Be a Better Trailerboater in 2018

Resolve to improve your trailer and your boating life in general. We have 20 suggestions.

It’s that time of year, when we all make resolutions we won’t keep … again. Lose weight, save money, get in shape, yada, yada. But what if there were some resolutions you could keep. In fact, what if there were some resolutions you looked forward to keeping? We have 20 of them, and since you love your boat and trailer so much, they should be easy to keep.

RESOLUTIONS FOR THE TRAILER
1. Make a trailering checklist. Every pilot has a checklist of essential duties, and boat owners should too: Check the drain plug, lights, etc. Write notes as you hook up, get to the ramp, launch, retrieve and drive home. A list will save you from puzzling over whether you’re forgetting something.

2. Repack the trailer bearings right now. Who wants to waste time at the start of the season? Besides, repacking them now will protect the bearings through the winter. Even better, take it to a trailer shop.

3. Never slip off the trailer and crack your shin again. Apply non-slip self-adhesive tape everywhere you usually step — and places you might step.

4. Stop rushing to launch. Take time on the ramp to get everything right. Hurrying leads to bad decisions. The fish will still be there.

5. Wash the boat and trailer every time you use them. This is especially important in salt water, but even brackish fresh water can attack a trailer. If necessary, apologize to your rig for being neglectful in the past.

6. Put the trailer on blocks to keep the tires from flat-spotting (and to make it harder to steal!).

7. Spruce up the rims. Take the trailer’s rims to a tire store, have the tires removed and repaint the rims.

8. Save your back by getting an electric winch. Don’t complain about cranking the boat onto the trailer; do something about it.

9. Challenge yourself. Go to a waterway farther away or one new to you, or explore farther on the waterways you know. No more same-old same-old thing again this year. Experience some fresh scenery — after all, isn’t that why you have a trailer?

10. Learn something new this year, whether it’s how to back up using only your mirrors or how to do a new watersport or how to catch a fish species you’ve never caught.

RESOLUTIONS FOR YOUR BOATING LIFE
1. Always put in the drain plug. Anyone who says he’s never forgotten the drain plug owns a boat that doesn’t have one. Or is an outright liar.

2. Restock the first-aid kit before next season. Everyone should like this resolution, because it’s easy to keep.

3. Get your family, and especially the kids, more involved this year. Let them steer the boat and help plan trips, and teach them all the stuff you know about boating. Do more beach picnics, more barbecues and more kid fishing — and let them bring friends.

4. Get the right prop for the boat. Estimates indicate that 90 percent of boats are propped incorrectly, and your local dealer can help get the boat running both fast and efficiently.

5. Buy everyone new life jackets. The old ones smell terrible, aren’t comfortable and don’t encourage being worn. Everyone can pick the color and style he likes.

6. Take at least one non-boater on a fun outing. Choose adult friends or kids from the neighborhood and let them experience the joy of boating.

7. Keep your speed (and wake) down, to protect the shoreline and other boats. Sometimes the posted speed limit isn’t slow enough.

8. Protect your skin. Use more sunscreen, wear a hat and have long-sleeved shirts aboard.

9. Look at the decal graphics on the side of the boat. Are they in once-cool but now-ratty condition? Trim them neat with a razor blade or re-glue them with decal glue from a hobby shop or replace them.

10. The most important resolution? Promise to spend quality time with family and friends. Create the time to spend as many hours on the water as possible, and share it with old and new friends.

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