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Trailering How-To's

Video on Maintaining a Boat Trailer

How to Maintain My Boat Trailer (Video)

Video presented by on how to maintain your boat trailer. You'll learn how to grease your trailer bearings, check tire pressure, lug nuts, lights and connections. ... read more

Video Transcript

Hey, welcome back to

You’ve seen us do our preventive maintenance on our outboards and our kicker by changing the gear lube and changing the crankcase oil. .

Today, with a long trip ahead of us, we’re going to make sure the trailer is up to snuff for the long trip. We’re going to make sure we have grease in the bearings, make sure our lug nuts are tight, we’re going to make sure the tire pressure is where it is supposed to be, we’re also going to check our lights and our electrical. So let’s get going. .

Okay, so to do the bearings… this trailer is equipped with what we call, it’s like a bearing buddy, there’s like a grease zerk on the inside of the cap here, the dust cover. It’s right here. It’s kind of a spring-loaded system. So when you are putting the grease into the zerk, you’ll see the spring kind of collapsing and the zerk will come out a little bit. That spring will keep that grease forced into the bearing when you travel. .

If we zoom in on here, when we load it up, you’ll see that spring coming out. You don’t want it to come all the way out tell it stops. Maybe just before it stops. .

Alright, we have the grease in there. You can see that spring collapse most of the way toward the outside of the grease fitting here. So that one is good to go. All we need to do is check the air in the tire and tighten the lug nuts. .

Alright, one tire is complete. We did the grease. We checked the lug nuts and we checked the air. We’re next going to do the other three tires. Then we’re going to check our lights and our electrical connections. .

Okay, we have all the tires where we need them as far as the air pressure, and the grease and the lug nuts and all that good stuff. .

Now we’re going to check the lights. We’re going to get in the truck and we’ll check the running lights, the turn signals and the brakes. .

Left signal…check.

Right signal…check.

Brake lights…check.

Running lights…check.

Alright, we did all the light checks. Because this trailer is basically brand new, we don’t have a lot of issues with corrosion or anything like that. But if you do have an older trailer, one of the ways you can prevent corrosion is with some dielectric grease. .

Anywhere you have a connection here, be it in the main part of the truck, or in your five prong or four prong connector, get some dielectric grease on that. That will prevent it from getting corroded while your in storage, or just while the boat is getting dumped underwater, or whatever you are doing. .

We don’t seem to have any trouble with that. .

If you do have connection problems, or some of your lights aren't working, 99 percent of the time you are probably looking at a grounding issue. Either you white wire is not making a good connection or your not getting a good connection between the truck and the trailer at the ball. So a lot of that is kind of simple stuff. You don’t want to wait until the day you are leaving to check on this stuff. .

Its two days before we leave for South Dakota. If we waited until the last minute, and we had a lighting issue, we’d end up leaving late because of it. .

So that’s about it. All this trailer maintenance is pretty simple. You don’t want to be that guy sitting on the side of the road with a blown bearing or getting a ticket because your lights are out. .

That’s it. Thanks for watch this week. Next week, not sure what we’ll be doing . But we’ll be doing something. We’ll be out in South Dakota. Maybe we’ll have some cool stuff from out there. .

Thanks for watching…See you! .

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Boat Towing Regulations by State

Boat Trailer Towing Regulations – Focus on the Essentials

As a boat owner, knowing boat trailer towing regulations should be a priority. Once in a while, you may need to move your boat, Jet Ski, personal watercraft (PWC), or ... read more any other water craft via road. With the right tools and skills, you will manage to do it safely. However, matters get a bit complicated when you are towing across different states. In one state you will be abiding by the stipulated rules. But in another state, you will count yourself lucky if the only thing you get is a ticket. Regulations on towing a boat vary depending on the following factors:

Regulations of Towing Weight

Towing regulations aim at addressing the additional weight. Towing a trailer adds pressure on the vehicle. More power and torque is demanded from the engine. The vehicle’s suspension and stability is affected. The effect is also felt on the brakes as well as road handling. The more the weight, the more the strain. It is prudent to match the vehicle to the correct trailer hitch. Class I - less than 2000lbs, Class II-less than 3500lbs, Class III – less than 5000 pounds and for more than 5000lbs but less than 10,000lbs use a Class IV trailer hitch. A hitch that is in good condition will remain in place throughout the tow.

