June 2008

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
THINK AHEAD -- When it comes to trailered boats, nine out of 10 trailering malfunctions and accidents can be directly traced back to a failure to dedicate some time to the most basic preventative maintenance. Think ahead and pay attention to all the components involved -- before hitting the road or the launch ramp.

Not All Boating Accidents Happen On The Water Some boating accidents occur while transiting to and from the water and quite frequently on the launch ramp. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary says “a successful boating outing begins when you leave home and ends when you safely return home.”

Since the majority of recreational boats in the United States are transported to and from the water, it is important that boaters take as much care transporting their boat, whether it be a power boat, sailboat, paddle craft or personal water craft as they do operating their boat on the water.

When it comes to trailered boats, nine out of 10 trailering malfunctions can be directly traced back to a failure to dedicate some time to the most basic preventative maintenance. Wheel bearings, suspension parts, lights, and a host of other components require constant attention to help ensure any trailering trip smooth and hassle free.

Special attention to the tow vehicle’s hitch is a good idea, as that is the only link between the tow vehicle and trailer. Also consider the fact that one needs a special license and classification to drive things like motorcycles, school busses and vehicles with air brakes like semi-trailer trucks, gravel trucks, etc. 

But, just about anyone can go out and buy a $30,000 boat and trailer, attach it to his/her car — and simply drive away.  No special training is required beforehand and no special license classification is needed. 

Anyone who has ever hauled a boat around for a number of years knows that it may not be too difficult to drive in a straight line at low speeds. However, when it comes to things like driving at highway speeds, passing other vehicles, high winds, backing up, etc., the task becomes much more difficult than one might think. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety offers safety tips for trailering, pre-launching preparations, launching, retrieval and boat storing at

For more potentially life-saving information along with how to take a boating safety course or get a free vessel safety check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, visit http://www.uscgboating.org/.