towing SafetyTrailering can add new dimensions to the sense of freedom that comes with boating and that’s one of the reason’s it is so popular. With a trailerable boat you’re free to boat just about anywhere: lakes, rivers, bays or inlets. Trailering is great way to explore different waterways in your state or region. Using a boat trailer is also the most affordable way to store a boat. Our boating tips can help you learn all about towing safety and boat trailer maintenance.

Look for Certified Trailers

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has developed a trailer certification program to help boat trailer manufacturers comply with established industry standards and federal safety regulations, and to help inform the public of such compliance when purchasing trailers. Trailers are certified in the areas of identification plates, capacity ratings, couplings, safety chains, lighting, winches, brakes, registration procedures, and conspicuity systems.

Inspectors visit the manufacturer and physically inspect each boat trailer model for compliance to all certification standards.

A manufacturer participating in this program must certify all models as fitted with all factory supplied equipment on a model year basis.

Getting Started

If you’ve never trailered a boat, there are several things you need to consider. First is the towing capacity of your car, truck or SUV. You can find this information in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Generally, small family sedans are not suitable for towing, although a small, aluminum fishing boat may not present a problem, provided you have appropriate towing equipment installed on the car. Most standard pick-up trucks and SUVs can trailer boats up to 25 feet, but again, consult your vehicle owner’s manual for limitations.

Weighing In

Your boat’s owner’s manual will list the “dry weight” of your boat. That’s the weight of the boat, less fuel and gear. Make sure when you’re assessing your vehicle’s towing capacity; you add several hundred pounds to the dry weight of the boat to account for those extras.

Muscle Power

As the weight, length and width (beam) of a given boat increase, so does the muscle power needed to launch and retrieve it. A small boat may be easy for one person to handle at the ramp, but larger boats, generally those more than 25 feet, may require additional hands. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the ramp if you need it. Trailer boaters are always happy to help.

Source:; 2013.