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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a 21'Silver Streak boat with a 8'5" beam.The boat motor and accessories weight approximately 3000#.I have a dual axel EZ Loader trailer.I would appreciate any advice on loading and unloading my boat as this is all new to me.Should I install side rollers on the trailer to help guide the boat on?I have heard so many horror stories about people launching their boats I don't want to be one of them, although I realize that I will be in one of the chapters.Can one person launch a boat like this or are two people required?I had a 14'that I trailed and didn't have any problem but with the extra length and width I'm a little concerned.Thanks for any help you might have.
 

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Frank,

If you have already had a boat on a trailer you are way ahead in the game. Backing up a smaller trailer is generally more difficult than backing a longer and probably wider trailer. You can have a lot of fun in the spring whatching everyone who just bought a boat for the first time trying to back up a trailer for the first time as well.

Anyway, we upsized our boat this past year as well, went from 16 foot to a 21 foot. Launching isn't much of a problem, but retreiving is a little more difficult. It really depends on the trailer. For the first few times you should definately have at least two people.

Do you have rollers or bunks? If you have rollers, DO NOT UNHOOK your boat before you back down the ramp and are ready to launch. I have seen people launch their boat right on the ramp that way. Also, with rollers it is not necessary to submerge your axle, brakes and bearings. We only go into the water up to the bottom of the wheel rim and then push the boat in the rest of the way. This saves a lot of wear and maintainence on you bearings and brakes, by not dipping them when they are hot into the salt water.

If you have a bunk trailer, you can unhook the boat before backing up because it SHOULD NOT slide. With bunks you will have to submerge the trailer to get the boat to float off.

In either case make sure someone is holding a line or it is secured to the truck, trailer or dock before you launch the boat. It seems like a needless thing to say, but again, I have seen it happen in all the excitement.

Retreiveing was more difficult, and again it depends on the trailer. If you have bunks or you just don't mind submerging the trailer, you can drive the boat on (guide rollers or bars will help a lot). For us, similar to the launch, we don't go in deeper than the wheel rim. Guide the boat with the lines and/or a boat hook so the bow comes to rest against the centering roller at the rear of the trailer (aftermarket addition by my father). Secure the boat here either with another person or by keeping tension on the line yourself. Then attach the hook either from in the boat or by walking down the trailer.

The bow hook on our boat is very low and far from the gunwale. So my father made up a 18 inch hook from two long eyebolts and a coupler that really helps. We crank the boat in, haul it out of the water and off the ramp, remove the 18 inch hook, and then crank it in the rest of the way. We also secure the stern to the trailer with cam buckel straps.

Finally, while trailering, be very careful in the turns because the wider trailer will turn inside of your towing vehicle. Turn wider than usual to avoid running over curbs, etc.

This message was edited by doughboy on 12-30-01 @ 1:30 PM
 

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My father (Spygull) made the hook so I'll try to get him to confirm this, but I believe this is correct:

2 eye bolts - 3/8 inch diameter, 9 inches long
1 four inch threaded coupler

Open one of the eyes on the bolt by twisting it in a vise, so that there is a wide enough gap to fit into the bow eye easily. Connect the two bolts with the coupler and voila.

Put the hook from your winch in the closed eye bolt and attach the open hook to the bow eye. Crank it up until the hook is almost to the winch and pull out the boat. On level ground, back down the winch, undo the extra hook, and then rehook the winch hook to the boat.

Our boat weighs about 2300 pounds (boat, motor, and gear). You may want to try heavier hardware depending on the weight of the boat. But we haven't had any problems with the way it is now.

One more thing about trailering:

Make sure you wash the trailer. Especially, the axles, wheels and whatever you dipped in the water. This is probably more important than washing the boat, because fiberglass won't rust.



This message was edited by doughboy on 12-30-01 @ 3:33 PM
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Doughboy,
Thanks for your response,I found some very helpul information in it.It appears that Striper 77 also got some info he could use.I could see where the 18" hook would also benefit my situation and I will definitely make one.Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
 

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Happy to help out and good luck this upcoming season with the new rig.
 

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I seem to be putting my Sea Pro Dual Console 18' much further into the drink (trailer wheels are submerged, Caravan's rear wheels just at water's edge) and can not imagine being able to push the boat off unless I am this far in. I do spend some time with the hose on the trailer every trip. Doesn't this have a lot to do with the ramp incline? I put in at John Burns in 'pequa.
 

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Not submerging the wheels has always been my father's rule. Most people I see at the ramp, launch/retreive their boats by dunking the trailer. I am sure it makes it a lot easier, however it will raise the maintance costs of the trailer (bearings, brakes, axle). I have followed the rule for three different boats on three different trailers. We launch out of Captree, Hecksher, Smith Point and Mount Siani and do it the same everywhere.

It does take a little more work. Sometimes, it is a little difficult to get the boat moving off the trailer, and we hand crank the boat the entire way up the trailer. Some people may not care about replacing parts often and that is fine for them.

