and Story by Margie Anderson
TRAILER TIPS -- John and
Margie Anderson are the proud owners of this Skeeter boat and have
some tips for readers who use boat trailers. They took this photo
during a day of fishing at Roosevelt Lake with Garry Garland,
brother of Bobby Garland who invented Gitzit.
Buying a used boat is a great way to get
into boating, and there are a lot of good bargains out there. When
you check out a boat before buying, donít forget to examine the
First, check to see if the trailer is NMMA-certified. That will
mean that it meets industry guidelines for safety and quality.
Then check the weight limit that the trailer can handle and make
sure that the total weight of the boat, motor, and the gear youíre
putting in there doesnít exceed that number.
Check the trailer for rust and cracks and check for any sign that
there has been major repair in the past.
Donít forget to inspect the tires. If they look bad, add the
price of a new set to the cost of the boat.
Inspect the bearings, too and make sure they have enough grease.
Itís hard to inspect the bunks or rollers while the boat is on
the trailer, but you can make sure the boat is level and that the
bunks or rollers are adjusted right. You should also hook up the
trailer and check to make sure the lights all work.
Be sure to check brake lights and blinkers, too. You can get a
lot more information about boat trailers at
In Case Of Emergency
Just once have we had an emergency with a boat, and that one time
was actually on the highway on the way home from the lake. The wheel
flew right off the trailer, sailed between some guys on motorcycles,
and disappeared into the desert.
We were incredibly lucky that no one was hurt, but needless to
say, we were stopped cold. You donít go far with only one wheel.
I called our insurance company, and they gave me the name of a
towing company. I called them and explained our dilemma, and they
told me they would have a guy out there right away.
Hours later we were still sitting on the side of the highway, but
now we were thirsty and tired and hot and longing to get home to use
the bathroom. When the tow truck finally showed up, it was the wrong
kind: He couldnít handle a boat on a trailer.
By now my cell phone battery was running down, and I was getting
anxious. About four hours after the incident, the correct tow truck
finally showed up.
Our dealer had agreed to stay open to allow them to drop the boat
off, so we went on home. Hours later, the dealer called to tell us
that the boat still wasnít there.
When I called the tow company, I was informed that they were
being "very careful" towing the boat. The girl kindly offered to
have the boat towed to THEIR yard, and they would then take it to
our dealer the next morning.
I gratefully agreed. Major mistake.
The next day, the nice lady wasnít there and instead there was
some bully with a gangster name and an accent to match. He told me
that there was no way they were taking my boat anywhere without
charging another towing fee.
Several calls between him and my insurance company got us exactly
nowhere, and the insurance company finally paid the ransom, although
they promised to sue.
This whole incident was a mess. Hereís what I learned from it:
1. Always check your lug nuts before you drive off. In our case,
the bolts had sheared off, so there was nothing we could have done.
But if yours are loose at all, fix it before you take off.
2. Keep your cell phone charged up and put an adapter wire in
your tow vehicle. That way, if your phone starts to run down, you
can plug it in and keep going.
3. Ask your insurance company who they use in your area and check
the towing companies out ahead of time. From my story and from some
of the news stories you have probably heard in the past, there are
quite a few towing companies out there that will take advantage of
4. Make sure that your boat insurance covers towing and damages
on the road while in tow. Our damages were covered by warranty,
5. Keep your insurance company numbers with you at all times.
Luckily, our carrier had given us a card with our policy number and
the phone number on it, and I had this with me.
6. Always carry water with you.
7. Boat insurance is worth every dime.