Offering 19 major rivers, 19 major lakes including two Great Lakes and access to both the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, New York State is a boater’s paradise. For those looking to get out on the water for a few hours or an extended cruise, there are plenty of opportunities. By trailering a boat and traveling to the water, you can save on marina fees and routine maintenance; here are the trailering rules that you will need to understand to make sure you get to your chosen waterway safely and legally.

Like passenger vehicles, all trailers on New York State’s public highways must be registered and inspected. Trailers with an unladen weight of fewer than 1000 pounds are exempt from titling requirements. If you have a homemade trailer, contact your county’s weights and measures office for locations of weighing stations in your area.

When choosing a trailer, make sure it is capable of handling your boat’s weight and length – this information is identified on the trailer’s capacity plate. When determining the total load, be sure to include all equipment and gear that you will be carrying on a typical trip. As for length, the trailer must adequately support the entire length of your boat including the transom. The trailer must also be capable of being properly adjusted to support the hull uniformly.

Safety Tips:

  • Never exceed your tow hitches rated capacity
  • Secure the trailer hitch is to the vehicle’s frame, especially with increasing loads
  • Always consult your vehicle and trailer owner’s manuals forhitch specifications.
  • Always connect the trailer to the hitch with the use of safety chains. The chain size is usually determined by the manufacturer of the trailer, with the minimum breaking strength of the chain about 1.5 times the maximum gross trailer weight. Related hardware should also be equally rated.
  • Boat trailer brakes need a regular inspection to ensure proper operation.
  • Your trailer tires require regular checking as well. Signs of wear and cracking should be identified, and sufficient pressure must be maintained. Don’t forget to take along a spare as well.
  • Wheels exposed to water also require greasing to maintain wheel bearing integrity.


Check with the state website to make sure you are in compliance with all towing rules and regulations. After all, a day on the water is meant to be fun and safe! Make sure your Sign and Glide membership is up to date and have a great trip!Boating in New York