How to Back Up a Boat Trailer?

Have you seen the compilation videos of boat ramp failures? From these videos, you can know the wrong backup actions and be warned. Knowing what not to do, how to back up a boat trailer?

1. Observation

If there are multiple ramps where you are going, then you can choose a ramp without potholes. Or select a dock that allows you to back down on the driver’s side of your vehicle.

Before launching your own boat, you can watch several other boats launch. The goal is to see how quickly the water drop. Sometimes the edge of the water is uneven and you may be surprised if you don’t realize it.

how to back up a boat trailer

2. Alignment

Backing up is required when the tractor and trailer are perfectly aligned with each other, which helps to control the direction better. Also, try to anticipate the length. If you have an 18-foot-long truck towing a 20-foot boat, then you need to have 40 feet of spare space when backing up.


3. Rearview Mirror

Get an excellent view of the side by adjusting the angle of the mirror. Make sure you can see the side of the trailer from the mirror. Of course, this step is usually done before driving the trailer.

Rearview Mirror on back-up-trailer

4. Reversing

Backing up will be easy when the trailer forms a “T” with the water’s edge. Keep your hands on the steering wheel at the six o’clock position and keep the wheels as straight as possible. Check your mirrors as your trailer backs into the water.

This process is slow, but please don’t rush, it’s the only way to be more stable.

5. Tiny adjustments

If you need to adjust the direction of your trailer, then the steering wheel should be opposite to it. For example, your trailer is moving to the right, then you need to turn the steering wheel to the left.

6. Launch the boat

Continue to back the trailer into the water until you see the boat begin to float. And then you can manually pull the boat down.

Launch the boat

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