We had our last boat for 18 years on a COX trailer that my father had for about 10 years before that. In the 18 years that we had the boat on the trailer we never replaced the bearings or axle. Keep the bearings greased and the axle painted, and keep them out of the water and you are saving yourself headaches.

My friend had his boat for about five years and dunked the trailer every time he launched it. Last year, while bringing it to the ramp, he blew a bearing and lost the wheel on the ramp. What a mess.

The new trailer is a Venture. It is a nice design, with a torsion axle and low rollers. The boat is really cradled inside of it and is fairly low. This design may help, but like I said we've done it this way with two other boats and trailers as well.

Speaking of Venture trailers, the brakes on ours are constantly giving us a problem with either locking up or chattering. It has been happening since it was new and I can't convince my father to bring it in to the dealer. As I've said, we don't submerge them and we flush them out everytime anyway. Anyone else had any similar problems?
 

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Let me also say that I can see that this would not be practicle on boats that are much bigger or heavier than ours. I see guys trailering their 25 foot Grady's that I definately would not want to try to crank up the length of the trailer.
 

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I own a 23' Seaswirl (about 3500 pounds) and my own experiences with trailing were so bad that with in four months I purchased a mooring and just pay for launch service. Not to discourage you, but if you find it unpleasant mooring or getting a slip may well be worth the extra money. That being said let me tell you what I know.

You did not mention what kind of car or truck you are using to pull your boat. I have a Ford F150 but it is not 4WD. This proved to be a real problem at low tide. One day I could not get my boat up the ramp period. Several people had to come and help me push while the truck pulled before the boat would budge (THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO ALL THAT HELPED).

If your trailer does not have bearing buddies you should get them. Wheel bearings are the weakest point in any trailer. You should grease them often, I do it after every trip, not only does this keep them lubricated but it helps keep the salt out.

I also used trailer tie downs. This helps keep the boat from moving around. Check to make sure they are off before you launch the boat. This may sound obvious but one day I forgot. After trying to get the boat off for about five minutes, I had to wad in and remove them. In addition to the embarrassment I also ruined a garage door opener which was in my pocket and every thing in my wallet got soaked (later that day my dog eat all my registrations as they lay out to dry). So if you have to wad in check your pants for items in your pockets.

When launching the boat I found it very hard to push the boat off the trailer. While I use to do this all the time with smaller boats the extra weight of this boat made it very hard even though all the rollers on the trailer moved freely. This may not be a problem for you but if it is then try the ?Clean and Jerk? method of launching your boat. I leave the boat connected to the trailer until the back end of the boat is in water deep enough so that even if is should roll off it won?t hit the ramp. Then I back up and quickly stop. The added momentum will generally roll the boat free.

When I retrieve the boat I normally back the trailer up until the rear tires off my truck are just at the water?s edge. If you have 4WD drive truck or SUV you may want to go in a little further but remember salt water in no good for the truck or SUV either so don?t go to far. I crank on from there. If you plan on doing this often I strongly recommend a power winch, especially if you plan on doing this by your self. I don?t have side rollers or bars on my trailer but they would probably help. I always have a problem getting the back of the boat in the middle of the trailer.

Good Luck !
 

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I own a 23' Seaswirl (about 3500 pounds) and my own experiences with trailing were so bad that with in four months I purchased a mooring and just pay for launch service. Not to discourage you, but if you find it unpleasant mooring or getting a slip may well be worth the extra money. That being said let me tell you what I know.

You did not mention what kind of car or truck you are using to pull your boat. I have a Ford F150 but it is not 4WD. This proved to be a real problem at low tide. One day I could not get my boat up the ramp period. Several people had to come and help me push while the truck pulled before the boat would budge (THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO ALL THAT HELPED).

If your trailer does not have bearing buddies you should get them. Wheel bearings are the weakest point in any trailer. You should grease them often, I do it after every trip, not only does this keep them lubricated but it helps keep the salt out.

I also used trailer tie downs. This helps keep the boat from moving around. Check to make sure they are off before you launch the boat. This may sound obvious but one day I forgot. After trying to get the boat off for about five minutes, I had to wad in and remove them. In addition to the embarrassment I also ruined a garage door opener which was in my pocket and every thing in my wallet got soaked (later that day my dog eat all my registrations as they lay out to dry). So if you have to wad in check your pants for items in your pockets.

When launching the boat I found it very hard to push the boat off the trailer. While I use to do this all the time with smaller boats the extra weight of this boat made it very hard even though all the rollers on the trailer moved freely. This may not be a problem for you but if it is then try the ?Clean and Jerk? method of launching your boat. I leave the boat connected to the trailer until the back end of the boat is in water deep enough so that even if is should roll off it won?t hit the ramp. Then I back up and quickly stop. The added momentum will generally roll the boat free.

When I retrieve the boat I normally back the trailer up until the rear tires off my truck are just at the water?s edge. If you have 4WD drive truck or SUV you may want to go in a little further but remember salt water in no good for the truck or SUV either so don?t go to far. I crank on from there. If you plan on doing this often I strongly recommend a power winch, especially if you plan on doing this by your self. I don?t have side rollers or bars on my trailer but they would probably help. I always have a problem getting the back of the boat in the middle of the trailer.

