Before Towing Perform Pre-Trip Safety Inspection


Read all warning labels on your trailer.


Make sure that:


1. you secure your hitch pin to your ball mount.

2. your coupler is securely engaged to your hitch and safety latch is closed.

3. Pay special attention that your hitch ball properly matches the coupler size and the class rating of the hitch and that hitch ball meets or exceeds the class rating of the coupler.

4. Jack is fully cranked up (and parallel to tongue if swivel style).

5. Safety cables are properly attached in a criss-cross fashion.

6. The electrical plugs for lighting and brakes are connected to the vehicle electrical system.

7.  Turn on your parking lights and emergency flashers. Walk around the trailer to be sure all lights are working.

8. If your trailer has brakes make sure fluid level is full in the actuator.

9. If your trailer has brakes, make sure you have not inadvertently pulled the emergency brake cable otherwise brake damage can occur.

10. Check your tire pressure. Adjust to manufacturer's recommendation on the tire. Be sure to check cold before towing.

11. If you have brakes, make sure your safety pin is securely placed.

12. Check bearings for proper lubrication. Check bearing cap for any damage.

13. Check lug nuts for proper torque! (90 pounds torque recommended.)


Very Important


Do not exceed the carrying capacity of your trailer.

Exceeding the maximum weight rating voids the manufacturer’s warranty and may lead to premature failure of the trailer.  Possible damage to the boat may also occur. 

Keep in mind that adding gear and supplies to your boat can add more weight than you might expect (normal items will usually add a minimum of 10% additional weight).

Any additional equipment such as T-Tops, extra motors, water etc., must also be accounted for.

Towing Your Trailer

Safety Cables

Always use the 2 safety cables or chains, criss-crossed between the car and the trailer coupling.  Crossing the chain prevents the trailer coupler from separating completely from the car.

Leave enough slack in the cable to allow for proper turning, but not so much that it drags.

Weight Distribution

A minimum of five to ten percent of the total weight of the boat, motor, trailer, and gear should be on the trailer ball when the coupler is parallel to the ground.

Too much weight on the ball can make your tow vehicle difficult to steer. Too little weight on the ball, and the trailer is prone to swaying.

(Sway can also occur when tire sidewalls are to weak / under inflated, or the trailer and the boat are too heavy for the car).  Use only "ST" trailer rated tires.

Techniques for redistributing weight at the coupler include:
a. shifting gear inside the boat, b. emptying water and fuel tanks
c. adjusting the boat’s position on the trailer.

If all else fails, you can remedy the problem by moving the trailer’s axle- a much larger job that usually requires a pro.

Tidewater Trailers strongly recommends you have your dealer set up your trailer to your boat.

Securing the Boat

Anything loose on the deck or in the cockpit, can blow away as you drive down the road. Either stow them below or make sure they are secured.

A heavy strap/straps (ask your dealer for details) MUST always be used to anchor the boat to the trailer. If straps are not used, the boat will bounce against (or off) the trailer.

It is also necessary to use straps to anchor the boat’s stern to the trailer.  You should also not rely solely on the winch cable to tie down the bow. Use a separate line from the bow eye down to the trailer.

When you’re traveling, check the straps and the bow eye itself whenever you stop and re tighten if necessary. 

Tidewater Trailers is not responsible for any damages to your boat as a result of it not being tied down correctly. 

Please contact Tidewater Trailers or your dealer with any questions before trailering.

Getting There

Our best advice is to slow down!  You need more time to react when trailering. 

Swing wider at corners so your trailer doesn’t hit the curb, and allow extra space if you find it necessary to pass other cars. The additional weight of a trailer dramatically affects braking, so leave considerably more distance than you normally would between your car and the car in front of you.

Rely on lower gears rather than brakes to reduce speed when driving downhill.

Launching the Boat

*  Raise the lower unit.

*  Install the drain plug

* Back the trailer onto the launch ramp.

*  Keep a tire stop handy, leave the car’s engine running in case you need power quickly.

 Most importantly, do not remove your tie down straps from the boat until you have backed down the ramp completely.

Tidewater Trailers has provided you with TPR rollers on our roller trailers.  They are designed to roll easily to make your launching and loading easy and carefree. 

Your boat can roll off the trailer if you back down the ramp without your straps being attached. 

Tidewater Trailers recommends you review launch and load procedures with your dealer paying special attention to proper use of the winch cable and bow safety cables or chains

Adjusting Your Trailer

Tidewater Trailers are designed to offer you as much adjustability as possible.  We strongly recommend having your dealer adjust your trailer to your particular boat at the time of purchase. 

Among other issues your dealer will make sure you have the proper tongue weight.  The axle assemblies are usually attached to the main frame with U-bolts. 

To adjust the tongue weight your dealer will loosen these bolts and slide the assemblies forward or backward as required. 

Moving forward will produce less tongue weight and moving backwards will increase the weight. Tongue weight should be approximately 5 to 10% of the gross weight (GVWR). 

Again, it is highly recommended that your dealer do this

Trailer Troubleshooting Guide:

Boat loading - boat is difficult to load
1. Verify that your trailer is partially submerged
2. Check for obstructions on your boat (hull or equipment)
3. Check for obstructions on your trailer
4. See your dealer - they may be able to adjust your trailer for your unique boating needs

Boat unloading - boat is difficult to unload
1. Verify that your trailer is partially submerged - your boat should partially float off your trailer
2. Did you unhook your winch strap and tie-down straps?
3. Verify your motor is not impacting the ramp and /or ground
4. See your dealer - they may be able to adjust your trailer for your unique boating needs.




Tidewater Trailers     776 Creek Road  Bellmawr, NJ 08031 Sales 215-736-8433    Factory 856-933-3914   Fax: 856-933-3071