Boat Safety Chain

Discussion in 'General Open Forum' started by Phil my boat, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Phil my boat

    Phil my boat Active Member

    My Public Service Announcement

    Just a reminder to fellow boaters out there that the safety chain on your boat trailer that connects your boat to your trailer should always be connected until you have your boat in the water and it should be connected again when you recover your boat before you tow it from the water.

    Case in point today, a gentleman was getting ready to launch his boat and removed the safety chain prior to backing down the ramp. He relied on his winch to keep his boat attached. And you guessed it, as he backed down the ramp, the winch slipped and his boat started to roll off the trailer as he started to back up. Luckily he stopped in time or his boat would have been dry launched unto the ramp. This was a 20 plus ft boat with a cuddy so you know it would have been a bugger to get back on the trailer if it came all the way off.

    It also works the other way, when you get your boat back on your trailer, connect the safety chain before you pull it out of the water. It just might save you some embarrassment.
    BCRingo likes this.
  2. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Good points PMB! I might add:

    1/ stop before you launch the boat (give yourself just enough room to walk around the boat before you hit the water) and check to make sure all the straps/ropes are off except attach a long bow line to your trailer - or to your dog if he is well trained,
    2/ CHECK TO MAKE THE PLUG IS IN AND IT IS TIGHT (oh baby!), even if you thought you might have checked it earlier
    3/ then back the boat down into the water only far enough to start the engines (intake port gets water), hopefully someone is in the boat at this point w the keys and batteries charged,
    5/ back up far enough to fully launch boat. Take off ropes before if you are moving elsewhere.
    6/CHECK GAS AND OIL LEVELS AGAIN, even if you thought you might have checked it earlier

    You guys may a few more to add...
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    ILHG likes this.
  3. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    Great additions. I am a huge believer in redundancy and have added one of these to each of our last few trailers. Really easy install and helps to hold the bow tight, taking some of the strain off the winch strap I hope.

    Attached Files:

  4. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    I have a story about this,

    So i back down on the ramp, go to take the straps on the back off, Im thinking wow they are super tight, I take one off okay, I take the next one off and bAAAM the boat slides back a foot.

    I go up to the front, THANK god for the safety chain or i would of dry launched the boat on top of me.
    Rain City likes this.
  5. Oly1

    Oly1 Active Member

    Wow that could have ended really bad. Glad it didn’t. What happened to your winch strap, wire etc.

    I had something similar happen about 30 years ago. (Once bitten and hasn’t happened again) was launching a smaller 16 foot boat in my younger days. Got the truck and trailer part way down the ramp and somehow had placed the winch in reverse and on clicker. Half way down I hit a bump and the boat launched off the trailer and sat with stern sitting on the ramp and front half still on trailer. Thank goodness the boat was ok and light enough to winch back onto trailer. Nothing hurt but my pride as an onlooker was waiting at the ramp and watching and probably laughing.

  6. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    This was it for me for some reason the winch was in reverse, Who backed off the clicker i do not know. Probably was me but why i do not no.
  7. Gong Show

    Gong Show Well-Known Member

    I would only add that checking the oil/coolant/fuel, should be done before heading down the ramp and engine ignition.
    Easy to do when you are unstrapping the boat and unplugging the trailer electrical.
    Some things are so much easier to do on land, checking fluid levels is one of them.
  8. Rayvon

    Rayvon Well-Known Member

    I've added a turnbuckle to the front below the winch ,takes any bounce out of the boat when going over bumps while trailering and works as a safety chain as well.
  9. Gong Show

    Gong Show Well-Known Member

    I like the turnbuckle idea.
    This year I just put a ratchet strap from the bow cleat over the anchor roller to the trailer tongue. Made a huge difference to ride quality. Eeeeeyoooj difference.
    Does sfa regarding safety chain though.
  10. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    Have had a turnbuckle on a couple of trailers. Always liked the idea until someone asked about the inflexible downward pressure on the nose ring. Still like the idea and likely not a real concern but that is why I went to the Boat Buckle I posted about earlier - same concept with some give perhaps?
  11. mbowers

    mbowers Active Member

    A foot is a lot to slide back before safety chain engages. I see a lot of long safety chains which are not as safe as a short chain. The chain should only be just long enough to reach its attachment. The longer the chain, the more momentum the boat will have before the chain engages and the easier the safety chain will fail. Simple engineering. Also if the straps and winch fail while driving, by the time a long safety chain engages, the boat can be so far back on the trailer that the tongue weight goes too low and you now have an out of control swaying trailer at 100 kph. From that point you will wish the chain would just break before you crash the truck too! :). Somehow everybody survived that experience!

    This is how NOT to setup a safety chain. Looks like 3 links could easily be removed and the chain shortened for safety.

    bigdogg1 and Phil my boat like this.
  12. bpsuls

    bpsuls Active Member

    This particularly applies to people with rollers or some sort of roller combination. No way my boat would ever slide off my bunks unless it was a 45 degree slope or more. She's a bit of a nuisance to get off them on gentler slope ramps but at last I know she'll never slide off of them when I don't want her to.
  13. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Excellent observational skills and reasoning, mbowers. Sometimes one can shorten the chain simply by feeding it through the lug on the bow on the boat and hook it back on itself or the trailer. If not - a short term fix is to put a knot in the chain or twist it - which admittedly might reduce the safe working load - but it;s only a safety chain w/o any real weight on it anyways - and no - sliding the boat off the end is problematic in a # of ways - so keep the chain short, agreed.
  14. mbowers

    mbowers Active Member

    Yes I would be leery of knotting the chain. In my experience the attachment is usually just a bolt through a link of chain on the winch stand. Remove bolt, put bolt back through appropriate link in chain to shorten the boat side end and refasten the bolt. Hopefully it's a 1 minute fix. :)
    Barnacle Bill likes this.
  15. Oly1

    Oly1 Active Member

    Just did this exact thing and yes it was a one minute fix.

    Better to do the job right instead of half assed.

    mbowers likes this.
  16. Safety chains are a must. My son always tells me stories of people backing down the ramp at Brannen Lake, where we swim a lot, and peoples boats end up on the launch. They remove the chain so they can be “cool” launch their boat “quicker”. Those are the same people who forget to raise their leg when leaving.
    It’s a blast sitting and watching them.

    Me, I will rather take my time.
  17. tyeeking

    tyeeking Active Member

    Launching and retrieving goes a lot quicker when one takes their time . . . within reason of course.
    Barnacle Bill likes this.

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