Tips & Tricks
How to Load a Powerboat on a Trailer
Whether you spent the day water skiing, fishing, riding your personal water craft, or just out cruising, the stress you relieved on the water can quickly return when it comes time to put the boat on the trailer. With a little practice, you will know how to load a powerboat on a trailer and this part of your boating experience can be quick and painless.
Method 1 of 2: Before You Go Boating
- Practice backing the trailer. Backing boat trailers is essential to the powerboat loading process. The biggest key is to go slowly, which can be difficult when many other boaters are waiting to use the ramp. For this reason, it makes sense to practice somewhere else. Take your trailer (with or without the boat) to an empty parking lot and practice backing until you are comfortable.
- Ask questions. Your relationship with your boat dealer shouldn’t end when you drive off the lot. Ask for specific tips about loading your powerboat.
Method 2 of 2: At the Boat Ramp
- Back the trailer slowly onto the ramp. If possible, have a helper ensure you are centered on the ramp and backing straight.
- Stop when the wheels are almost completely covered by water. The precise position depends on your boat, but this is a good starting point.
- Put the car in park and set the emergency brake.
- While piloting the boat, on the final approach to the trailer, pay special attention to wind, currents and waves that can easily pull your boat off course and into a collision course with another boat or dock. Anticipate the direction of these forces and steer into them to offset their effects on the direction that your boat will travel with the idea towards landing squarely between the rails of your trailer.
- Pilot the boat slowly towards the trailer, alternating between a slow idle, neutral, and reverse if necessary
- Drive the boat onto the trailer until it is close enough to attach the winch hook to the handle on the bow of the boat. Drivers who are inexperienced at powerboat loading tend not to give the boat enough gas when driving onto a trailer. Don’t be afraid to drive what feels a little too fast.
- Attach the winch hook to the handle. Working as a team, the powerboat driver should slowly drive the boat forward while the assistant cranks the winch.
- Stop when the bow of the boat is touching the winch.
- Secure the boat to the trailer. You will make sure your boat is safely attached to the trailer with different clips and straps depending on the make and model of both your boat and your trailer. Be sure to check your boat owner’s manual to make sure you are attaching the boat to the trailer correctly.
- Take out the drain plug. The drain plug at the stern of the boat needs to be in when you are in the water, but excess water will drain out of the boat if you remove the plug before you drive away.
- Very slowly drive the tow vehicle with trailer and boat forward and out of the water. Boat ramps can be slippery with moss and algae and it is important to not let the vehicle’s tires spin. If your tow vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive, this can be useful if your back tires start spinning.
Always check to make sure your local ramp allows powering a boat onto the trailer.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the ramp, and don’t be too proud to accept help if another boater offers it. Experienced boaters were once inexperienced and may be able to give you additional tips to help you become an expert at loading your powerboat.
- It is perfectly acceptable to swim a boat onto the trailer as opposed to driving the boat onto the trailer using the engine – especially for inboards which have limited steering at slow speeds. With the boat engine off and the boat in position near the trailer, wade into the water and use dock lines as necessary to gently guide the boat onto the trailer.
- Backing up boat trailers is easier when you have a visual reference on the trailer. Consider adding wide-view mirrors to the car and bright colored poles to the trailer.
- When you wash your boat, don’t forget to also wash the trailer. Some people forget that the trailer is in the water twice for each boating trip, so remember to wash the trailer when you are washing the boat. This is especially important if your boating trip took place in salt water.
Happy Boating from your friends at Port Colborne Marine!
How to Determine the Costs of Boat Ownership
1. Research and Compare Financing Options
You can finance a new boat just like a new car. As with car and home loans, boat loans have carried extremely appealing interest rates in recent years. Amortizations (length of time to pay back loan) generally range from two to 20 years. Comparing rates online is a great starting point, but you can also get a quote today from our friends at Walker Financial; www.Toyloan.com. At Port Colborne Marine we are able to offer you “Dealer Level Rates” to help make your dream come true.
2. Decide Which Options and Accessories You Would like to Have
Similar to new cars, new boats are offered with different accessories and options. When you’re pricing boats, factor in the cost of electronics, accessories, and water toys and buy what’s appropriate for your boat type, size, and your home waters. Modern marine electronics are extremely reliable, are loaded with features unheard of just a decade ago, and are more affordable than ever. Don’t skimp on safety gear. Today’s marine accessories can increase boating safety and fun, and make it easier than it was just a few years ago.
