how to safely trailer a boat

GMC LIFE

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.

red bar

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, van or SUV that meets your needs exactly. The higher the number incorporated into the model name, the larger the hauling capacity will be. For instance, if your boat is in the 6,000-pound range and the trailer is another 1,500 pounds, many Sierra 1500 models would be appropriate as the 1500 series has a maximum trailer weight rating of 11,800. 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 has a maximum trailer weight rating of 22,900 pounds when using a gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer hitch.

Once you have chosen the GMC truck 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 truck 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

RELATED STORIES

TRUCKS

SIX TIPS FOR SAFE TRAILERING AND TOWING

alt

Before you hitch a trailer up to your truck or SUV and hit the open road, consider these six tips to help ensure a safe journey.

READ STORY

TRUCKS

FIVE ADVANTAGES OF THE SIERRA HD’S DIGITAL STEERING ASSIST SYSTEM

alt

Advanced technology results in steering that’s light and easy in the parking lot, confident-inspiring on the open road, and simple to use.

READ STORY

HOW-TO

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT AXLE RATIOS FOR YOUR TRUCK

alt

Ordering the right axle ratio can further help tailor a new GMC truck or SUV to your particular needs.

READ STORY
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Requires Double Cab with available 6.2L V-8 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • When properly equipped; includes weight of vehicle, passengers, cargo and equipment.

|