How to back a boat using just your mirrors
Backing a boat on its trailer is a skill all boaties aspire to master, but when they get in the driver's seat for the first time, it can seem like an impossible task.
Yet first impressions can be deceiving, and they certainly are in the case of learning to back your boat. Once you get your head around what you need to be looking for and how to you need to turn the wheel in response, it becomes much simpler.
Here's our foolproof method for backing your boat.
Backing a boat trailer with just your mirrors
The first step is to realise that you don't need to be turning around in your seat, craning your neck to see out the back window - this method relies entirely on your side mirrors. It's an extremely practical method if your vehicle's full of boating gear and seeing out the back window might be a bit tricky.
So what's the method? It all comes down to this - whatever mirror you see more of the trailer in, turn the wheel towards that mirror to straighten up. If you see too much boat in the left mirror, turn the wheel towards it and the trailer will go back behind your vehicle. Keep monitoring your mirrors, making adjustments for where you see the trailer, and you will find that you really don't need to make many movements of the wheel. All it takes is a few small movements to keep the trailer behind and you're set.
Follow this method and you'll be backing straight every time, no trouble. It really is that easy.
A few tips to keep in mind...
If that didn't click for you, thinking about it in a different way can help. Another way to get the behaviour of the trailer into your head is to remember that the rear of the trailer always moves in the opposite direction to the way you turn the wheel. So when you turn right, the vehicle moves right but the trailer moves left. This isn't as straightforward as remembering the mirror trick, but it can help to get the idea of the trailer's behaviour into your head.
Remember too that, generally speaking, the larger the trailer the easier it is to back, because the movements of the steering wheel don't have the same impact as they do with a smaller trailer. This makes a larger trailer easier to practice with if you're just getting used to backing.
For more helpful hints and 'how to' guides, check out some of our other articles. If you'd like a selection of our best sent every month to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter too.