Boat trailering can be a bit stressful, with your pride and joy zinging along at highway speeds mere inches from asphalt, and why in the past we’ve covered Boat Trailering Tips, and told you about 5 Trailering Disasters to Avoid. One of the disasters we talked about related to a boat shifting on the trailer. When I saw this the other day, however, that whole issue took on a new light.
Believe it or not, this boat was strapped down. You can’t see it from the angler of this photo, but as I passed by I saw a piece of the frayed, ripped strap attached to the stern tie-down. So, here’s lesson number one: If you’re currently towing with a frayed or old strap, replace it immediately. If you have to think about whether or not your strap is old and worn, then you need to give it a careful inspection. And even if the strap is new, checking to make sure it’s heavy-duty enough is probably a good idea.
But there’s more we can learn from this picture. Notice the trailer type? It’s a roller-trailer, which allows the boat to move and slide much more freely than a bunk trailer. This is great for loading and unloading at the ramp, but as for safety when towing down the highway, you need to be aware of the fact that gravity won’t help very much – that strap and the bow connection become all the more important.
Speaking of bow connections… why didn’t this guy’s safety chain hooked to the bow eye save the day? Because he didn’t have one. You can see the loop attached to the trailer’s bow-stop, where that safety chain was supposed to be hooked. You can also see the frayed, parted cable coming from the winch. Once again, a failure to inspect for wear and tear is to blame.
Finally, one has to ask, what triggered this event? Did the tow vehicle and trailer hit a large bump, or swerve suddenly? Nope. This took place about 50 yards from a stoplight, and simply hitting the gas from a full stop was all it took to get this boat rolling. That’s a rather scary thought, which should make it clear that especially with a roller trailer, it doesn’t take much to get the boat moving and you’re depending on the bow hook, tie-down strap(s), and safety chain at all times.
The bottom line? What we see in this picture is something you and I hope to NEVER see in the rear-view. A full review of road safety gear and it’s maintenance is in order, each and every time you tow your boat.