Good Luck !
 

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Not sure as to what your ramps look like , the ones in my area tend to be steep or just plain poor. On the steep ramps I take one turn around the post to let the boat down slowly (roller trailer) so the stern or bow will not hit the ramp. Have seen this before where someone just lets the boat go and ends up with alot of damage. Also my trailer has an elecric winch. Best three hundred I ever spent. The boat with all the gear and 60 gals of fuel probably weighs approx 3000#. Cranked it the first two times , that was the last two . Best advise is to have everything ready before you back down on the ramp to launch and have everything in place and ready when you take out. outlaw
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to Sea Robin and Outlaw for their help and advice.I know that for veteran boaters that have done this for years many things are taken for granted,but for rookies like myself all of your suggestions are truly appreciated.
 

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What great advice you got ! I trailered also years ago only a 16 checkmate but as a boy helped dad launch our 20'Columbian every weekend for years. Maybe I can add couple more things.
Years ago everyone used chocks now you rarly see it. We had them rigged to a line with clips and clipped them to the eyes at the trailer hitch and they would drag behind the car when coming off the ramps.
As many wrote , try not to submurge the trailers wheels past the bearings, and keep the b.buddies well lubed with marine grease.
Also you will need a power winch unless your built like Arnold Shwarzanegger and are into a serious upper body workout after a day on the water, especially @ a low tide crank.
Use common sense. Dont back the rig down the ramp a little sideways & make sure the cars drive wheels are not on a wet/slippery area of the ramp. Maybe some of this helps?,
Alan



This message was edited by Scalawag on 12-31-01 @ 10:15 PM
 

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This poor guy needed some help.

I can't imagine what this guy must have going out for this time of year with a boat like that from Connetquot. I launch my duck boat at the beach a few hundred yards down, but I never though about sliding into the drink on an icy day a the ramp. I think I'll keep it in 4 wheel drive and pray the next time I launch on an icy ramp. Or better yet, not go (Nah, who am I kidding).

From yesterday's Newsday. Thanks for heads up Opinari :)
 

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Help on Trailering Boat

I own a 18ft. Grady White that weighs approx. 3000 lbs loaded. I have a Shorelander trailer with brakes and StrongArm electric winch. The winch has an excellent clutch that allows controlled tension release on the winch strap cable. I tow with a 2003 Honda Pilot SUV rated 4500lb. with no problem.
My method of launching is to secure a line from the boat's bow eye and wrap 3 turns around the trailer mast behind the winch. After backing the trailer down the ramp into the water only up to the wheel hubs, I remove the safety chain from the bow eye, release the winch clutch, and my boat will begin sliding off the trailer. I allow the bow line to tighten to hold the boat in place while I remove the winch strap cable. I then remove one turn of the bow line on the trailer mast to let the boat slide slowly into the water. This provides full control and lets me launch alone.

Retrieval is similar by reversing the process. A big help in retrieval is to use a line approx. 1.5 times the length of the boat attached to the bow and stern to control the movement of the boat as you walk the boat onto the trailer. I also installed ramps along the driver's side of the trailer so that I can safely walk along the trailer to attach the winch strap cable to the boat's bow eye. You can buy these ramps from Cabela's or make your own from plywood and galvanized hardware sold by trailer shops or marine supply stores.
 

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The more the merrier, when it comes to trailer launching, only if they know what thier doing. If your going to tow it, be set up for it. I've only towed and this is my my 10th year same boat second trailer, the first was patched up and on its way out after two years. I've always had fwd , used it sometimes, glad I had it. Powerwinch , good lines and patience at the ramp makes it a breeze for me even alone. I hate high tide, at the end of a day that usually means alot of cable out and a long winch. I've also cranked my buddy's 17ft Starcraft (aluminum) who never gets more than his tires damp and I'm always glad for my powerwinch. Good maintenance on all equipment and spare parts in the truck got me through each season without a hitch. For a 20' Grady Dolphin, trailering is the way to go for me. A good scrub at the end of the day and a flushout, keeps this '78 fishin' and lookin' good.
 

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I wouldn't give a bit of a worry.... You may screw up like we ALL did !! I takes time & most launchers have beeen very understanding & am willing to help is necessary... For those that don't offer to help, again, don't worry. they will either wait their turn or be first to help. My .02...roger
 

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You may want to just drive your boat up onto your trailer. Yes it means getting your wheels and axles wet but they're built to get wet. You just trim up your motor to allow clearance as it becones shallower and with practice you'll be able to snug right up to the winch, hook on your safety chain and away you go. This is particularly helpful if you're alone or have a cross tide to deal with. You're using your engines to do all the work. My boat is very heavy and after a day in the sun I don't have a lot of energy left.Just spend some time watching folks at the ramps and you'll see that it's not difficult at all.

Most people are very helpful on the ramps, everybody's been there, don't be reluctant to ask for a hand. Good luck.

shebeen
 

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There are some circumstances in which you absolutely have to get the trailer wheels wet in order to launch/retrieve.

Its preferable to keep them dry, but it is not always possible.
 
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