4 tips for towing your boat
A weekend's boating always has a good deal of time spent with your boat being towed behind your vehicle. True, it's not anywhere near as fun or interesting, but it's a vital practice to learn and master so you can get to the good stuff.
Here are four tips for towing your boat
1. Know your weights
Towing your boat safely always involves a bit of arithmetic. First, your tow vehicle needs to be powerful enough to do the job. You can find this out by looking at the gross combined vehicle weight figure on its VIN plate. If your boat, trailer and vehicle weigh less than the quoted figure, you're good to go.
You also want the tongue weight - the force the tongue of the trailer puts down on the tow vehicle's hitch - to be around 10 to 15 per cent of the boat and trailer's combined weight. Too little or too much, and trailer sway is a real possibility.
2. Fill up your fuel tanks closer to your boating point
If you know there's a fuel station close to where you're going, don't fill up at home and lug all that extra weight down the road for nothing. Save your tow vehicle some stress and fuel by filling your boat closer to where you'll be on the water.
3. Invest in a coupling lock
A coupling lock is a great little tool for keeping your boat safe while it's still attached to your vehicle. With this nifty little device, it'll be virtually impossible to decouple your boat trailer from your vehicle without the key to the padlock. It gives you that bit of extra peace of mind if you decide to park up at the pub after a long day on the water.
4. Stick to the speed limits
While the most sensible option is always to tow your boat at a safe and appropriate speed, you need to be aware of the limits, as they can vary between states. The general rule is to simply follow the signposted speed, but there are exceptions.
In Western Australia, for instance, vehicles towing trailers are only permitted to travel at 100 km per hour, even though the open highway speed is 110 km per hour.
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