Before we leave our home or storage area to pull our classic treasure to our destination, there are a few items that we should always review before we embark on our journey. Here are a few thoughts for the day –
Before leaving –
- Is our tow vehicle in decent shape? Enough air in the tires?
- Do we have enough gas to get to the launch location?
- Do we have enough gas to get back from our launch location once our cruise has ended?
- Is our trailer hitch properly set up for the boat that we are going to tow?
- Have we checked the tow vehicle’s wiring to make certain that it works in conjunction with that on the trailer?
- Have the axle bearings on the trailer been lubricated and are they in good condition for the trip?
- Do we have a sufficient weight distribution level between the tow vehicle and the trailer carrying the boat so we don’t put too much weight on the tongue?
- Is our bimini top, cover, along with other gear secure so it does not blow out of the boat?
- Do we have enough air in the trailer tires?
- Are we carrying sufficient tools to make any necessary repairs to the rig after we leave?
- Have we checked the lug nuts on the trailer tires to make certain that they are properly fastened?
Hooking up the trailer to the tow vehicle –
- Hooking up our safety chains – there is a right and a wrong way to connect the safety chains to the tow vehicle. The open end of the hook should go up through the hole next to the trailer hitch, never down into it. The chains should also be crossed.
- Make a final visual inspection of your rig before you depart. It is amazing what you might find that you did not expect or that you forgot (if you are like me).
While underway on the road –
- Drive as smoothly as possible with no sudden jerks when starting and trying to stop in an easy manner as opposed to jerky or sudden stops. Sudden stops are hard on the boat, trailer, and all gear that you are carrying in your craft.
- As soon as you are underway, check your brakes to make certain they work properly.
- Make certain that your mirrors are set up properly so that you can see along both sides of your vehicle from your driver’s seat. Listen for any unusual noises as this may indicate trouble with your rig. Is your dolly wheel down and dragging?
- Drive carefully and defensively – don’t “tail-gate” and use common sense.
- Plan ahead so that you know your route and where you are going. Don’t be fussing with maps while driving. Most people have a GPS but you still must have a good idea where you are going as the GPS will not be able to read your mind.
- If you are traveling on the highway at higher speeds, periodically stop and inspect your rig every 50 to 100 miles or so. When you stop, have a checklist prepared so that you know ahead of time what you are looking for.
Upon arrival at your destination –
- Make a final visual check of the tow vehicle and also your boat and trailer to be certain that all equipment stayed in place and functioned properly.
Have a safe trip the next time you tow your boat to that highly anticipated cruise. It is better to be safe than sorry!