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Posted 7/14/2014

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By John Lindsay
Safety Officer

How many times have you been ready for a great day out on the water, but when you put your boat in, it wouldn’t start? Or after a great day of cruising the harbor, you find yourself stranded on the side of the road with your trailer broken down. There are plenty of precautions that we can take to ensure that our day of pleasure doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Prepare your boat:

  • Make sure your boat battery has a full charge
  • Test your steering (sometimes they will “freeze up” from not being used)
  • Start your motor in your yard with the proper flushing attachment
  • If you will be out after sunset, make sure your navigation lights are working properly
  • Inspect your personal protective equipment:
  • Coast Guard-approved, and properly fitted, personal floatation devices for each person on board
  • Throwable cushion or life ring
  • Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher for boats with permanent gas tanks
  • Flares for boats operating in coastal waters
  • Horn, bell or whistle

Prepare your Trailer:

  • Inspect tires for wear and proper inflation, including your spare tire
  • Ensure your trailer safety chains are connected to your tow vehicle
  • Have proper working trailer lights
  • Make sure trailer brakes have an emergency stop chain in case your trailer becomes disconnected from your tow vehicle
  • Periodically make sure your trailer wheel bearings and hubs are in good shape
  • Make sure your boat has a tie-down strap that keeps it secure on the trailer
  • Always rinse your trailer off with fresh water if you have launched your boat in salt water