If you are planning a boating vacation this summer heed this advice from Brandon Palaniuk. The professional bass angler from Idaho puts more miles on a boat trailer in a single year than most recreational boaters do in a lifetime.
"Boats and trailers are made for long road trips, and especially bass boats," Palaniuk said. "Taking time out to inspect things before you leave home can tip you off on any problems that might lead to a breakdown on the road."
That begins with a walk-around inspection to make sure nothing looks out of place. Palaniuk inspects the wheels and checks the tires for proper inflation. He checks the brake lights, turn-signal lights, and all of the lights used for nighttime driving. With everything in safe working condition, he pays special attention to the connections between the boat and trailer.
That actually begins at the lake.
"When I load the boat, I make sure the bow eye is snug against the roller on the jack stand," he says. "Even an inch or two of separation makes a huge difference in how secure the boat is to the trailer."
The Skeeter Boats pro continued, "The problem occurs on the road when the boat begins to bounce on the trailer because its not securely fastened."
Palaniuk also uses a bow safety chain for added protection. The inexpensive device provides an added level of security, and peace of mind should the winch strap break.
Next, he moves to the rear of the trailer to make sure connections are secure, inspecting the transom-tie down straps. Palaniuks Skeeter Custom Trailer features retractable tie-down straps that are bolted to the trailer frame.
"Because they are attached you cant lose them, but more importantly, they are custom fitted and factory installed," he added.
Next, he checks the transom saver. There are several types available, from the traditional bar that connects to the transom and trailer frame, to new models that offer more features.
"A lot of times we don't realize there is more wear and tear put on your transom and outboard than you put it through on the water," he explained.
Palaniuk uses a DD26 Fishing Mean Mount that features automotive grade bump stops that protect the engine and transom in one package. The benefit is the mount functions like a shock absorber to reduce impact while towing the boat on the highway.
He also uses DD26 Fishing Mean Stops Steering Lock Clips. The device prevents outboards equipped with hydraulic steering from shifting from side to side when trailering. The engine stays straight, thereby preventing damage to the motor supports.
For longer road trips, Palaniuk does all of the above, and he conducts a walk-around at each fuel stop.
Add your own must-do steps to complete a trailering checklist. Just make sure you add this important last step-pack the drain plug. Even better, bring along a spare!