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A couple of tips for boat owners

By: Dave Burrage / Published: Mar 26,  2015

I am going to use this blog to share mistakes I’ve made with fellow boat owners so they don’t have to make them for themselves. This blog’s topics fall under the “things you don’t often think about” category. 

Go check the expiration date on your flares and other similar safety signaling devices. Are they out of date? Mine were. I still haven’t figured out the best way to dispose of expired flares. You aren’t supposed to throw them in the trash because they are considered hazardous waste. If they are recently expired, you can keep them as spares. Otherwise, the two options that come to mind are waiting for a household hazardous waste disposal day in your city or county or donating them to the local Coast Guard Auxiliary for them to use in training sessions. 

The hardest bolts you will ever have to remove are the ones that hold your wheels on your boat trailer. Most boat trailers use bolts instead of lug nuts like you find on cars. Repeated immersions in salt water and the resultant corrosion are a recipe for disaster when it comes time to change a flat on your boat trailer. Take the following steps while your rig is sitting safely in your driveway:

  1. Soak each bolt liberally with penetrating oil.
  2. Come back two hours later and give each bolt a few taps with a hammer.
  3. Repeat step one and come back the next day.
  4. Remove each bolt, clean the threads a bit with a wire brush and give them a good coating of marine grease.
  5. Put the bolt back on and torque to specifications.  

If you do them one at a time, you don’t even need a jack. Don’t even try removing the bolts prior to steps 1-3 even with a “helper” bar or hammer; you are probably just going to snap the head off of the bolt. You may also find that this is a good time to go out and buy an impact driver. Just remember, bolts that are put on with an impact driver will also require an impact driver to remove. That is why I suggest tightening the bolts by hand with a wrench. When you are through, find yourself a cold beverage and reflect on how glad you are you didn’t have to unexpectedly change a trailer tire on the side of a busy highway.

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