Boat Towing Checklist | Boating Magazine

Boat Towing Checklist

Boat Towing Checklist

Make sure everything goes smoothly and safely when launching your boat by preparing beforehand.

Boat Towing Checklist

Pre-Launch To-Do List
(in parking area or ready lane)

*Remove tie-downs.
*Remove engine support.
*Disconnect trailer wiring from tow vehicle.
*Load and stow gear to be carried aboard.
*Check boat systems: battery, engine, bilge pumps, lights and horn.
*If equipped, turn on the engine-compartment blower.
*Make ready dock lines, fenders and boat hook.
*Install the drain plug.

Boat Towing Checklist

Launch To-Do List

*Back down far enough to allow engine cooling water to be picked up.
*Set the emergency brake and put the vehicle in park.
*On stern-drive or outboard boats, lower the drive.
*Start the engine and let it warm up.
*Disconnect the winch hook from the bow eye.
*Proceed to launch.
*Once the boat is clear, pull away and park.

Boat Towing Checklist

Retrieval To-Do List

*Back the trailer into the water, but do not submerge it too deeply.
*The skipper should approach the trailer slowly, taking wind and current into consideration.
*Nudge the boat's bow into the center of the trailer; let it settle before winching or powering up to the bow stop.
*Attach the bow strap and safety chain.
*Raise the outboard or outdrive before driving up the ramp.
*Clear the ramp area as quickly and safely as possible.
*Reconnect trailer wiring, attach tie-down straps, lower antennas and secure the rig for the road.
*Remove the drain plug.
*To prevent corrosion and fight invasive species, wash the boat and trailer and flush the engine as soon as possible (ideally at the launch ramp wash-down).