Trailers must comply with Victoria’s Standards for Registration, which now incorporate the National Standards (Australian Design Rules or ADR’s) with which trailers built after June 1989 have to comply.
They are quite detailed but have very few requirements that good trailers built before this date do not already satisfy.
All boat trailers used on Public roads and in Public places have to be registered. However, trailers that do not comply with the Standards for Registration or are unroadworthy will be refused registration.
Other laws about the allowable size of boat and trailer can be obtained from Vic Roads. Some other States have more stringent limits than Victoria.
Trailers must be roadworthy at all times. Trailers used for launching boats in salt water need special attention because of the damage salt water corrosion can cause in all parts of boat trailers; they can become dangerously unroadworthy very quickly. Poorly maintained wheels, bearings, tyres and breaks have caused some very serious accidents and must be checked frequently.
Trailers with damaged or malfunctioning parts must not be used.
Couplings not done up correctly and boats improperly secured on trailers are also too common hazards.
All people who move boats on trailers need to be aware of these factors. Apart from the risk of causing accidents there is also the risk of incurring the quite severe penalties which the Law provides for operating an unsafe trailer/ boat combination or using a boat trailer that is unregistered, unroadworthy or does not comply with the legal standards.
Further information on any of these matters may be obtained from any Vic. Roads registration office. Also, Vic. Roads Vehicle Safety Branch is pleased to discuss other technical matters about trailers and safe towing, and may be contacted on 13 1171
Tips for Towing your Boat
- Your trailer must be registered. If it is not, contact a Vic. Roads Registration Office to find out what is involved.
- Your boat must be properly secured to your trailer
- All equipment stored in your boat must be appropriately secured
- Towing couplings must be properly secured and latched, and safety chains must be attached to the towing vehicle.
- The electrical plug must be properly connected to the towing vehicle and all your trailer lighting must work, with particular care given to the turn indicators, brake lamps and tail lights
- Tyres must be properly inflated. If you don’t know the actual specified pressures, use 190kPa (28psi) for small boats to 240kPa (35psi) for larger boats
- Check that tyres, wheels, brakes and suspension are in proper working order
- Do not exceed speed limits or drive faster than you can safely control the combination of towing vehicle and trailer.
- If your trailer starts to sway (snake), keep a strong grip on the steering wheel and try to maintain a steady speed or accelerate slightly. DO NOT APPLY TOWING VEHICLE BRAKES UNLESS A CRASH IS UNAVOIDABLE! If your braking system allows you, carefully apply the trailer brakes alone.
IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ANYONE TO RIDE IN YOUR BOAT OR TRAILER WHILST BEING TOWED.