3. Determine Operating Costs
Boating isn’t an activity like driving where you are using gas all the time. In fact, when a person is boating, they may be fishing or swimming and not using the motor at all. If you own a sailboat the motor is used even less. Most of the boats in use on the water today are less than 21' in length. These crafts do not require an exorbitant amount of gas, so any impact would be negligible. In fact, 64 percent of boaters say they purchase less than fifty gallons of gas per season, which is roughly two trips to the gas station to fill up an SUV or Minivan.
4. Figure out How Much Maintenance and Upkeep Your Boat Will require
Boat, trailer, and motor maintenance can be as simple as a freshwater wash down after each use and keeping them covered between adventures. This simple task will go a long way toward keeping your maintenance costs at bay. If you don’t feel like you have the time and energy to do it yourself, hire a pro. It’ll pay off in the long run. Costs for routine maintenance vary by region, but for more involved services, such as oil changes and winterizing, expect to pay what you would for your car on an hourly basis. Pre-owned boats can require significantly more maintenance.
5. Decide How and Where You Will Store Your Boat (Summer/Winter)
When it comes to storing your boat, you have several options depending on your boat's size. You won’t find a less-expensive way to keep a boat than storing it on a trailer in your driveway or backyard. Smaller boats can be kept stored on your trailer at home year round. When storing for winter please ensure you follow correct procedures to protect your boat.
6. Compare and Purchase Insurance
Boat insurance varies by boat length and type, by the cost of the boat and the level of coverage you want. Consult your insurance agent for quotes or compare rates online. Some smaller boats can be insured for a nominal sum as a rider on a homeowner’s policy. You can reduce the cost of marine insurance premiums by taking a boater’s education course. Our friends at Northstar Marine Insurance would be happy to give you a quote today. www.northstarinsurance.ca
- Minimize the amount of time that you idle at the dock.
- The proper use of power trim and/or trim tabs reduces drag (reducing fuel use), especially while accelerating up to planning speeds.
- Prices for new boats vary depending on size and make. In fact, monthly payments for many entry-level boats can be less than $200. Compare boats and their prices to come up with the ideal choice for you.
- Check your propeller. If your boat is slow “out of the hole” or lacks top-end speed, you might have the wrong propeller.
- A well-tuned engine uses less fuel.
- Don’t under-power your boat. It’s important you have enough motor to handle the load.
- Make sure the hull is clean.
- Use the grade of gasoline specified by your engine manufacturer. Gasoline containing Ethanol may cause problems in older engines.
Get Your Boating License – Avoid the $250 Fine
I know it is hard to think about boating with the weather we are having, but soon it will be spring and you will want to be out on the water in your boat or PWC. Whether it's for fishing or family fun, you will need to have your Boaters License.
If you operate any motorized recreational watercraft in Canada you are required to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card*, commonly known as a boat license. The Operator Card is required regardless of age, size of boat, or engine horsepower. It’s the law. Boaters obtain the official Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Operator Card by taking the BOATsmart!® Safe Boating Course and Boating License Exam online.
For more information visit www.boatsmartexam.com.
Tips for Getting Your Boat Ready for Winter
If you haven’t already booked your appointment with Port Colborne Marine to have your boat winterized, there is still time. Just give us a quick call at 905-835-1774 and we will schedule you in. However, if we don’t do it for you then it's very important that you do it yourself.
Winterizing a boat and motor is the most important maintenance a boat owner can perform to help ensure safe boating next spring and summer. Regardless of where your boat is stored when not in use (inside or outside), you will need to protect your boat engine.
It only takes a few hours of below freezing temperatures for the water in the engine to freeze and crack the block. Taking a little time in the fall to get your boat and motor ready for winter means that you can be one of the first boaters out on the water next spring. It also helps ensure you won’t have an expensive repair bill!
- Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your boat. Now would be a good time to apply wax, if needed.
- Check prop for damage. Now is the time to service or repair, not in the spring when you’re ready to use your boat.
- Make sure bilges are clean and dry.
- Inspect all electrical wiring, gauges, and electronics to make sure they are all working.
- Check trailer to make sure you don’t need any repairs (tail lights, blinkers, etc.).
