Last month you heard our tips for trailering your boat. This month, we want to share some tips for backing up your trailer. Keep these in mind next time you head to one of the tricky ramps!
- Practice before heading out!
Just like how you learned to back up your car, learning to back up your boat effectively and safely is important. We recommend using cones as markers to simulate entering tricky or tight boat ramps. Practice a few times before taking the boat out.
- Adjust your mirrors.
Be sure your side mirrors are adjusted so that you can see the side of the trailer on the inner third or half of the mirror. The outer half/third of your mirror will show you any potential hazards.
- Take it slow.
Slow and steady wins the race – it also gives you better opportunity to correct a misstep. A line of boats waiting behind you might make you anxious but take your time and get it right.
- Don’t oversteer.
It’s better to understeer and give yourself the opportunity to correct. If you oversteer, you could get to the point that you have to pull forward and start over.
- Remember – the trailer turns in the opposite direction your vehicle turns. If you are turning your vehicle clockwise, your vehicle will go to the right – as expected. However, the back of your trailer will turn to the left. Knowing this will help you envision where your trailer and boat will end up.
- Place the palm of your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel.
- If you want the trailer to go to the left, move your hand to the left (clockwise).
- If you want the trailer to go to the right, move your hand to the right (counterclockwise).
- Have a friend help.
If you have an experienced boater coming with you, don’t be afraid to ask them to help guide you. An extra set of eyes never hurts, especially if you’re navigating your first tricky boat ramp.