Email Us:

24/7 (Mon-Sun) Free shipping in United States

car launching a boat on a dam

Trailering and launching a boat

on August 15, 2021

Get ready to launch and trailer your boat! In this blog you will find the following; how to launch and trailer your boat, safe boat towing, and trailer maintenance tips, trailering checklist with products

Trailer into the water & launch your boatTrailering and launching a boat

Did you ever wonder how to get the boat off the trailer safely? For first-time boaters, boat launch can be challenging, but all it takes is some practice!

Launching your boat is easy, just follow our step-by-step guide to make this process easier! After reading this article you will be the boat launch master! Loading the boat on the trailer can also be challenging but don't worry boaters step by step guidance awaits you! Read on!

Everything you need to know about trailering and launching your boat: in this blog, we discuss: How to trailer a boat? How to launch a boat from the Trailer and back onto the Trailer, vehicle and trailer checklist, maintenance on your Trailer, and safety tips when trailering, and of course, the equipment you need, trailer lights, winch line, etc.


How to trailer a boat step by step!

Prepare to trailer your boat, your vehicle and trailer should be checked before you hit the road!

  1. Align the hitch and ball, lower the trailer hitch down over the ball.
  2. Close the latch and insert a safety pin, do not tow without the safety pin; this is essential.
  3. Cross the safety chains or cables, and attach them to the vehicle. 
  4. Attach a safety line to the tow vehicle if your Trailer has brakes.
  5. Plugin the trailer lights.
  6. Use your tie-down straps to secure the boat

Tow your boat safely!


Trailering Checklist

This checklist is essential!

  • Secure the hitch with a safety pin, make sure the coupler, hitch, and hitch ball are the same size
  • Check the trailer safety chains and brakes system, make sure they are securely connected to the vehicle.
  • Make sure the jack is secure on the Trailer and in the traveling position.
  • Connect trailer wiring to the vehicle and make sure all lights are working vehicle and trailer.
  • Ensure the following is secure and in good condition; Check your tie-down straps, transom tie-downs, bowline, and safety chains/cables. (Winch cable)
  • Check your winch and winch line: Winch lines are used to pull the boat in or back the boat into the water. You need a winch & winch line to get the boat off the trailer
  • Check your rearview mirrors of the vehicle and adjust them if necessary before you leave.
  • If you have any gear inside the boat, remove them, or make sure they are secured and packed evenly on the boat. 
  • If you are traveling by boat/ trailer cover, make sure the cover is secured and tied down properly.
  • Check the tires.
  • Secure the boat on the trailer!


What equipment do you need to Trailer a boat?

Always have extra equipment! Incase you need to replace it!

Trailering - Winch Straps & Cables (

Trailering - Trailer Winches (

Trailering - Tie-Downs (

Trailering - Lights & Wiring (

 trailer lighs, winch line,  bow line


  • Give yourself space on the road, do not attempt to overtake other vehicles, remember you are driving with a load, and you will take longer to accelerate. So take it slowly!
  • Keep your eyes on the road; you do not want to brake suddenly; keep your distance from other vehicles. Remember you need to brake earlier than you usually will because the heavy load breaking is slower than usual. 
  • Taking wider turns when approaching a turn, you don’t want your Trailer to go over the pavement because your turn was too sharp. 

boat ramps, float

 The boat ramp is where you will be launching your boat, always check the traffic at the ramp, do not back the trailer if there is a boat in the water or a boat launch in the process! Back away from the boat! This sounds silly but you will be surprised how many accidents occur at a ramp! Boating destinations do differ, so you might find a launching ramp, to release the boat into the water, and a separate launch for loading the boat back onto the trailer.

Launching a boat from a trailer into the water?

Prepare your boat to launch, preferably in the parking lot where you will not block the ramp.

  • First, unplug the trailer lights; they can burst when you back into the water because the light bulbs are hot and the water cold.
  • Attach fenders to the dockside of the boat to protect your boat.
  • Load all your gear on the boat – Fishing gear, cooler the gear you want to travel with.
  • Remove the transom tie downs (Transom is the horizontal reinforcement that strengthens the stern/back of the boat)
  • Get your dock lines ready and attach them to the bow and stern (front & back) cleats.
  • Install the drain plug, after a day out boating, you will release the drain plug, so make sure you install it again otherwise you will find yourself submerged with water
  • Position your vehicle straight down the boat ramp, then slowly back down the ramp. 
  • Back the trailer far enough so that the stern of the boat starts to float, and your engine outdrives is sufficiently submerged. Rule of thumb; when the trailer mudguards are just underwater, slightly submerged, you are good to go!
  • Put your vehicle in the park position and apply the parking brake/handbrake.
  • Now you release the winch and safety chain. 
  • Back the boat of the Trailer and make sure your motor is centered to avoid going in other directions.
  • Tie your boat to the dock, and go park your truck and Trailer.

