Every fishing trip should have three main objectives: 1) get prepared and on the water, 2) catch enough to have a good time, and 3) get home safely. It’s fun to focus on that middle one of course, but Pros like Ott DeFoe know that if you want to optimize casting time, you need the right system in place to protect your means of getting out there. That’s why he’s developed this well-rounded boat towing guide with top boat trailering tips to keep your investment safe.
Boat Towing Guide - Ott DeFoe's Top Boat Trailering Tips
Protect Your Investment with These Top Boat Trailering Tips
Big oversights can lead to big problems, but you can go a long way to protect your boat with little adjustments, too. When you have the right routine and system down, including the bass boat trailering tips that Ott DeFoe outlines here, you can keep your boat in better condition, spend less money getting it fixed, and spend more time enjoying the fun of fishing.
Tip #1: Plan to Walk 360° Around Your Boat
To be sure you don’t miss anything, make it a habit to pull to the side and go 360 degrees around your boat, checking down your list each step of the way. Then you can know you're done when you're back where you started.
Tip #2: Tend Your Jack Plate and Transom
It’s costly to repair or replace an outboard, so we recommend starting here. The first thing we do is get it into position because this takes stress off that transom.
As Ott says in the video, consider lowering your jack plate from where it was on the water. You’ll want to find that sweet spot for your particular rig, but 1.5" is a good height to try first. From there, make sure to raise it briefly if you’re traveling over a surface where your skeg might scrape, like an inclined driveway.
After you get it to the right height, strap that transom down. Make sure it's ratcheted and nice and tight.
Tip #3: Straighten Your Outboard (and Keep it Straight)
You might not think it's a big deal for your outboard to be turning or leaning one way or another, and you may be right if you're just going a short distance. However, trailering for long periods of time and trailering repeatedly will cause more wear and tear on the seals of your hydraulic cylinder.
This is where T-H Marine Steer Stops can really save you. It will prevent wear on the hydraulics and it may even help with your fuel mileage. Every little bit helps, honestly, especially with fuel prices like they are.
Tip #4: Support Your Outboard
Lock that motor into place with your transom saver. Long supports protect the transom, but it might put more vibration on the motor. Short supports protect your outboard.
No matter what type you use, remember that trailering on the road is usually much harder on the transom and on your motor than driving the boat on the water.
Tip #5: Check Your Prop and Plugs
Look at your prop and give it a good spin. Make sure there's no line or anything preventing it from working properly.
Then check plugs or flip the switch if you have a remote drain plug.
Tip #6: Secure Your Winch and Safety Straps
By this time in the trailering process, your boat is probably already hooked up to the winch strap, but it’s good to double check it. If you have additional safety straps like some boats do, make sure to connect these now, too.
Tip #7: Check the Subtle Stuff and Small Stuff, Too
There are many small things you can check and, depending on your equipment, this list might not be comprehensive, but don’t forget to look at the following items after you’ve done the main job of protecting your boat and your outboard:
- Lock your Trolling Motor into place with Troll-Tamer
- Make sure rods and tackle and important gear are stowed
- Remove anything you want quick access to in case it's raining or in case there is other inclement weather.
- Remove your HydroWave and graphs so road vibration doesn't put more wear and tear on them
- Make sure hatches are latched and locked
- Fold Seats down if applicable
- Take care of trash and anything little that could blow off your boat
- Double check your trailer lights (tail lights, brake lights, and blinkers) are working
Need Trailering Gear? Check Out Trailer Essentials™
To secure your boat and protect it, check out the wide variety of products available in T-H Marine’s Trailer Essentials™ collection. From tie-down straps to motor supports, replacement trailer parts, and more, T-H Marine has what you need to help you get safely down the road.