top of page

Towing checklist: what to know before you tow your boat

Towing a boat can be an exciting adventure, whether you're heading to a nearby lake or embarking on a coastal getaway. However, before you hitch your boat to the trailer and hit the road, it's crucial to perform a thorough pre-towing checklist to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey. Neglecting certain aspects could lead to accidents, damage to your boat, or even legal troubles. In this article, we'll guide you through the essential steps to take before towing a boat.

Inspect the Trailer

Before anything else, carefully examine the boat trailer. Check for any signs of rust, corrosion, or damage. Ensure that the lights are functional, and the trailer's tires, including the spare, are properly inflated. Additionally, confirm that the wheel bearings are well-lubricated to prevent friction and overheating during transit.

Verify Hitch and Coupling

Confirm that the hitch and coupling mechanisms are compatible and in good working condition. Make sure the hitch ball size matches the trailer coupling size, and that the hitch is securely attached to your vehicle. Inspect for any signs of wear or damage and lubricate moving parts if necessary.

Secure Boat on the Trailer

Properly secure the boat to the trailer using strong and appropriately sized straps or chains. Check that the boat is centered on the trailer and that the bow is securely fastened. Make sure the boat is well-balanced to prevent swaying during transit.

Check Boat Trailer Lights

Ensure that all the lights on the boat trailer are functional. This includes brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights. Proper lighting is not only essential for your safety but also a legal requirement in many places.

Verify Boat Weight and Towing Capacity

Know the weight of your boat and confirm that your vehicle's towing capacity is sufficient to handle the load. Exceeding towing capacity can lead to dangerous situations on the road and cause unnecessary strain on your vehicle.

Secure Loose Items on the Boat

Remove any loose items from the boat, both inside and on the deck. Stow away gear, fishing equipment, and any other items to prevent them from becoming projectiles during transportation.

Check Tire Pressure and Condition

Inspect the tires on both your vehicle and the trailer. Ensure they have proper tread depth, are in good condition, and are inflated to the recommended pressure. Properly inflated tires contribute to better fuel efficiency and overall safety.

Verify Legal Requirements

Familiarize yourself with the towing laws and regulations in the areas you'll be traveling through. Ensure your boat trailer and towing setup comply with all legal requirements, including license plate visibility, speed limits, and specific towing regulations.


Towing a boat can be a fantastic experience, but safety should always be the top priority. By diligently following this pre-towing checklist, you'll not only protect your investment but also ensure a smooth and secure journey to your destination. Taking the time to inspect and prepare before hitting the road will contribute to a stress-free boating experience, allowing you to focus on the joy of the open water.

For more information on towing and boat trailers, feel free to contact Word Boats Trailers sales on or on (425) 499-6883. Word Boats Trailer Sales is based in Spanaway, Washington and is one of the largest boat trailer dealers in the Pacific North West with an extensive selection of single-axle, tandem-axle and triple-axle aluminum boat trailers.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page