Explorer Marine have a special trailer manufactured to fit each size and hullform of boat. Under most conditions it should be possible to launch or recover your boat - by yourself - and without walking into the water deeper then your knees.  We also can usually manage to launch and recover boats without wetting the brakes or wheel bearings of the trailer. This is particularly important with braked trailers and salt water, since salt water will destroy your brake system - particularly the brake shoes - extremely rapidly.

Well designed trailers simplify your launch and recovery, extend the life of your trailer AND can dramatically improve family relations at the end of your boating day.

 Explorer Marine are keen to provide lessons in launch and recovery for each customer to enhance your boating enjoyment, however, you can pick up most of the skills by reading the extract below taken from the Explorer Marine RIB Owners Handbook.



It is usually the case that the trailer for your boat will have been specified at the time of purchase and thus factory fitted for you by Explorer Marine. If you have purchased this boat without the trailer then you must be aware of the following:

DANGER:  The fitment of trailers requires specialised knowledge and should not be carried out by un-skilled personnel. Failure to set up the trailer correctly may cause:               

A.   detachment of the boat causing death or serious injury.

B.   unacceptable handling characteristics of the trailer causing death or serious injury.         

CAUTION:   The adjustment of each trailer type requires specialised knowledge and should not be carried out by un-skilled personnel. Failure to correctly match the trailer to the boat may cause:

A.   Immediate failure of the trailer or immediate damage to the boat.

B.   Progressive failure of the trailer or damage to the boat hull.



The maximum load for your trailer is marked on the specification plate attached to the drawbar of the trailer. This maximum will have been specified with regard to the size and weight of the boat together with the weight of the engine fitted and a 100kg allowance for fuel, accessories and the equipment which is carried in the boat.


DANGER   CAUTION:    Overloading of trailers can cause tyre blow-outs or structural failure or detachment of the trailer from the towing vehicle leading to a risk of death or serious injury.

Do not carry extra heavy items in the boat unless you are sure that the weight imposed can be borne by the trailer in accordance with its design and specification.


DANGER   CAUTION:   Trailing a large Rigid Inflatable is not the way to learn to tow a trailer. If you are not an experienced driver of trailed items, take a course of instruction and practice the manoeuvring procedures on a safe area such as a private car park.


CAUTION:  The regulations for towing with regards to sizes weights and speeds are inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. Ask your local Police information office or motoring organisation for written details and ensure that you comply with these guidelines. Then keep these written details in your towing vehicle to discuss with any of the regulatory bodies.




Before moving the boat ensure that:

A.   the trailer is correctly connected to the towing vehicle, the safety lock is fitted and the safety indicator is showing.

B.   the breakaway braking cable is attached to the towing vehicle.

C.   the trailboard lighting electrics are connected and working properly. There is the correct amount of slack in the wiring.

D.   the jockey wheel is lifted and tightened firmly.

E.   the boat is winched up to the winch stop, the ratchet engaged and an additional front safety rope is attached to prevent the boat moving forward or    back or in case of winch failure.

F.    the boat is lashed down to the trailer at the stern to prevent sideways movement or rearwards movement.

G.  the tyres are in good condition and inflated correctly to the pressure specified on the rating plate.




Before launching your boat ensure that you are familiar with the sea conditions and harbour regulations applicable to your chosen site. If you are inexperienced, get help from an experienced person.

Where possible try to leave the trailer attached to the towing vehicle. If this is possible the result will be much safer and less stressful. A correctly set-up trailer and boat package can be launched or recovered easily by one person at most locations. Assistance should only be required in adverse weather conditions of wind or current.

Remove the trail board and electrics.

Ensure that the drain plug is fitted and that the engine and boarding ladder - where fitted - are in the up position.

Un-lash the boat - leaving the winch strap to retain the boat on the trailer.

Position the trailer at a the edge of the water - the brakes of trailers so fitted should not be immersed in salt water. At most launch sites it is entirely possible to launch your boat without wetting your trailer brakes or bearings.. - then taking hold of a long painter, release the winch strap and push the boat back into the water. Keep a firm hold on the painter and slow the boat, then pull it back to the beach being careful to avoid your own trailer.



Recovery of the boat onto the trailer should be the reverse of launching the boat. In general a medium slope of beach or slipway will be easier that the steeper slopes found on many slipways. It is again preferable not to immerse the trailer brakes - where fitted - in sea water, but taking note of the rising or falling tide, to position the trailer as far into the water as is necessary for the bow to meet the trailer rollers.

Use the winch to pull the boat onto the trailer. The boat will thus be controlled by the trailer rollers and will self align by the time it is winched up to the bow stop.

CAUTION:    Most difficulties - and family disputes - during boat recovery are caused by one or more of the following:

A.   Asking the family member who hardly ever drives to reverse a car and trailer down the slipway at a busy time

B.   Detaching the trailer from the car on the beach of slipway - a sure way to lose control of it.

C.   Pushing the trailer deep into the water - the boat is buffeted by wind and current, the trailer brakes and bearings are damaged and everybody ends up wet to the waist.

D.   Shouting 'push it over to the left / right ' is meaningless unless you have some convention as to which is right and left - remember, you will be facing each other! Try port and starboard, or even towards some landmark.

E.   Trying to use a rope to pull the trailer out and thus running out of space on the beach.

F.    Pulling the boat and trailer up the beach on a rope and then it rolls back down again as you reverse back to slacken the rope - remember that brakes and seawater do not go well together.

G.  Shouting or waving 'come on.. come on.. come on... BANG.. stop'  A silent visual indication of the distance remaining is much more successful.


NOTE:   While the expert regulars are always amused by the antics of the novice boat owner, they are only experts because they have made all of these mistakes, and more, many, many times before. If you are struggling you will find that most regulars will be very happy to give you a hand if asked. However, you will end up with as many different solutions as you have regular experts to ask!


After recovering the boat onto the trailer, remember to lash the boat to the trailer and fit the lighting board, adjusted so that the lights are near to the extreme rear of the outboard. Cover the outboard with a brightly covered bag to meet the spirit of the trailer law.



Once you have returned home, ensure that the trailer is hosed down with fresh water to protect the brakes and the condition of the galvanising from the corrosive effects of salt water. Release the drain plug and spray down the boat to keep it smart and reduce the build up of salt.

Park the trailer in a secure location. Try to avoid parking under trees as they may drop sticky fluids and birds will perch and make further mess on the boat.

CAUTION: Pull the trailer FORWARD  a few feet before chocking the wheels and park with the brakes OFF. This will reduce the problems of brakes locking on during park up.

Ensure that the boat will drain of any rain water by adjusting the jockey wheel. If the boat is to be left for periods longer than four weeks, remove the drain plug to reduce battery drain from the automatic bilge pump. In the winter, follow the winter lay up procedures, including removing the fuse from the bilge pump to preserve battery life.


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