Regulations on Trailer Lighting

Know the Regulations of Trailering Towing a boat may cause inconveniences to other road users. First, you will be obstructing their view ahead. Second, you will have extended the distance they need in case they want to overtake you. Third, the trailer may have made the road narrower. To make their lives much easier, it is vital to ensure the boat and trailer is visible from all angles at all situations. All the brake lights, clearance lights, and turn signals should be working as required by law. The reflectors should also be clear and visible from a distance in any type of weather.

Requirements on Trailer Brakes

One of the main reasons why boat trailer towing regulations exist is to ensure good braking procedures are followed. Most towing accidents are caused due to human error especially when braking. The driver either underestimates the weight of the trailer or the distance. A small trailer can rely on the vehicles braking system, but, larger trailers need to have their own brakes. What constitutes the legal requirements differs from region to region. In some states, the weight is set at 1000kgs (2200lbs), others it’s 1200kilograms (2600 pounds), while in some it is 1360kgs (3000lbs). The general rule however, is that the kerb weight of trailer plus boat should not be more than 85% of the towing vehicle.

Variance on Speed

Your speed should reduce when towing a boat. This also applies to vehicles that have big and powerful engines. It is never so much about the ability to pull or tow, but more of being able to stop in time and safely. Lower speeds allow the driver to control the vehicle better. It also puts less stress on different components such as hitch, suspension, brakes and more. Usually, the speed on single carriageways is set at a maximum of 50mph, while motorways and dual carriageways have the speed limit set at 60mph.

Properly set up on a trailer

Towing Safety

Towing regulations require the trailer to be properly secured to the vehicle. The first step is using the right Class of trailer hitch. The next step is making certain the boat is properly harnessed to the trailer using chains, straps, lines or any other method. To secure the trailer even when the main attachment fails, a secondary linkage is used. Safety chains that come with latched hooks should be crossed beneath the hitch. In case of failure of the main connection, the trailer will still remain secured thus avoiding an accident or loss. The chain’s breaking strength should not be less than the trailer’s gross weight.

Many boaters dread towing a boat due to the varying regulations in different states. Nonetheless, this should not be the situation. Trying to cram or memorize the different regulations is also not feasible. All what you need is the State Trailer Towing Laws Chart/Table. The Table outlines all the regulations in different states. It covers the maximum trailer length, height, and width. The Chart also offers insight on the permissible length of the vehicle and the different weights that require brakes. With proper preparation and understanding the boat trailer towing regulations, towing a boat will become less of a challenge.

Boat Towing Regulations by State

States Maximum Trailer
Height (Feet)
Maximum Trailer
Width (feet)
Maximum Trailer
Length (feet)
Total Vehicle/trailer
Combined Length (feet)
Gross Weight of Trailer
Requiring Brakes (lbs.)
Alabama 13.5 8 40 65 3,000
Alaska 14 8.5 40 75 5,000
Arizona 13.5 8 40 65 3,000
Arkansas 13.5 8.5 43.5 65 1,500
California 14 8.5 40 65 1,500
Colorado 14.5 8.5 NS 70 3,000
Connecticut 13.5 8.5 40 60 3,000
Delaware 13.5 8.5 40 65 ALL
District of Columbia 13.5 NS NS 55 3,000
Florida 13.5 8.5 40 65 3,000
Georgia 13.5 8 NS 60 3,000
Hawaii 14 9 40 65 3,000
Idaho 14 8.5 48 75 1500 (A)
Illinois 13.5 8.5 42 60 3,000
Indiana 13.5 8.5 40 65 3,000
Iowa 14 8.5 53 70 3,000
Kansas 14 8.5 NS 65 ALL
Kentucky 13.5 8 NS 65 NS
Louisiana 13. 8 40 70 3,000
Maine 13.5 8.5 48 65 3,000
Maryland 13.5 8.5 40 55 3,000
Massachusetts 13.5 8.5 40 60 NS
Michigan 13.5 8.5 45 65 3,000
Minnesota 13.5 8.5 45 60 3,000
Mississippi 13.5 8.5 40 53 2,000
Missouri 14 8 NS 55 NS
Montana 14 8.5 NS 65 3,000
Nebraska 14.5 8.5 40 65 3,000
Nevada 14 8.5 NS 70 1,500
New Hampshire 13.5 8.5 48 NS 3,000
New Jersey 13.5 8.5 40 53 3,000
New Mexico 14 8.5 40 65 3,000
New York 13.5 8 48 65 3,000
North Carolina 13.5 8 48 60 4,000
North Dakota 14 8.5 53 75 3,000
Ohio 13.5 8.5 40 65 2,000
Oklahoma 13.5 8.5 40 65 3,000
Oregon 14 8.5 45 65 NS
Pennsylvania 13.5 8.5 NS 75 3,000
Rhode Island 13.5 8.5 NS 60 4,000
South Carolina 13.5 8.5 48 NS 3,000
South Dakota 14 8.5 43 75 3,000
Tennessee 13.5 8.5 40 65 NS
Texas 14 8.5 NS 65 4,500
Utah 14 8.5 40 65 NS
Vermont 13.5 8.5 NS 75 3,000
Virginia 13.5 8.5 45 65 3,000
Washington 14 8.5 53 75 3,000
West Virginia 13.5 8 40 65 3,000
Wisconsin 13.5 8.5 48 65 3,000
Wyoming 14 8.5 45 85 NS

