Don’t Neglect Your Boat Trailer: Regular maintenance important for safety—on land!Jan 24, 2021 12:54PM ● By GINA BIRCH
Before you get your boat into the water, you need to navigate the land. Boat trailers are key and there is more to them than meets the eye. It’s a part of boating that many seafarers have had to reacquaint themselves over the course of the pandemic.
When COVID-19 shut down much of the country, and social distancing became the new normal, many people turned to the waters of Southwest Florida for an escape. Those who owned a boat dusted off the cobwebs and crossed their fingers when they put the key in the ignition.
“I’ve never seen so many boats on the water,” Casey Joslin says. The owner of Island Coast Trailer in Cape Coral adds, “When the pandemic hit, everyone who didn’t have a boat went out and bought one.”
At a time when the demand for boats, trailers and parts was skyrocketing, factories were closing because of the pandemic, further disrupting the supply chain. Joslin’s family has been in the boating industry for decades and this local business had a large amount of trailers already on the way. It was better able to keep up with demand than similar businesses around the country.
The pandemic has kept Joslin busy educating the large number of first-time boaters. He’s also helping those with experience who’ve neglected or even sold their boat trailers, and are now paying the price.
“We have a lot of waterfront in Southwest Florida and sometimes people with lifts sell their trailers without thinking about hurricanes and pulling boats out for maintenance,” he says. And during COVID, many wanted to transport boats to other bodies of water in the state.
Pertaining to boat trailers, Joslin says three simple things will help keep you off the side of the road and in the water:
Wash the trailer with fresh water. Just like with boats, saltwater needs to be washed off trailers after use. There may be several types of metal on a trailer and many parts can rust.
Grease hubs, seals and bearings. This is what keeps the trailer moving, and helps keep out water. Pay attention to tires, too, because they tend to lose air every four to six months.
Check brake pads and fluid. If brakes are not in great shape, you could get pushed into traffic, into an intersection or cause an accident. Florida has a brake law on all wheels.
Joslin also recommends first-time drivers practice maneuvering their boat trailers in large, empty parking lots. But most importantly, if you have a boat, don’t neglect your trailer and think twice before you decide to part with it.