Trailering your boat can open up a whole new world of recreation possibilities. With your boat on a trailer, you are free to head to any body of water you wish, depending on your mood. So whether it is a day at the lake with the family, or some fishing in the Bay, it’s up to you where to go explore. It is also one of the most affordable ways to store your boat, a opposed to more expensive marinas and slips. These tips can help you get started with trailering, as well as to stay safe on the road.

Think Certified: The National Marine Manufacturers Association has established standards and regulations; by looking for a trailer that is certified, you can rest easy knowing that the capacity ratings, couplings, chains, lighting, winches and brakes are up to code.

Think Capacity: The User’s Manual will list the towing capacity of your vehicle. Standard pickups and SUV’s can generally trailer boats up to 25 feet. When considering the weight, don’t forget that you will be adding gear and fuel to the boat’s dry weight, normally several hundred more pounds.

Think Cooperation: The longer, heavier and wider a boat, the more hands it will take to launch and retrieve the boat. If you don’t have additional hands with you, never fear. The trailering community is always willing to help, so feel free to ask for help.

Think Compliance: Laws regarding trailering and towing a boat vary from state to state, so make sure that you know your local requirements before hitting the road.

Think Checklists: Whether checking the grease fittings, making sure all lights and turn signals are working, or making sure you have a jack and spare tire, a few moments with a checklist can save you hours by the side of the road.

Think Clearance: When driving, don’t forget that you have an extra 25-30 feet behind you. Quick or tight turns are impossible and you need to consider wider turning access in parking lots and on the road. Also, don’t forget all the extra weight – so it will take you longer to reach highway speeds, as well as to brake. Give yourself plenty of wiggle room.

Think Common Sense: Take things slowly, and use common sense. With a little invested research, practice and preparation, you are ready to embark on a whole new boating adventure.