How to strap a boat down

You really only need two things to strap boats down – boat straps and common sense. If you lack the latter I recommend leaving the boat strapping process to someone else.

These two videos do a good job of showing and explaining the process.

Some (common sense) advice:

Pay attention to the condition of your straps. If they’re frayed or ripped, set them aside, tell your coaches/boatmen, and don’t use them. It’s way cheaper to spend $100 on a new set of straps ($100 = 15 straps, which is enough for five eights) than $40,000 on a new boat.

Don’t be obnoxious about how tightly you pull the straps. Similarly to how rigger nuts and bolts only need to be finger tight, straps are the same way. They obviously need to be tight to keep the boat in place but over-tightening the straps can actually warp the hull so be aware of that when you’re tying the boats down.

Don’t throw the buckle end of the strap over the boat or let it sit on the hull while traveling. Letting metal clunk around on the fiberglass can dent or put small holes in it. Letting the buckle sit tightly against the hull can also put dents or holes in the shell from the pressure of being pulled tightly. If you can, try to have the buckle sitting as close to trailer rack as possible.

Learn how to strap the boats down if you don’t know how. If you’re a varsity coxswain and your coach or boatmen is preoccupied with something else, take the initiative to show the new coxswains/rowers how to do it.

Small boats = 2 straps, eights = 3 straps.

Don’t tie knots in the straps. It weakens them and it’s a pain in the ass trying to get them out.

This is what happens when your boats are tied down improperly.

Yes, it’s funny in a “dude, that sucks” kinda way but think about what could have happened in this situation if the trailer was in the left lane and beside another car or if there was a car traveling behind the trailer. It goes from being a really irritating situation to being a potentially fatal one. If for nothing else, at least take the time to strap your boats down properly so that everyone else on the road is safe when they’re driving near your trailer.

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