  • "NS" = Indicates not specified, please contact local government for requirements.
  • (A) = Weight

The state laws data is provided by the American Automobile Association. Neither AAA or can guarantee its accuracy and assume no responsibiltiy for errrors or omissions. Changes may have been made since this data was compiled. Visit or contact your local government offices for additional details.

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Trailering a Boat
How to Tow and Trailer a Boat (Video)
Learn how to Tow and Trailer a Boat. ... read more

Video Transcript

[Male] Most of us live within 90 miles of boat accessible waterways. And the fact is most recreational boats are trailered to and from the water. Trailering your boat can add new dimensions to the freedom that comes with boating, that’s one of the reasons it’s so popular. You are free to boat just about anywhere: Lakes, rivers, bays or inlets. Using a boat trailer is also the most affordable way to store a boat.

[Female] If you have never trailered a boat there are several things to consider. First, the towing capacity of your car, truck or SUV. Most standard pickup trucks or SUVs can trailer boats up to 25 feet, but always check information about towing capacity in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. When shopping for a trailer make sure that it bears the national Marine Manufacturers Association certification label. This means it complies with established industry standards and federal safety regulations.

[Male] Safely hitch the trailer to your vehicle using these steps. First back the ball under the hitch and couple it. Latch the hitch by inserting the safety pin and connect the safety chains. It’s always a good idea to cross the chains. Connect the lights. If your trailer is equipped with brakes, connect the safety brakes cable to the vehicle. After that’s done check the headlights, brake lights and turn signals to ensure all trailer lights are working.

[Female] Now you’re ready to go. Before setting out, plan your trip well using a map and noting turns and exit numbers. If you can plan your route online and printout directions, all the better. In general it helps to travel about 5 mph slower than the traffic on the highway. Stay in the right lane unless passing. You’ll get there with less stress and nearly as quickly. Stop periodically to check the wheel hubs for excessive heat a sign of problems.

Leave plenty of space in front of you when you drive. Even a trailer with brakes will double a vehicle’s emergency stopping distance. Turning a corner with a trailer takes double the arc. Check traffic before you start a turn and swing wide enough to avoid curbs, signs or any other obstructions on the inside of your turn.

[Male} Pulling a boat holds a few challenges for boaters. But the steepest learning curve comes with backing the trailer into its parking place or into the ramp. It’s not intuitive and in fact it works just the opposite of how you think it should. In essence when you steer, you turn the wheel in the opposite direction. For example if you want the trailer to back to the right, you have to push the tongue to the left. And if you want to back it to the left, you have to push the tongue to the right.

With most boats is best to look over your shoulder and drive with the left hand. Remember you’re pushing the trailer not pulling it. Practice in an empty parking lot with lots of space until you get hang of it.

[Female] It’s important to maintain your boat trailer. Hubs and lights get dunked twice every time you go boating. Pamper both as you would your boat, it’s an essential element of boat trailer maintenance. Periodically inspect the hubs by popping off the cap. If the bearings are dry add grease. Have a friend or family member occasionally stand behind your trailer and make sure to brake lights, tail lights and turn signals work. As with your boat, a thorough fresh-water cleaning of your trailer after each use way extend its life. It’s also a good idea to invest in a spare tire just in case.

[Male] For more information on towing and trailering visit your local boat dealer or go to
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About Trailering

The Job Of A Boat Trailer

The main jobs of the boat trailer are to tow or store your boat but you can also use it to launch and retrieve your boat from the water.

Boat trailers are made up of several different components. They all have different jobs that when working properly and together make for a smooth nautical adventure. From the bigger couplers, tongues, and jacks to the trailer lights and safety chains, all of these parts needs to be maintained to safely operate your trailer.

Keeping your trailer in top condition is just as important as taking care of your boat...without a trailer you won't get very far!