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September 21, 2007

Pre-Launch Checklist

Obey these 11 trailering commandments.

Make trailering experiences safer, faster and more enjoyable by simply keeping a laminated list of the following tips in your tow vehicle:

1. Attach safety straps: Although sometimes overlooked, they will hopefully keep your boat from bouncing off the trailer should you hit a bump on the highway.

2. Fasten safety chains to the tow vehicle: Safety chains are there for an obvious reason. Inspect them every so often for rust and wear, and replace if necessary.

3. Secure cooler lids, tackle boxes and lifejackets: Think about it-how many of these items have you seen on the roadside?

4. Check tire pressure (including spare): It's easy to forget, but important to do before a long trip.

5. Maintain bearing grease level: Be careful not to overpack the bearing grease or you could blow a seal.

6. Inspect and test trailer lights.

7. Install a winch safety strap and chain: This could save your boat from sliding off the trailer.

8. Be sure that lug nuts on both the boat trailer and tow vehicle are tight. Avoid overtightening by using a torque wrench.

9. Remove rods from holders: Reduce the risk of theft during roadside stops, and breakage due to low-hanging tree limbs.

10. Check and lock the hitch coupling: Make sure the hitch is secure and won't open accidentally.

11. Insert or remove wheel chocks: These can prevent your entire rig from sliding into the water.
- Paul Maxwell