Trailering your Antique or Classic Treasure

      Most of us own either antique, classic, or contemporary boats worthy of displaying to the public.   In fact, most of us rather enjoy displaying our craft in boat shows, festivals, or wherever we can get the public to gather in order to see what boating was like many years ago.  As I look at the hair on my head, which of course is silver gray, I feel that I also fall in this category.   That is what makes doing this job as your editor so much fun. 


     In taking some time to watch many fine craft being launched at our recent boat show, an idea occurred to me.   What about our trailers?   We take such good care of our boats but what about taking care of what carries these boats around our city, state or country?   I saw many really fine boats being towed on trailers that I would not think would even hold them securely.   And that is my concern.   We are all really into “the varnish” but what about trailer upkeep?   Have you had your brakes checked lately?   What about the safety chains, lights, and other items?   What about the tie-downs used to secure the boat to the trailer?   What about the winch assembly?   Is it secured properly to the trailer?   Is there adequate line on the winch assembly?   Do you have sufficient line available in case something goes awry when launching your boat or putting it back on your trailer?   Needless to say, I saw very expensive ornate craft on rusty old trailers, most with no spare tire in case of a flat .  Do you carry a tire jack to change the tire if that happens?


There are many do’s and don’ts with regard to boat trailering.   Let’s examine the following for future reference –


  • Does my trailer have adequate lighting?  Do the lights work, including the directional signals?
  • Are my trailer bunks sufficiently padded to cradle the craft that I am towing?  What is the condition of the wood on the bunks?   Or the carpet covering the wood?
  • Do I have adequate safety chains to take care of the boat and trailer in case they should separate when driving?
  • Is there rust on my trailer?   Maybe I should restore my trailer along with keeping up the varnish on my boat?
  • Are there any parts on my trailer that might break?  Do any of the parts have cracks located in them?
  • Do I have sufficient tie-down straps to safely go down the highway?
  • Do I have the proper vehicle to tow the boat in the first place or am I going to have a problem like ruining my transmission because I am towing far too much weight?
  • The capacity of the trailer should be greater than the combined weight of the boat, motor, along with other equipment.   The tow vehicle must be capable of handling the weight of the trailer, boat, equipment, as well as the weight of the passengers and equipment which will be carried inside.   This may require that the tow vehicle may need to be specially equipped with a(n):
    • Engine of adequate power.
    • Transmission designed for towing.
    • Larger cooling systems for the engine and transmission.
    • Heavy duty brakes.
    • Load bearing hitch attached to the frame, not the bumper. (Check your vehicle owner's manual for specific information.)


     These are all issues that we should continue to address as we go about our hobby of antique and classic boating.  If we do, I believe that we will have a pleasant experience and day on the water.