Trailered Boat Check List

Hooking Up Boat Trailer

  1. Check that you have boat keys
  2. Check that you have boat documentation
  3. Check required equipment (PFD’s, lights, horn, extinguishers, docking lines & fenders)
  4. Check trailer tire pressure
  5. Measure engine oil level
  6. Check fuel supply, lower unit oil, power steering fluid and trim tab fluid levels
  7. Attach trailer to vehicle’s hitch and secure safety chains, back straps and trailer lights
  8. Check trailer lights’ function
  9. Raise lower unit to trailering position before moving on roads
  10. Walk around inspection

Launching Boat in Water

  1. Check boat ramp for adequate depth and conditions including current
  2. Check drain plug
  3. Remove back straps and detach trailer lights’ receptacle from vehicle
  4. Check navigation lights and raise radio antenna
  5. Deploy fenders and dock lines, as required
  6. Back trailer into water
  7. Check for water in bilge and test bilge pump
  8. Bring lower unit to 1/2 down (for I/O), or to full down (for outboard)
  9. Turn on blower (if inboard or I/O) for 4 minutes and smell for gasoline fumes
  10. Start engine and warm up 3 minutes
  11. Check forward and reverse gear shift function
  12. Detach safety chain and winch strap
  13. Back boat away from trailer
  14. Depart ramp area allowing for water and current conditions

Returning Boat to Trailer

  1. Back trailer into water at boat ramp
  2. Raise lower unit to 1/2 up (for I/O) and approach trailer allowing for water and current conditions
  3. Drive or winch boat onto trailer
  4. Secure boat to trailer using trailer winch and safety chain
  5. Pull trailered boat out of water
  6. Attach back straps
  7. Raise lower unit to trailering position before moving on roads
  8. Take down bimini top, secure boarding ladder and lower radio antenna
  9. Attach trailer lights receptacle to vehicle and check trailer lights’ function
  10. Walk around inspection

Storing Boat in Yard

  1. Position trailer in yard and deploy trailer jack support
  2. Detach trailer from vehicle
  3. Lower engine’s lower unit or outboard motor
  4. Flush engine with fresh water, wash trailer, boat and drain bilge, leaving drain plug out
  5. Turn off battery
  6. Grease trailer wheel bearings
  7. Replace boat cover

David Walsh, original author
Charleston Sail and Power Squadron Engine Maintenance Course
Last revised May 2016
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