Directing a boat trailer to a spe- cific spot at a specific angle on an articulated hinge, while driv- ing in reverse, is not a natural act
– despite what you may see at the launch
ramp. But with a few basic lessons, a
handful of helpful tips, and some practice, you can learn to back up a trailer
like a pro. In this article, we’ll walk you
through the process step by step.
Set up for success
Situations in which you may be required
to back your boat trailer can include
anything from a simple straight line to
negotiating around a tight corner or
slipping it between or around obstacles.
For practice purposes, we recommend
creating a low-stress setting using cones
in an empty parking lot or other open
area, with plenty of room to maneuver
and nothing to hit if you make a mistake.
Once you get a few practice sessions
under your seatbelt, begin to negotiate
more complicated situations until you
become comfortable with your skills.
Preparation is key
Before you go anywhere, make sure
your side mirrors are properly adjusted.
You’ll know they’re set correctly from
the driver’s seat when you can see the
side of the trailer on the inner third or
half of the corresponding mirror. The
outer half of the mirror will show any
approaching hazards. If you don’t feel
like you can see enough of, or around,
your trailer, add wide-angle or blind-
spot mirror attachments.
Now, turn on your hazard lights
as an alert to other drivers, and let’s
The physics of backing
Understanding how your boat trailer
reacts when you steer your tow vehicle
68 | BoatU.S. Magazine AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017
68 | Trailer backing
72 | DIY hacks
76 | Install a TurboSwing
82 | Replace a rubrail
Back your boat trailer like a pro
BY RICH ARMSTRONG
It requires teaching your brain some new habits,
but practice is the key to success