Chapter 3 Review — Boating Equipment — Continued
Proper maintenance of a vessel has many benefits, including the probability of a safer boating experience. When performing general maintenance on your vessel, you should always use marine-approved parts instead of auto parts.
TRANSPORTING AND TRAILERING
The operator should always use the appropriate type of hitch and safety chains when preparing a boat for safe towing.
Similar to boats, trailers have capacity plates. In addition to having the capacity to carry the boat, you should ensure that the trailer has the capacity to also carry the motor, fuel, and any additional gear onboard. Also keep in mind that the combined weight of the vessel and its engine should NOT exceed 90 percent of the trailer's recommended load capacity.
Before hitting the road, be sure to do the following:
- Make sure fuel and gear is distributed evenly throughout the boat
- Make sure the boat is centered on the trailer
- Adjust side-view mirrors as necessary to get a clear view of the trailer and any traffic behind.
- Tie down all loose items and equipment in the boat.
LAUNCHING AND RETRIEVING A BOAT
There are many things to remember when launching a boat; proper etiquette is one of them. Always prepare the boat away from the ramp or launch area to avoid blocking any other boaters who are waiting to launch or retrieve their boat.
Similar etiquette also applies when retrieving a boat. Unload fuel and equipment away from the ramp, if possible. Prepare the vehicle and trailer for retrieval, and wait your turn.
A few tips to keep in mind when retrieving a boat are:
- Only back the trailer into the water until TWO-THIRDs (2/3) of the bunks or rollers are submerged. (Make sure the towing vehicles' wheels stay out of the water, if possible.)
- Be sure to rinse off any aquatic nuisance species if present before you leave the water way.
Gasoline and its vapors are a major cause of marine fires. Therefore, boaters must take care when fueling to avoid spills and the spread of gasoline vapors. Gasoline fumes are most likely to accumulate in the bilge.
- Unload portable tanks and all passengers prior to fueling these portable tanks.
- Secure the boat to the fueling dock and turn off the engine.
- Never completely fill the gas tank; gas needs room to expand.
- No smoking or flames should be present.
No two boating trips are the same; every experience is different. You should use a pre-departure checklist before each trip, regardless of its length. The checklist is easy to review, and it will also ensure new passengers are informed and comfortable.