Trailering Essentials

"Tech Review" from our November/December 2006 issue

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Tony Bessinger

For inevitable on-the-road problems, a spare parts and tool kit is essential. Our trailering experts recommend traveling with a box filled with extra grease, bearings, and a grease gun that works with Zerk fittings. They also recommend carrying hydraulic jacks, one spare wheel assembly with a mounted tire, and a few unmounted tires. An entire axle assembly, complete with a wheel and a tire, can be a crucial backup. Here are a few of their must-have items that will ensure your boat gets to its next regatta in one piece.

1. A wheel chock is a key ingredient to safely changing trailer tires on the road.
2. Your on-the-road tool kit should include a grease gun to top off the trailer's wheel bearings with marine-grade grease.
3. Tie-down straps will vibrate in the slipstream of the tow vehicle, so they should be padded, which will prevent them from damaging the boat's gelcoat.
4. A keel cover protects the keel from road debris.
5. Tie-down straps should be rated for your boat's weight and should be easy to install and tighten, and remove.
6. Wrapping any mast, particularly one made of carbon fiber, helps prevent road and UV damage.

Don't Forget Your Permits

Each state has different laws about what size boat you can trailer with or without a permit, what the maximum speed limit is, what lights are required, and if trailer brakes are required. To help plan your trip, check out this interactive map. Boat US dedicates a section of www.boatus.com for those who tow, and another great resource is "Chapman Trailering", by Joe Skorupa and Pat Piper, $14.95, www.hearstbooks.com