Hello friends! Thank you for reading this month’s edition of Pro Tip. As a full-time fishing guide, I trailer my skiff every day and have a routine that I complete before launching my boat and trailering it home. This routine has become second nature. One evening this week, while on a walk with my beautiful wife and our son, we witnessed a loaded utility trailer in tow become unattached from the towing vehicle. Thankfully, it only hit the towing vehicle and no one was injured. I walked over to help the two gentlemen and was shocked at what I saw. I was quickly reminded that there are some common sense trailer tips that are worth sharing.
Trailer Safety Chains: The safety chains found on your trailer tongue are there to help keep your trailer attached to your vehicle. In the story I previously mentioned, the two gentlemen neglected to use the chains. In fact, one of the chains was broken. Additionally, trailer chains can be connected to the vehicle diagonally. By attaching them diagonally, if the trailer does detach from the vehicle, the trailer tongue will be cradled by the diagonally attached chains instead of dragging on the ground or road.
Trailer Coupler and Trailer Hitch Ball Size: A second issue I observed while assisting with the detached trailer was a mismatched trailer coupler and trailer hitch ball. To attach the trailer to the hitch, you must lower the trailer coupler on top of the trailer hitch ball, then latch and lock. Keep in mind, this is not a one size fits all procedure. Each trailer is different. Couplers and trailer hitch balls have a number to clarify the size, which is based off of inches. The numbers on both the ball and the coupler must be the same to ensure a proper and secure fit. If you have multiple trailers with different coupler sizes, you will need the correct hitch ball for each. Another option is to visit your local trailer shop where they can remove and replace each of the couplers and make them all match.
Sobering Facts: According to www.joshts.com, a website focused on trailer accident statistics, over 400 people die each year in accidents involving utility trailers towed by passenger vehicles. Over 20,000 people have to seek medical attention each year due to accidents involving utility trailers towed by passenger vehicles. Additionally, these accidents cost our economy almost $2 billion every year. Taking the extra few minutes to properly attach your trailer and confirm that everything looks good, will save you time and heartache, and ultimately, it could save someone’s life.
Capt. Jonathan Moss
Go Castaway Fishing Charters