Published online: May 02, 2008 News
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Few boat owners or anglers with fishing boats think about their boat trailers until something goes wrong. But this out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude unfortunately leads to problems that a little planning and attention could have helped prevent.

Mike Pellerin, director of BoatU.S. Angler, which offers both on-the-water and on-the-road assistance to its members, says that even the best boat trailers, without regular maintenance, may develop problems due to the stresses caused by rough roads and owner neglect.

In 2007, the BoatU.S. 24-hour dispatch centers reported the top five reasons for boat trailer service calls and their frequency of occurrence:

· Flat tires (44%)
· Bearing problems (20%)
· Axle problems (14%)
· Suspension problems (9%)
· Tongue problems (5%)

Does this mean today's boat trailers aren't well made?

"Boat trailers are better than ever," said Pellerin. "However, because they are constructed so well, boat owners tend to overlook things such as checking tires for wear and forgetting to grease wheel bearings. Driving over the unavoidable rough patches and potholes contributes to early trailer or tire failure."

Many national roadside assistance clubs do a great job helping stranded motorists. But when it comes to boat trailer breakdowns, boaters need to know that their "auto" club may not be their best option because boat trailer assistance often isn't included. When that happens, boats get left stranded on the side of the highway while their owners seek out help.

However, should the need arise, help is available and it's a bargain.

The BoatU.S. Trailer Assist program is the only national roadside assistance program designed to meet the specific needs of trailer boaters with more than 18,000 North American service providers specializing in roadside boat trailer and tow vehicle assistance. Affordably priced at only $29 a year, the program pays for towing services up to 100 miles to a repair facility or safe location, and includes winching service at slippery boat launch ramps, even if the boat trailer's wheels are in the water.

Flat tires, battery jumps, lockouts and fuel deliveries are also provided for in the U.S. and Canada, and it will reimburse trailer boaters for breakdowns in Mexico up to $500. Membership in BoatU.S., the nation's advocate for recreational boaters, is included. For more information visit http://www.BoatUSAngler.com or call 800-245-6923

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