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⚠ Thanks for visiting TakeMeFishing.org. If you are interested in enjoying the outdoors and going fishing or boating, check the latest COVID-19 updates on your State Natural Resources Agency website first. We encourage you to follow CDC recommendations and official orders in your state before heading to the water.

Boat Hauling Basics

Boat hauling is easy and anyone can do it. Whether you’re a beginner or have hundreds of miles under your belt, we’ve put together information to help you trailer your boat in a proper and safe manner.

Boat Hauling Checklist:

Use this helpful checklist to transport your boat safety from home to the launch and back again. Never tow your boat trailer before you check to be sure:

  • Coupler, hitch and hitch ball are the same size

  • Coupler and safety chains are safely secured to hitch of tow vehicle

  • All fasteners are properly tightened

  • Boat is securely tied down to trailer (winch line is not a tie down)

  • Wheel lug nuts are properly tightened

  • Wheel bearings are properly adjusted and maintained

  • Load is within maximum load-carrying capacity

  • Tires are properly inflated

  • All trailer lighting is working properly

  • Trailer brakes are properly adjusted and working (if trailer is so equipped)

  • Be sure to check local and state requirements regarding brakes and any additional equipment that may be required

Check your State Boating Regulations

Trailering laws vary somewhat from state to state and are often based on weight and beam. Before you head out on the open road, make sure your boat trailer adheres to all the state regulations. At a minimum, all trailers need to have working taillights and brake lights, and most states require registration of the trailer with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Find more information in the following links:

BoatU.S. Trailering Club, Trailering Laws
American Boating Association, U.S. State Towing Laws

Learn how to launch your boat properly in our next section.