2015 New York Safe Boating - 36
BEST BOATING PRACTICES
bit of a learning curve. Longer trailers are easier to back
than shorter ones because they do not react to changes in
steering input as much. Once in reverse the first thing you
will notice is that getting a trailer to go to the left means
steering to the right. The best way to get a feel for backing
a trailer is to practice over and over.
Place the heavier gear down low and secure it to
Hitch the trailer to the tow vehicle.
Ensure that the coupler is properly engaged and
Ensure the hitch is the right weight class for the boat
Ensure that the hitch ball diameter matches the
New York State requires all trailers operated on public
highways to be registered, insured, and inspected. Trailers
with an unladen weight of 999 lbs. or less and all noncommercial trailers are exempt from the Insurance ID Card
requirement. You must provide the Department of Motor
Vehicles with the following items in order to receive a valid
registration document for your trailer:
Ensure that safety chains of proper size are attached
and crisscross under the coupler.
Plug in the electrical connector and test all lights.
Check tires for wear and correct pressure. Trailer
tires take a beating at ramps, over the road at
highway speeds, and just sitting around the yard
exposed to ultraviolet light. Don't forget to take
along a spare as well.
a completed Application for Vehicle Registration
proof of ownership (either a signed Title document
for 1973 or newer models, or a signed transferable
registration for earlier models)
Check your wheel bearings to see whether they
need fresh grease.
proof of payment of sales tax (tax may be paid at
Test the brakes.
any Department of Motor Vehicle office)
proof of vehicle inspection
proof of identity
a credit card or a check for the correct fee made out
Launching a boat takes skill, and like all skills, it comes with
time and practice. Don't expect to learn at the local ramp on
a busy weekend. The concrete is not very forgiving and you'll
inconvenience your fellow boaters who may not be patient
with you. Instead, practice backing up a trailer in a vacant
parking lot. This will give you a fair idea of how the trailer
will respond to the tow vehicle when backing. You can use
traffic cones or similar props to simulate the launch ramp
limits. Practice with them until you feel confident.
to the "Commissioner of Motor Vehicles"
You can find office locations, registration information, and
contact information for DMV in your area at www.dmv.ny.gov.
Preparing to tow
Just as you go through a checklist before launching your
boat to ensure safety, you should go through a checklist
before towing to ensure a safe tow. Do the following before
departing to ensure a safe and proper tow:
Ensure that the boat is properly loaded and balanced
Everyone wants to get on the water as soon as possible
and begin their boating excursion, and that impatience can
cause aggravation and friction between boaters at busy
launch ramps. Proper etiquette can prevent most problems
at the ramp, and like all rules of etiquette, they're based on
common courtesy and common sense:
on the trailer.
Ensure that tie downs are in place and are tight.
Ensure that the outboard or outdrive is secured.
Distribute the weight of gear in the boat evenly over
Prepare your boat for launching in the parking area
before pulling into the ramp area. Load as much of
your gear as possible at home or in the parking lot
before you launch your boat.
Clear the ramp as quickly as possible when
launching or retrieving your boat so the next boater
Be careful not to block others from launching if the
ramp is designed to launch more than one boat at a
If there is a line, wait your turn.
Offer to help the boater ahead of you if it appears
they need and want the help.