickly with a minimum of fuss, cutting down on the chances of upsetting other boaters. Don’t forget to leave the winch or bow line attached, you don’t want your boat floating off without you!
● Back your trailer smoothly into the water, stopping once the boat is deep enough to easily float off the trailer. Once your boat is in the water unhook the winch or bow line and attach the boat securely to the dock or the shore if you don’t have a friend along. Park your vehicle and trailer in the parking lot and you’re ready for a day on the lake!
● Make sure to observe good boating etiquette while driving away from the launch in your boat. Obey wake laws, drive slowly, and keep in mind any right of way laws. No one wants to start or end their day on the lake with a boating accident.
Keep Your Trailering Experience Safe with Canvasworks
Stress-free trailering experiences can depend on keeping your equipment and gear contained and safe from the elements. Look into a custom cover or custom tarp from Canvasworks today to make your summer trailering experience as safe as it can possibly be. Give us a call today at 320-559-0165 to get started.