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Purchasing, safety tips for your boat trailer in Oregon and Washington

Along with owning a boat a trailer is commonly an essential requirement.  It is important that when purchasing a trailer in Oregon, Washington or elsewhere, that you stay within the trailers  recommended capacity guidelines. When determining capacity, be sure to include the weight of fuel and accessories in addition to the weight of the craft.

Trailers come with either closed or open frames. An advantage of closed frames is that they help protect the wiring, but because the frame is closed problems can be difficult to locate and repair. On the other hand, open frames leave the wiring exposed, and subsequently make it easier to spot and repair potential problems.  Another advantage of open frames is that they can drain water more easily and efficiently.

Among other things when purchasing a boat trailer you should consider the method of PWC support, the frame strength and construction, whether lights and wiring are approved for marine use, whether rollers and bunks are properly positioned and attached to the main frame for proper suspension, and the durability of the finish. (Powder-coated or galvanized finishes are more durable than baked-on enamel).

It is important to purchase good quality tie-downs with the right type of hooks to use with your trailer. You should always inspect your trailer carefully before each use. Here is a sample list of some of the items you should remember to check:

  • Tires for wear and inflation
  • Hitch and safety chain for signs of wear or stress
  • Braking system to make sure you can stop with a load
  • Electrical system for improper connections, corroded terminals, damaged wires, burned out bulbs, etc.
  • Wheel bearings are properly packed with a good bearing grease
  • Lug nuts and main nuts are tight
  • Stops, rollers and bunks for wear or cracks
  • Coupler and ball are compatible in size and are properly secured. Check for wear or stress
  • Both bow and stern of your PWC are secured to the trailer. Use extra tie-downs in case one should fail
  • Emergency supplies; carry basic tools, spare bulbs, bearings, grease, mounted tire and highway flares

Drive carefully. You should give other drivers plenty of warning for any maneuvers.  Remember to allow for the extra length of the car and trailer when turning and passing, and allow extra time for stopping.

It's a good idea to pull off the road periodically to check the rig. Examine the tires and wheel bearings for signs of overheating, check the lights and test the tie-downs.

Before Leaving Shore

Here are some pointers to consider at the Launch Ramp:

  • It helps to have someone in the car, and someone at the water.
  • Prepare your PWC as much as possible before taking your turn in line. Remove the craft cover. Remove the seat for a few minutes to allow gas fumes to vent. Undo the stern (not bow) tie-downs. Unplug the trailer lights. Make sure the PWC drain plugs are in place. Visually inspect your PWC from bow to stern.
  • Be courteous. Wait your turn at the ramp. Don’t rush, but don’t linger longer than necessary.
  • Make sure the way is clear before launching. Look for other boats, debris, etc.
  • Be prepared to ride clear of the launch area immediately and to secure the PWC out of the way of others.
  • Never leave the trailer unattended on the ramp with only the parking brake set.

Contact Us!

For more information on boating safety, Portland Boat Insurance coverage or to get a boating insurance quote, please contact Fox Insurance Agency at 503-277-2300 or click here.