Hibernating Your Boat Trailer For Winter

We are quickly coming to the time of the year when many boat owners hibernate their boats and trailers for winter.

Wise boat trailer owners know that the end of the boating season and during winter is the best time to take care of any servicing and repairs – not only so they can head straight out on the water on the first sunny day in spring without hassles but also because any damage that has occurred during the summer boating season will get worse if it sits dormant during winter.

Why can the damage get worse when the trailer is not being used? Obviously not all damage falls into this category but many small problems with a boat trailer seize or rust up from the trailers lack of use during winter. This can mean that a small simple repair becomes a larger and more expensive repair a few months down the track. Not to mention that you may forget about the damage until you try to take the boat our again in spring – only to discover your days plans ruined.

For those that have registration due in the winter months don’t forget to book in for your rego check and annual service. Remember, if your trailer’s registration lapses for more than 3 months you will require a blue slip (eAUVIS) for your trailer to get it re-registered. A blue slip (eAUVIS Inspection) requires not only a safety check but also a design and ID check. Whist not a long process it will cost you more money in registration fees at Service NSW to get it re-registered.

8 Boat Trailer Buying Tips

boat-trailer-on-beachWhen it’s time to put new boat trailer under your boat there are some important things you should think about to help you make the right decision.

1.       Know Your Boats Weight – Fully Loaded

Your trailer must have the right GVM to carry your fully loaded boat. This includes not only the weight of the boat but also the motor, full tank of fuel, water, food and toys e.g. fishing gear / water skis etc…

The GVM of your trailer must be more than the total weight of the trailer and a fully loaded boat combined. Ideally you want to have 10%-20% ‘spare’ weight on your GVM so that you are covered if you want to add anything else to your boat in the future.

2.       Steel Choices

You need to make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Australian made trailers manufactured from Australian steel generally have a steel wall of 3mm – 4mm in thickness. Many imported trailers only have a steel wall of 2mm. What does this really mean? It’s the difference between a trailer lasting 4 years or 12 years – The thicker the steel the longer it will take for rust to eat through the metal.

Besides steel thickness; galvanising and steel quality are important factors. Australian galvanising processes provide better rust protection than Chinese galvanising. Also, if you require structural repairs to an imported trailer in the future it is not always possible to weld Chinese steel effectively.

Hate rust? Choosing a trailer made from ‘C’ Channel allows you to wash down all parts of the trailer frame which can prolong its lifespan.

Trying to keep the weight lower for your big boat? Alloy trailers provide a strong frame with reduced weight which can help you keep your boat and trailer within a GVM limit.

3.       Tyres

13” or 14” tyres are the easiest and most cost-effective sizes to get hold of if you happen to get a flat tyre and tyres over 13” are also suitable for highway driving speeds. Boat trailers should have light truck tyres fitted which provide better grip and driving stability.

4.       Skids or Rollers?

Boats with Alloy hulls are generally put on skids and boats with fibreglass hulls are put on rollers.

5.       Brakes.

Australian legal braking requirements for boat trailers:
GVM less than 749kg – no brakes required

GVM 750kg – 1999kg – mechanical or hydraulic override brakes required

GVM 2000kg and over – operator assisted brakes required i.e. hyaraulic/electric.

6.       Ready Made or Custom Made?

Standard Range trailers are trailers that can be adjusted to fit many different boat brands and hull shapes whist a custom made trailer is made specifically to suit the measurements of your boat – leaving nothing to chance.

7.       Boat Fit Up

No matter your trailer choice you need to have your boat ‘fitted;’ to the trailer. This is where the trailer componentry is adjusted to cradle your boat making it easy to use. This is also essential to successfully drive on and drive off your trailer.

8.       Accessories

There are many boat trailer accessories that can make using your boat trailer easier and hassle free. Consider accessories such as walkways, stronger winches and jockey wheels, guide posts and launch and retrieval systems as an investment in hassle free and enjoyable time at the boat ramp.

 

Boat Trailer Safety & Responsibility – Accidents, Insurance and Trailer Maintenance

boat-trailer-on-beach“I don’t want to spend any money on it.”           

“But I just paid to have my boat serviced”

“I don’t care if it fails rego – I’ve got a mate who will pass it”

“Ï don’t need brakes – my car will pull it up – I cut the brakes off because they weren’t working”

“But I only travel around the corner to the boat ramp.”

We hear it all the time and it’s alarming how many boat owners do not care about the safety and legal responsibility of their trailer. If you own a boat and trailer – no matter how small or large, it will cost you money every year to register it, service it and keep it in a roadworthy condition.

