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Retrieving Your Boat

When it’s time to load the boat on the trailer, back the trailer into the same depth, with the fender tops just above water, load the boat and secure the bow hook. If water current is making it difficult to load the boat, try backing the trailer into the water so that the tail end of the trailer faces downstream a little. Then the boat driver will have more control when trying to get the boat onto the bunks.

While the skipper is still in the boat, make sure the bow is snug to the trailer bow stop and crank the bow strap tight. Always be sure the bow strap is secured under the roller. That way, if you have to stop quickly, the boat is less likely to ride up the roller. The strap will help keep it in place. Also, always be sure the transom isn’t protruding past the end of the trailer bunks, because the hull can develop a “hook” if it’s not fully supported. When the bow strap is tight, have the driver turn off the engine, and trim the drive or outboard all the way up. Then pull the boat out of the water and go back to the staging area.

Once you’re there, you can offload your gear, attach the tie-down straps and remove the drain plug. A good way to be sure the drain plug never gets left out is to remove it when you pull the boat out of the water, then reinstall it when you get home. By then, all the water will have drained out and you won’t have to worry about putting the plug in next time you launch.

If your boat doesn’t have tie-down straps, it’s a good idea to get them. Most marine stores sell one that will go over the back of your boat and attach to either side of the trailer. On bumpy roads a tie-down strap will keep your boat and trailer together, which is safer and can keep your boat from getting damaged.

Here’s another good idea. If you have full cover for your boat, remove it for towing. It’s also a good idea to remove cockpit covers before towing, because they aren’t designed to withstand freeway speeds. Because of that, they have a tendency to come untied or unsnapped and then flail in the rushing wind. And when they flap in the wind, the snaps can do a lot of damage to your boat’s finish. So save the cover for when the boat is parked or docked.


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