We hate to break it to you, but summer is officially over and we’re well into fall. Even the most die-hard recreational sailors are starting to admit that the wind is a little chilly, while other people aren’t ashamed to say the stronger gusts can be freezing cold. It’s time to get the boat out of the water and into storage and that means using your boat trailer.
Now for many of us, the boat trailer only gets used a few times each year. We bring the boat from home or storage to the marina and then back as needed. All the rest of the time the hydraulic boat trailer never even crosses our mind. But it’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your trailer. You don’t want to discover it’s broken while you’re towing your boat down the highway – talk about a traffic nightmare.
Here’s what to look for. The first thing you need to consider when looking at your boat trailer is its structural integrity. There should be no visible cracks, breaks, or bends in the body of your boat trailer. If you know the trailer’s had a rough ride or there was an unexpected event like a tree falling on your boat trailer, check it over with special care. If you find damage, your local boat handling specialist can advise you if you can have it repaired or need to replace the trailer.
If the structure of the trailer looks good, operate the hydraulic arms. These should operate easily and freely, without hesitation or strange noises. If you have to work to make the hydraulics work during a test run on land, imagine how much fun it will be if they fail you while you’re in a line of people retrieving their boats from a busy marina! If the issues can’t be diagnosed or fixed, it’s time to consider a new boat trailer.
Signal lights are also very important. Electrical issues are usually a simple fix, so make sure to have concerns addressed right away and skip getting a very expensive ticket for failure to signal!