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AZDave 01-14-2013 08:48 AM

Long Distance Boat Towing
What suggestions, tips, advice does anyone have for me on towing my boat 400 miles. Tie down straps, obviously, no cover for sure, are there any other things to consider? The only thing I can think of, other than a jack and a spare, is one of those broom like mud flaps you see behind an RV.

Rockman 01-14-2013 09:24 AM

Where are you towing from and where to? That will help decide what precautions you will need to take and what obstacles you may be up against...

So far, what you mentioned is a good start...

Why no cover? Depends on which cover you have some covers will leave markings , others will not but will protect your boat in case of bad weather.

Brings tools, basic necessities like duct tape, electrical tape, wire ties, extra tie downs, etc.

Make sure your tow vehicle and trailer are in good working condition in terms of trans and brakes.

There is a thread on here that someone had asked this question last summer and provided a good listing and discussion of items.

Make sure you have a few TMC members' phone numbers who live in the areas you are traveling in case you get in trouble and need help on the way.

SP Maristar 01-14-2013 10:04 AM

I believe Ski Me makes a pretty good trek from Colorado to Idaho fairly often, if not annually. And he is well versed on trailer maintenance/care.

drschemel 01-14-2013 10:10 AM

400 miles not that far but far enough to have problems.
1. Go through the trailer bearings - clean and new grease. Bearing failure is probably the most likely problem you could run into.
2. Need good trailer tires and yes, a jack and spare are nice to have.
3. Make sure lights on trailer work - don't want to be stopped by some local-yokal wanting to boost his ticket count!
4. Trailer brakes not quite as important but nice to have working.
5. As far as tow vehicle, if you don't have concerns about driving 400 miles without the trailer, you probably don't have any worries about driving with it.
6. I've never strapped my MasterCraft down. The cradle on the trailer is pretty deep and you would have to hit one heck of a bump to bounce it out, but it wouldn't hurt. You should probably use the tie downs that have springs or some kind of stretchy portion to avoid stressing the attachment points from vibrations or small bumps.
7. Along those lines, make sure the strap on your boat winch is good and consider tying a back-up line from your bow to the trailer to keep the boat solidly on the trailer.

TayMC197 01-14-2013 10:12 AM

Make sure you have 2 spares and changing tools. It's a huge comfort knowing you have tires and can change them. Other than that, basics stuff is fine.

TayMC197 01-14-2013 10:13 AM

Also, 400 miles isn't that far. I used to pull mine 400 miles in a weekend easily. Check tire pressures about 39 min into the trip. Check to see if the tires are hotter than normal.

NatesGr8 01-14-2013 10:14 AM

In addition to what has been said, I keep a spare set of bearings in my trailer kit along with the necessary tools to change the bearings out in a jam (hammer, brass drift pin, blocks of wood, grease and grease gun).

bobx1 01-14-2013 10:50 AM


Originally Posted by drschemel (Post 901641)
2. Need good trailer tires and yes, a jack and spare are nice to have.

1 - Don't assume your vehicle jack will work with your trailer.
2 - Don't assume your vehicle lug wrench will work with your trailer tire.

Don't ask me how I know but let's just say, I had to leave my rig on the side of the road one time because of the above.

Sullivan 01-14-2013 11:24 AM

Saran case you need to put your cover on due to rain/snow. You can use the saran wrap to wrap the boat just under the rub rail where the cover is going to move around.

If you have a tandem axle trailer its a good idea to take some wratchet style tie downs. If you blow a tire you can always just remove both wheel/tire combos from that axle and use the straps to snug the axle up under the trailer until you can get new tires.

Ski-me 01-14-2013 11:35 AM

I think what's already been said is good advice. 400 miles isn't that bad really so just make sure your bearings are good, tires good, brakes, and a spare tire.

I would also recommend strapping the back of the boat to the trailer with some straps. Although pretty rare, if you get in an accident, you want the boat to remain on the trailer and NOT into your truck.

Thanks "SP".....I've done a lot of towing up to Idaho with a single axle without any problems. I've just switched to a double for a little more comfort towing that far. I think the advice above is great.

One last thing....if you are towing in bad weather/gravel/etc. the idea of some mudflaps is a great idea. I have not done it personally but I would love to do so in the future. Gravel can kick up and put small chips in your gelcoat.

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