Here are some great tips from Boat US to help avoid looking like Peter Griffin over Memorial Day weekend! Let’s boat!!
Back Up Your Boat Trailer Like A Pro
It requires teaching your brain some new habits, but practice is the key to success.
Directing a boat trailer to a specific spot at a specific angle on an articulated hinge, while driving in reverse, is not a natural act — despite what you may see at the launch ramp. But with a few basic lessons, a handful of helpful tips, and some practice, you can learn to back up a trailer like a pro. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process step by step.
Set Up For Success
Situations in which you may be required to back your boat trailer can include anything from a simple straight line to negotiating around a tight corner or slipping it between or around obstacles. For practice purposes, we recommend creating a low-stress setting using cones in an empty parking lot or other open area, with plenty of room to maneuver and nothing to hit if you make a mistake.
Once you get a few practice sessions under your seatbelt, begin to negotiate more complicated situations until you become comfortable with your skills.
Preparation Is Key
Before you go anywhere, make sure your side mirrors are properly adjusted. You’ll know they’re set correctly from the driver’s seat when you can see the side of the trailer on the inner third or half of the corresponding mirror. The outer half of the mirror will show any approaching hazards. If you don’t feel like you can see enough of, or around, your trailer, add wide-angle or blind-spot mirror attachments.
Now, turn on your hazard lights as an alert to other drivers, and let’s get started.
The Physics Of Backing
Understanding how your boat trailer reacts when you steer your tow vehicle is crucial to successful backing in any situation. The key is remembering that when you have a trailer in tow, the back of the trailer will move in the opposite direction to that of your vehicle.
So, for example, if you shift your vehicle into reverse, turn your steering wheel clockwise, and put your foot on the gas, the back of your vehicle will go to the right as usual, but the back of the trailer will go left. In other words, if your hands are on the wheel at the 9-and-3 position, you must turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction that you want your trailer to go.
A no-fail tip is to grasp the wheel (palm down) with one hand at 6 o’clock (bottom of the wheel). From this position, if you want the trailer to go left, move your hand to the left (clockwise). If you want the trailer to go right, move your hand right (counterclockwise). Much easier!
A well-executed backing is something to be proud of, your moment to be a hero. The way to make that routine is through practice. Try backing up in multiple settings and from multiple angles to teach your brain and body how to navigate this essential part of trailer boating.
You’re parked in a safe setting …