Today, trailer-boaters can choose from a wider range of trailer accessories than ever before. These items offer greater safety and more security while on the road, and provide appreciable convenience whether towing a trailer or backing it up, or just climbing in and out of the boat. Here are examples of eight types of towing accessories that you can easily add to your trailer.
Trailer Bow Ladders
Launching and loading a trailer boat by yourself can be tough, especially when there are no finger docks. Trailer bow ladders solve the problem by making it easy to step in and out of the boat from the bow. The painted steel BowStep from Quality Mark ($409.99; goodsamclub.com) bolts to the trailer tongue and folds down when not in use. If you launch in salt water, consider the Easy Step three- or four-step bow ladder with a galvanized-steel finish to resist rust. It too bolts to the trailer tongue, but does not fold away (starting at $449; easystepsystem.com).
Trailer Side Steps
Sometimes you want to reach in the boat to grab something, but can’t quite reach over the gunwale while the boat is on the trailer. That’s where a trailer side step such as the MegaWare FlexStep Pro ($159.95; keepguard.com) can come in handy. The multiangle, extendable step bolts to your trailer frame and allows easy access to virtually anywhere on your boat. It extends from 17 to 21 inches, and folds away while towing. You can also bolt it to the trailer tongue and use it as a single step to climb over low-profile boat bows.
Automatic Bow Latch
These devices automatically latch the boat’s bow eye as it nestles on the trailer’s bow roller. One of the most popular is the Drotto Catch-N-Release ($314.99 for 3 ¾-inch model; shop.drottoproducts.com), which replaces the trailer’s bow roller. It’s designed to be installed with just one bolt, and eliminates the awkward task of leaning over the front of the boat or wading out into the water to hook up the winch strap. To launch, the latch can be quickly released.
Guide Post LEDs
Many boat trailers come with tall PVC posts to help guide the hull onto the bunks or rollers. Why not use those tall posts for lights to improve visibility of your rig on the highway and serve as runway lights when loading your boat at night? That’s the idea behind the amber LEDs from C.E. Smith ($34.99 per pair; westmarine.com). The LEDs serve as caps to the guide posts, with wires that descend to tie into the trailer’s clearance lights.
With tall boats, it’s almost impossible to see directly behind the trailer while driving the tow vehicle. The new breed of wireless rearview cameras provides a solution. There are a number on the market, but one of the simplest is the Tadi Brothers iPhone backup camera with Wi-Fi adapter ($179.99; tadibrothers.com). You can easily mount the rechargeable, waterproof ice-cube-size camera on the boat and point it astern, allowing you a 120-degree field of view while towing or backing up.
Wireless PSI Monitors
Tire pressure in trailer tires is more critical than for your tow vehicle. If psi drops, it can degrade the trailer-load rating, create excessive heat, weaken tire sidewalls and lead to blowouts. A wireless air-pressure monitor such as the TireMinder Smart TPMS ($346.18; amazon.com) and the TireMinder app can help avert such issues. Compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, it includes a Bluetooth adapter, Rhino signal booster, and four valve-stem caps that sense and transmit both trailer-tire psi and temperature data to your mobile device. Wireless tire monitors are great for long hauls when you need to keep a careful eye on trailer tires.
Not so much a trailer accessory as a connection between the outboard and trailer, a motor tote such as the DD26 Mean Mount Hybrid ($189.99; dd26fishing.com) is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and fitted with automotive bump stops. It snugs between the hydraulic trim rams and the tilt bracket to firmly brace a Yamaha outboard once trimmed down tight. Most importantly, it unifies the engine and boat while trailering to eliminate motor bounce that can damage the trim system or the transom.
Retractable Transom Straps
Bolted to the back of your trailer frame, spring-loaded retractable tie-downs make it quick and easy to unhook your transom straps before you launch, and just as easy to resecure them for the ride home. Star brite’s 2-inch-wide stainless-steel retractable web straps ($121.49 per pair including hardware; wholesalemarine.com) automatically retract into a base when released by activating a tab and lifting the handle. To attach the strap, pull out and attach the S-hook, then tighten and lock with the handle.