s anglers, we spend so much time getting our
boats and tackle ready to fish that we often
don’t ask ourselves the most existential of questions: What if we never make it to the water? Or, almost
as bad, what if we lose half a day, a couple of hundred bucks,
and the remaining vestiges of our sanity in order to finally
make it there?
All of the modern bass boat manufacturers supply
quality trailers, but they take a beating. Whether you drive
congested highways in stop-and-go traffic, or brave the
dust, debris, and potholes of neglected country roads,
something is getting loosened or dirtied, or abused at every
Sometimes the problems are unavoidable. Perhaps
something came built or assembled incorrectly that you
could not have known about. Many problems, though, can
be prevented with a little bit of effort and elbow grease
and detected with a simple look around. It’s painful and
potentially expensive to be stuck on the side of the road
broken down, but it can also be dangerous.
With a little bit of forward-facing problem-solving (every
bit as important as forward-facing sonar), you can prevent
the vast majority of these issues.
The first thing you should do when you get any boat – or even before you take actual delivery if possible – is to insure it. Make sure you’re fully covered for anything that might happen. Have a full and frank with your agent, specifically about towing issues, especially if your boat insurance comes from a different carrier than your vehicle insurance because I can guarantee that at the worst possible time, each will try to pawn it off on the other.
What if your truck and your boat are incapacitated? Will you be able to get a tow truck or wrecker for each or both? Think of the worst thing that’s likely to happen and anticipate it.
Even though BoatUS is not my primary insurer, I annually purchase a membership with towing coverage. They’ve been great for me and many friends, using a no- questions-asked approach to getting a disabled boat to safety no matter where it happens.
TOOLS AND PARTS
Many trailer issues don’t require great mechanical knowledge to fix or prevent, but they may require the right tools. I learned this when I purchased my second used boat back in 1999 – the seller was kind enough to tell me that a normal socket wouldn’t get to the lug nuts, only a thin-walled model, and he was kind enough to give me one. That gave me peace of mind before the 500-plus-mile drive home.
Do you have a breaker bar that will get the lug nuts free?
Do you have the right-sized socket?
Do you have a jack that will get the boat up off the ground on any type of surface? It may be possible to improvise – for example, using a curb stop in lieu of a jack on a dual axle trailer – but that’s not always a convenient option when you’re in distress.
Several smaller items can go in a box in the back of your vehicle, too – I carry a tire inflator that plugs into my cigarette lighter (as well as into a wall outlet) and a tire patch kit. You might even want Fix-A-Flat. It never hurts to also carry some ropes and bungees in case, for example,