how to safely trailer a boat

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HOW TO SAFELY TRAILER YOUR BOAT

HOW TO SAFELY TRAILER YOUR BOAT

Choosing a tow vehicle that can safely handle your boat or watercraft makes all the difference.

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Trailering a boat involves more than coupling the trailer to your vehicle – it also requires choosing the right vehicle for the task in the first place.

Not all vehicles are built for trailer towing. Keep in mind your trailering needs and basic practicality when choosing a vehicle. You need a vehicle that can meet your daily needs and also be sturdy enough to tow your watercraft when you are ready to play.

For instance, if the combined weight of the boat and trailer you intend to pull is in excess of 6,000 pounds, you cannot pull the load with a truck rated to pull only 5,000 pounds.

Generally speaking, you can choose a GMC truck, crossover or SUV that meets your needs exactly. For instance, if your boat is in the 6,000-pound range and the trailer is another 1,500 pounds, a properly equipped Sierra 1500 model would be appropriate for your needs. The 1500 series has a maximum conventional trailering capability of 12,100 pounds. On the other hand, if the combined weight of the boat and trailer is significantly larger, you will need to consider something from a heavier-duty model line, such as the GMC Sierra 3500HD, which offers a maximum gooseneck trailer weight rating of 35,500 pounds, maximum fifth-wheel trailer rating of 32,000 pounds and a maximum conventional trailer rating of 20,000 pounds.

Once you have chosen the GMC vehicle that meets your boat trailering needs, follow these steps to be sure you tow your boat safely and efficiently:

  • Never exceed the trailer weight rating of the GMC vehicle you are using, and pay close attention to such details as tongue weight and combination weight ratings
  • Before backing the boat trailer down a launch ramp, disconnect your trailer wiring, especially if your trailer uses incandescent bulbs for lighting. Doing so reduces the chance of breaking a light if cold water touches a warm bulb. Remember to reconnect your wiring once you’re out of the water again and ensure your lamps function as normal before heading out on the road
  • When loading the boat onto the trailer, distribute the weight properly. Winch the boat forward as far as it can go on the trailer, but make sure the trailer bunks or rollers are evenly supporting the weight
  • Before heading out on the road, secure the boat to the trailer with boat straps
  • Adjust the mirrors properly, and install extended side-view mirrors, if needed
  • Make sure the lights are working properly on your boat trailer
  • Ensure that tires are properly inflated and in good condition
  • Remember that you are pulling a great deal of additional weight, and slow down your driving speed to allow for proper braking distances. Never exceed the speed rating of the tires on either the tow vehicle or trailer.
  • Use the proper hitch for the trailer you are pulling

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  • Sierra's 12,100-lb max conventional trailering capability requires a properly equipped Double Cab Standard Bed 4WD model with available 6.2L V8 engine and Max Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires properly equipped 3500 Regular Cab DRW Long Box 2WD model with available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine and gooseneck hitch. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • 32,000-lb rating requires properly equipped 3500 HD Regular Cab long bed DRW 2WD model equipped with available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine and fifth-wheel hitch. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires properly equipped 3500 Crew Cab model with available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Canyon’s 7700-lb rating requires 2WD Crew Cab model with available Duramax 2.8L I-4 Diesel engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. See your GMC dealer for details. Click here to see all GMC destination freight charges.

  • Requires 4WD Double Cab with available 6.2L V8 and Max Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires properly equipped 3500 Regular Cab DRW Long Box 2WD model with available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine and gooseneck hitch. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Seating for 9 requires SLE with front bench seat.

  • Requires available Duramax Diesel engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires 2WD Denali Short Box model with 5.3L V-8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires properly equipped 3500 Crew Cab DRW Long Box 4WD model with available 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine and fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Passenger's 9,600-lb rating requires a 2500 or 3500 Regular wheelbase model with available 6.0L V8 engine and trailering equipment package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Cargo’s 10,000-lb rating requires  the available 6.0L V8 engine and trailering equipment package.  Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual.  The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Cutaway’s 8,940-lb rating requires a 4500 Series 159" Wheelbase model with available 6.0L V8 engine. These maximum payload ratings are intended for comparison purposes only. Before you buy a vehicle or use it to haul people or cargo, carefully review the vehicle loading section of the Owner’s Manual and check the carrying capacity of your specific vehicle on the label on the inside of the driver’s door jamb.

  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). When properly equipped; includes weight of vehicle and trailer combination, including the weight of driver, passengers, fuel, optional equipment and cargo in the vehicle and trailer.

  • Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). When properly equipped; includes weight of vehicle, passengers, cargo and equipment.

  • Canyon’s 7000-lb rating requires available trailering package and 3.6L V-6 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Sierra's 12,500-lb rating requires Sierra Double Cab or Crew Cab Short box 2wd with 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine and NHT Max Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Trailer weight ratings are calculated assuming properly equipped vehicle, plus driver and one passenger. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See dealer for details.

  • Sierra Denali's 9,300-lb rating requires 2wd. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Passenger's 10,000-lb rating requires 2500 Wheel Base with 6.0L V8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Cargo's 10,000-lb rating requires 6.0L V8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • These maximum payload ratings are intended for comparison purposes only. Before you buy a vehicle or use it to haul people or cargo, carefully review the vehicle loading section of the Owner’s Manual and check the carrying capacity of your specific vehicle on the label on the inside of the driver’s door jamb.

  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). When properly equipped, includes weight of vehicle, passengers, cargo and equipment.

  • Requires 2WD Crew Cab DRW equipped with 6.6L Duramax Diesel and fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch. Trailer weight ratings are calculated assuming properly equipped vehicle, plus driver and one passenger. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See dealer for details.

  • Starting at price for base Sierra HD. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. See your GMC dealer for details. Click here to see all GMC destination freight charges.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. See your GMC dealer for details. Click here to see all GMC destination freight charges. Bed/Roof-Mounted Bicycle Carriers shown. Requires crossbars or Thule Rack Solution. Non-GM warranty. Warranty by Thule®. See dealer for more information.

  • These maximum payload ratings are intended for comparison purposes only. Before you buy a vehicle or use it to haul people or cargo, carefully review the vehicle loading section of the Owner’s Manual and check the carrying capacity of your specific vehicle on the label on the inside of the driver’s door jamb.

  • Available. Requires 2.0L Turbocharged gas engine.

  • Terrain's 3,500-lb rating requires available 2.0L Turbocharged gas engine and available trailering equipment. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires available 3.6L V6 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Yukon’s 8,500-lb rating requires short wheelbase 2wd with 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine and HD Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Requires 2WD Denali Short Box model with 5.3L V-8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Savana Cutaway’s 9,006-lb rating requires a 4500 Series 159" Wheelbase model with available 6.0L V8 engine. These maximum payload ratings are intended for comparison purposes only. Before you buy a vehicle or use it to haul people or cargo, carefully review the vehicle loading section of the Owner’s Manual and check the carrying capacity of your specific vehicle on the label on the inside of the driver’s door jamb.

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