Boat trailers

How to load a boat trailer and launch and retrieve a boat.

Trailer specifications

Before towing a trailer, you need to understand your vehicle's towing capabilities otherwise you put yourself at risk of accidents and costly damage.

Tare weight

The tare weight of a trailer is the weight when it is unloaded. 

Gross Combination Mass (GCM)

GCM is the maximum allowed loaded weight of the towing vehicle plus the maximum allowed loaded weight of the trailer. The maximum allowed loaded weights are specified by the vehicle manufacturer and include all luggage, passengers, fuel, and equipment that may be in the vehicle.

Tow ball down weight

Tow ball down weight is the weight applied down onto the tow bar. The maximum tow ball down weight should not be exceeded.

Loading your trailer

Towing a boat will affect your vehicle’s handling, performance, braking, durability and fuel consumption.

For your safety and the safety of others:

  • Do not overload your vehicle or trailer.
  • Always ensure heavy items are placed as close to the trailer axle, and as low down as possible.
  • Ensure the trailer coupling is the same height as the vehicle coupling point. 
  • Do not overload the boat and trailer.

If you are unsure of the total weight of the loaded trailer, take it to a public weighbridge and obtain a weighbridge certificate.

Opens in a new window Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources: Public weighbridge list

Launching your boat

Prepare your boat clear of the ramp in the rigging area:

  • Remove all tie downs (leave the safety chain attached)
  • Remove your lights if required
  • Launch on the side of the ramp where the boat is held against the jetty
  • Tilt your engine
  • Ensure the bung is in.

Use a long rope, secure one end to the bow, the other at the rear corner to control your boat.

At launch point unhook your winch wire and undo the safety chain.

Pull the boat clear to make room for the next boat.

Retrieving your boat

Pull out the winch cable and hook to the rear of the trailer.

The rope secured at both ends lets your offsider hold the boat aligned.

Drive clear of ramp before pulling bungs and putting on tie downs.

Page last updated: Thu Jun 15 2023 4:12:31 PM