Boat Safety

Towing Your Second Greatest Investment

When you tow your second greatest investment – your boat – down the highway, you’ll have safety chains for the trailer and an outboard. You’ll know your tow vehicle’s towing capacity from the information in the owner’s manual. You’ll plug the trailer lights in to test them and you’ll check tire pressures on your vehicle and trailer. Yes, these are the basics for safe boat towing, however, you can still do more to protect yourself and your “baby.”

First, be mindful of the amount of fuel in your tanks. Free space in the fuel tank allows fuel to move slightly at sea, however, can cause your boat to shift dramatically while towing. For example, when you change directions on the water at 20 knots, you aren’t likely to capsize because the fuel’s weight shifts, but when you corner sharply or move suddenly on the highway at three times that speed, the fuel can shift with enough speed and force to cause your vehicle to capsize. Take it easy and avoid sharp, high-speed turns. It’s also a good idea to have reliable San Diego boat insurance to provide you with roadside assistance in case you do run into a towing problem on the road.

If your boat and trailer weigh more than 3,500 pounds, total, your vehicle should have a weight-distributing hitch that passes the weight along to the vehicle’s axles. This improves a vehicle’s ability to turn, brake and steer. Also, even though space on crowded highways is at a premium, it is important to leave a six-second gap between you and the car in front of you. By doing so, you can be sure that there will be enough room for your trailer to stop if the car in front of you decelerates quickly.

Other towing tips revolve around your tow vehicle’s transmission. If your tow vehicle has an automatic transmission, you can count on the transmission fluid to be extremely hot. If this is the case, you’ll want to have a mechanic install a transmission cooler under the hood to keep your transmission from wearing out at an inopportune time. Other situations where a transmission cooler would be beneficial are if your tow vehicle is older or if you tow your boat frequently.

Trailering or towing your boat is a regular part of boat ownership, however how you tow your boat is crucial in ensuring that each trip is safe and that your second greatest investment remains in tip-top condition. For more information about boat safety, maintenance or ownership, contact Ballast Point Yachts, Inc., your trusted source for used boats and yachts in San Diego. You might be ready to trade in your old boat for a new one! Call 619-222-3620 to speak with a boat broker today.