How to reverse a boat trailer

The Feathers junior crew is starting to become a pretty strong team (with more sprouting soon). It got me thinking about some ‘dad skills’ (in the fishing/outdoor realm) – those things you’d crucially want to equip your kids with. Lighting a fire, casting… Things like that.

And, launching a boat.

“How to reverse a boat trailer? Like most things, preparation is key.”

Towing a (and more specifically, launching) a boat and getting it to go just exactly where you want to is an art most never master. The reason? Overcorrection, think finesse and study our simple step-by-step. Since we have right-hand drive cars it’s much easier to reverse to the right. So that is where we’ll start.

How to reverse a boat trailer? Backing a trailer into a specific spot at a specific angle is mostly in the set-up. Like most things, preparation is key.

1. Roll down your windows and make sure your side mirrors are properly adjusted – you’re most worried about where the sides of your trailer are.

2. As with parallel parking a car, drive a little way past your target and leaving some room on your right.

3. You’re now ready to start the S-turn. Turn your steering wheel left-hand down, in the opposite direction you would if you were going to park your car in that space. Counter intuitive it sounds, but trust us on this one.

4. Reverse slowly, (even slower!) your trailer will begin turning to the right. You won’t be able to keep that up for long before you fold your rig like a jack knife

5. So, after a few metres, start counter-steering (right hand down). Do this earlier rather than later.

4. Now (and this, son, is the secret), think of following the trailer in. Just track into the space smoothly track with it. It is here where micro adjustments and finesse come in. If there is too much trailer in your right mirror turn the steering wheel right (right hand down). Too much trailer in your left mirror? Micro adjust with left-hand down.

5. Go practice in your driveway, there’s quite a bit of feel involved and you need to get used to your trailer and car. And, if you’re not confident, go with someone who has some experience and if okes at the ramp offer help, take it! No shame in getting help.