You did it! Your first boat launch

Slowley launching a boat

How to load your boat back onto the Trailer?

After enjoying the day out on the water, it is time to pull the boat out of the water. Don't stress we have got you covered with step-by-step instructions!

  • Drop and go: drop the person responsible for retrieving the vehicle and trailer at the dock. All passengers can get off the boat at the dock.
  • Slowly back down the vehicle straight into the ramp put the vehicle in park, and set the parking brake.
  • Never move the boat into the launching ramp if the vehicle and trailer are not there yet.
  • Signal the driver of the vehicle when the trailer is backed far enough.
  • Do not submerge the trailer too far; if it is too deep, the bow of the boat could drift off the bunk or rollers.
  • With a bunk trailer, you will slowly drive the boat onto the Trailer; first, make sure your motors are centered and keep your boat in line then push moving your boat to the top of the Trailer. With a roller trailer, you will just put the bow on the trailer and use the trailer winch to bring it up all the way. (Do not use engine power to move the boat onto the Trailer)
  • Tilt the motors up. 
  • Attach the safety chain or winch strap to the bow of the boat, hook up the winch, and crank the boat uptight.
  • Slowly pull the vehicle out of the ramp, move to the parking lot where you can properly secure the boat. 
  • Remove all the gear from the boat and remove any weeds or marine growth from the Boat and Trailer. 
  • Remove drain plug to drain bilge water and drain any live wells.
  • Put the trailer lights back.
  • Install transom tie-downs


Trailer Maintenance.

Maintenance is important! All boaters should practice maintenance on both boat and trailer! This is an important step before or after every boat trip! Check your equipment for damages before and after a boat trip! Winch line, Dock line, bow line, straps to securely tie your boat to the dock, always secure both bow and stern to ensure your boat does not float away! You never know when it gets windy!

Check your tire pressure regularly as well as the spare tire; you don’t want them to go flat; you also need to check for wear and tear on the tire.

Apply Corrosion Block High-Performance Waterproof Grease to Wheel Bearings, Chassis, Winches, Windlasses, Wiring Harnesses.

marine crease heavy duty

Apply CRC Marine Heavy Duty Corrosion Inhibitor  A long term, flexible corrosion inhibitor that protects & preserves metal surfaces, electrical connections, engine components & fasteners

CRC Marine Heavy Duty Corrosion Inhibitor

Always rinse your Trailer with fresh water after every trip, the same as you do with your boat. 

Wash your Trailer at least once a month if you do use it often and apply protectants.

Keep your trailer brakes clean and inspect brake pads at least every second season, depending on your travel. 

Related blog

Boat maintenance daily, weekly and monthly

All trailering products

Trailering products (

 If you’ve ever tried to launch or tow your boat without a checklist, we can assure you that it is not an easy task. This blog post will cover every step and provide the tools necessary for properly launching and trailering your boat. Towing boats requires precision, understanding of physics, patience, and time management skills. Remember these steps when preparing to haul out as they may save you from some major headaches down the line! We hope this article was helpful in aiding your next boating experience. What is one thing about trailer launching or hauling out on the water that seems like second nature now? Share with us what tip made all the difference for you by commenting below!

Marine dealer near me? Marine Supplies US sells a wide variety of boat parts and accessories.  We are the top USA online chandlery!

Your perfect marine store, to supply you with all the trailer accessories you need!



Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Read our guide to planning a weekend getaway on your boat to ensure it goes...

Learn how to choose the right boat for your needs to properly approach the purchase...

Learn about the essential tips for boating with pets to ensure that you both have...

Read about the 7 accessories you should always keep on your boat so that you...

In the following article, we will explore all the benefits of boating for your body...

Learn how to care for your boat in winter, to ensure that your vessel makes...

Go through the boater’s guide to handling seasickness so you can ensure that any vacations...

In this blog you will find 10 of the most amazing lakes to fish at...

Do you go fishing often? Here are 10 of the best fishing gadgets you must...