We regularly see trailers that have had their brakes removed by the owner rather than fixing them; underrated trailers; trailers with cancerous rust causing parts of the trailer to crumble away; missing lights and imported boat trailers that have been registered illegally. The reality is that if you have an accident your insurance company will find any reason not to pay your claim – including any damage to your car and boat as well as your trailer (and anyone else’s vehicles if you are at fault). The onus is completely on the boat trailer owner and tower. Whether you knowingly or unknowingly tow a trailer on the road in a condition deemed unroadworthy or the accident damage is due to lack of maintaining your boat trailer you will be responsible for the repair bill or police fines.

Boat trailers are classed as vehicles – they come under the same laws as cars and caravans – meaning that they all need to be roadworthy to be used on Australian roads.  While you may not think a boat trailer is heavy (a 5m boat trailer can easily weigh 400kg), when you combine it with the weight of your boat, the motor, fuel and everything else you have packed in it – you are towing a dangerous object at fast speeds.

Legally, if you are not servicing and maintaining your boat trailer yourself it must be serviced and repaired by a licenced repairer – usually a motor mechanic. Contrary to popular belief, marine mechanics can only legally perform a small number of trailer repairs.

Cheap import Chinese and eBay parts are also flooding the trailer market causing boat trailer owners many headaches. These parts are inferior to quality brands and while they may seem cheap at the time of buying them they often fail quickly once being used and many times do not fit well on the trailer causing more problems and a larger repair bill down the track.

So please be realistic with your boat trailer. Boating is not a cheap activity and while a trailer is not the most expensive part of the “package” it will still cost a fair amount of money over its lifespan to maintain it in a safe and roadworthy condition. An easy way to remember to maintain your trailer is to get it serviced every year when your rego is due. This way any problems found will usually be small costing you less money and stopping a larger more expensive problem from occurring down the track. Please look after your trailer – not only does it carry your pride and joy, but it will also help keep you and your family safe on the road.

Our Top 3 Fathers Day Gifts

Mechanic.

With Fathers Day quickly approaching we have listed our 3 most popular gifts available from Bold Trailers that are sure to bring a smile to dad’s face.

  1. AL-KO Trailer Wheel Lock – $100
    What better way to keep dad happy then to look after his pride and joy and make sure it does not get stolen. The easy to use, high quality AL-KO Wheel Lock fits trailer and caravan tyres from 13″-15″ wheels, has anti scratch protectors and is key operated.
  2. Chrome Tow Ball Covers – $6
    For the dad who has everything why not add a chrome tow ball cover to his card. The simple gesture to hep him avoid grease on his trousers and make his car look good at the same time.
  3. Boat Trailer Guide Posts – $100
    Sick of the arguments at the boat ramp? Want to make it easier to drive the boat onto the trailer straight? Then a pair of Boat Trailers Guide Posts will do the trick. Starting at $100 a pair its a smart addition to a trailer.

7 Tips Before Buying A Folding Boat Trailer

Portrait of a happy retired senior man spending time on the water fishing.

Folding boat trailers are a great way to enjoy boating. When used correctly you can enjoy many happy hours of boating and kayaking and then store your trailer out of the way until you want to use it again. While this is a great solution for many who have downsized or don’t have the space to store a traditional boat trailer, they do come with limitations both in their usage capability and boat carrying capability.

1.       Folding boat trailers are perfect to be folded up into the boot of your car, on the roof racks or on the back of your van and put together at your holiday destination for local, short distance usage. They are also great for those who are lucky enough to live very short distances from their local boat ramp. You often see a holiday traveller with a tinny on the top of a camper trailer and the folding boat trailer stowed in their boot or on the roof racks.

2.       Folding boat trailers are not designed to be used at high speeds on open roads. The small wheel size limits travel speeds on most brands to approximately 60 – 80km/h. If you will be travelling on freeways or highways you should invest in a sturdy non folding boat trailer with 13” rims and tyres.

3.       Folding boat trailers are designed to hold smaller, lightweight boats like tinnies and inflatables – not something the size of a Bayliner 1750.

4.       Typically folding boat trailers do not have springs or suspension. This is because they are not designed to carry very heavy loads. The lack of springs also keeps the weight of the folding trailer down and makes it easier to assemble.

5.       If you plan to use your folding boat trailer on a public road you must get it registered.

6.       You still need to service and maintain your folding trailer, including the bearings, wheels and lights.

7.       Know the origin of your folding trailer. There are a few folding boat trailers on the market, both Australian and imported brands, and you need to ask questions and be aware about the availability of replacement parts and warranties.

Bold Trailers stocks a range of folding boat trailers from various brands including popular brands Dunbier and Bulldog. If you are thinking about buying a folding boat trailer give us a call on 8544-8114 to discuss the best option for you.

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