Trailer Your Boat
A conventional boat trailer is the easiest way to transport your boat whether it is a Minto,
Westcoast or any of our three longer models. Many people ask whether our boats are
"car toppable". Any boat over 80 pounds is awkward and ungainly when moving it from ground level to the top of a car or truck cab. The chance of someone making the wrong
move and spending two weeks recuperating from a twisted vertebrae is not worth the risk.
Whitehall boats will fit nicely into a pick up truck box. This is a two person job;
load the transom end in first and make sure your back can handle the lift up onto the tail
gate. Some carpet bits will protect the boat and the truck bed. Tieing the boat securely
is very important.
Now back to trailers. Almost all small vehicles are rated to pull up to a 1000 pound trailer load. Consult your dealer for advice.
Trailers are rated for capacity and length. Any of our boat models can be transported on a single axle 600 to 1000 pound rated trailer. A good rule to follow is to never exceed 85% of the rated weight of the trailer including all gear loaded into the boat in that figure.
The smaller boats, Minto, Westcoast and even the 14' models will all fit on a 14' (recommended length) trailer. The simple double bunk arrangement, two 2 x 4's spaced apart and covered with indoor/outdoor carpet work just fine.
We definitely recommend galvanized frames, especially if used for salt water launch or
retrieval. The ultimate fresh water trailer is all aluminum because of its lighter weight and lower maintenance.
Very small (600 LB) capacity trailers have smaller wheels (8") and are fine for paved road, but consider larger wheels (12") for off pavement use or areas with lots of speed
bumps. Bolting a couple of extra rollers on the center beam will give extra keel support
which is of benefit in the 14' and 17' models.
A small hand crank winch on the front post makes light work of hauling out and controls the boat when launching. The post itself is adjustable and can be moved backward or
forward depending on your boat's length. We remove the large snap hook usually fastened on the poly winch line poly winch line, tape the end and thread it through the bow eye. Tie a simple stopper knot (figure 8 or Granny) and it's secure. An alternative to this is to
order an extra wide, extra long "D" shackle, which can go through the bow eye and will
take the shackle.
Another handy option is a pivoting tongue jack. This is a height adjustable post and wheel that mounts up by the hitch, making the trailer into a cart when deployed. The wheel can be pivoted up once the trailer is securely hitched to your vehicle, then down when you're
unhitched and want to move the trailer around on location.
If your vehicle is without a trailer hitch, ask your trailer vendor or check the yellow pages to find an installer. See if they will install a light plug kit also.
Small trailers do not require the specialized features that large ones are legally required to have, but the following are necessary and almost always standard:
For distance traveling carry a flashlight and flares and keep the wheel bearings greased.
- safety chains (backup for the hitch - once the socket is securely on the ball, fasten by crossing the chains under the coupler to the two eyes located on each side of the hitch. The hooks are put through the eyes from below.)
- stop/brake lights
- tail lights
- license light
- turn signals
- tie downs
Driving with a trailer is a fairly simple matter and will take an experienced driver only
a few trips to gain confidence in maneuvering. Turns need to be taken more gradually and with a wider radius to prevent running over curbs or barriers. Speeding up and slowing down will take a little more time. Leave more room between you and the car ahead to make sure you can stop in time if they brake suddenly. Trial runs backing up with your trailer are recommended to familiarize yourself with your extra set of wheels. The trailer
turns in the opposite direction to the car when backing and oversteering is common. Take
it slowly and it will go much more smoothly. Practice on a level, empty parking lot.
Important information for owners of centerboard sailing models on trailering: For illustrated instructions on this,
click Here!or call 1-800-663-7481.
Recommended Trailer Manufacturers:
- EZ Loader at:
- Shorelander at:
- www.shorelandr.com - a good section on Trailering Tips on their website.
A section on trailering, which is actually part of their Boating Course's
"Preparation" section can be found under Boating Tips located at www.BoatSafe.com.
Although it is largely written for the larger trailer boat owner,
much of the advice applies to small boat trailering and there are
a few good check lists too.