- Grease trailer wheel bearings.
- Winterize engine (don’t count on a heated storage unit to keep your engine from freezing).
- Charge batteries. Batteries can be stored in the boat as long as they're fully charged and cables are disconnected. Otherwise, remove batteries and store on a wooden block in a cool, dry place.
- While checking the lower unit for water, it would be a good idea to replace the gear lube and check the seals.
- Oil changes and tune ups are easier to do than in the middle of summer, now that you're not using your boat!
Winterization & Storage
DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT IN THE COLD!
CALL US TODAY AT 905-835-1774 TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT OR CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT OUR EASY CONTACT FORM
PORT COLBORNE MARINE WINTERIZATION & STORAGE
PORT COLBORNE MARINE WINTERIZATION
WE DO MORE THAN JUST WINTERIZE YOUR BOAT. OUR
WINTERIZATION PROCESS INCLUDES MANY OF THE FACTORY RECOMMENDED MAINTENANCE
WATER SEPARATOR FUEL FILTERS ADDITIONAL FROM $13.95
P.C.M. 2-Stroke Winterization
30hp and up
Includes: Stabilize Fuel to Prevent Fuel Break Down and Varnish Build-Up; Fog Power Head to Lubricate Internal Components; Drain and Refill Gear Case to Avoid Lube Breakdown and Remove Internal Moisture; Charge and Disconnect Battery to Eliminate Current draw; Fresh Water Flush Engine to Remove Loose Build Ups from Hardening over Winter; Lube All Zerks to Lubricate Friction Points
There will be an additional charge of $39.99 on vapor separator fuel filters. Mercury Optimax Recommends water pump impeller be replaced every year. Additional charges will apply.
P.C.M. 4-Stroke Winterization
8hp-30hp 40hp-60hp 75hp-115hp 130hp & up Verado
$149.95 $179.95* $199.95* $229.95* $259.95* $299.95
Includes: Stabilize Fuel to Prevent Fuel Break Down and Varnish Build-Up; Lube Cylinders to Lubricate Cylinder Walls; Drain and Refill Gear Case to Avoid Lube Breakdown and Remove Internal Moisture; Charge and Disconnect Battery to Eliminate Current Draw; Fresh Water Flush Engine to Remove Loose Build Ups from Hardening over Winter; Lube All Zerks to Lubricate Friction Points; Change Engine Oil & Filter to Prevent Lubrication Breakdown NO STORAGE SEAL ON EFI MOTORS
Includes the following services: Stabilize Fuel to Prevent Fuel Break Down and Varnish Build-Up; Fog Power Head to Lubricate Internal Components; Drain and Refill Gear Case to Avoid Lube Breakdown and Remove Internal Moisture; Charge and Disconnect Battery to Eliminate Current Draw; Fresh Water Flush Engine to Remove Loose Build Ups from Hardening over Winter; Lube All Zerks to Lubricate Friction Points; Change Engine Oil and Filter to Prevent Lubrication Breakdown; Drain Block, Manifold and Hoses to Cut Down on Rust and Corrosion Build-Up; Leave Plugs and Hoses Out to Allow Evapouration of Moisture
Fresh water systems are subject to additional charges.
P.C.M. Premium Inboard/Outboard Winterization
Includes all of the services listed previous plus: Remove Outdrive to Grease U-Joints, Inspect Gimbal Area, Check
for Leaks in Bellows or Failed Bearing; Check Engine Alignment to Prevent
Premature Failure of Engine Coupler and Input Shaft; Install Alignment Tool
to Aligned Engine.
Prop Rebuild Program
Aluminum starting at: $99.99*
Stainless steel starting at: $199.99*
Inspection of Blades & Hub for Reparability; Pitch & Rake Correction; Blade Resizing; TIG Welding Up to 1/3 of Any Blade; Cupping (If Required); Prop Rebalancing
From $55 per hour
Bottom Acid Wash
From $85.00 per hour
Boat Blocking For Bottom
Outdoor Boat Storage With Winterize
Up To 18 Feet: $200 $100
19 to 24 Feet: $250 $150
Up To 18 Feet: $13.95 per ft
19 to 24 Feet: $14.95 per ft
25 to 30 Feet: $15.95 per ft
Over 30 ft =1/2 the Length x Length of Boat
ft = 17.5 x 35 = $612.50