Make Sure Your Trailer Load is Safe (and legal!)

A great deal of labour and love has gone in to making St Ayles skiffs and we all care very deeply about these community assets.  The time when our boats are most at risk of damage is probably not when they are on the sea, but when they are on the Highway!  Skiffs are travelling significant distances by road to get to events, and we owe it to the boats (and ourselves and other road users) to ensure that each skiff is safely secured to an appropriate trailer, and safely lit at night.

The topic was brought up at the recent Gallagher Heath StAR at Castle Semple.  A supporter of the association, who is very experienced in transport of fine rowing boats nationally and internationally, brought to our attention an occassion where a trailer full of slide seat boats was stopped on the way home from an event, with the driver being charged because the overhang beyond the trailerboard was not marked with a red light at night.
There are various guides to the towing of rowing boats linked from the “documents” tab above, although nothing can beat checking the regulations that apply.  It seems that although normally a load must not project beyond the lighting board/ registration plate of a trailer by more than one metre, there is an exception for racing boats propelled by oars, which can allow the projection to be up to 3 meters.  However anything hanging more than 1m beyond the Number Plate should be flagged during the day, and lit by a red light at night.   While Coastal Boats are not nearly so “pointy” as the River variety, the sharpness of the boat-end  can still catch other drivers unawares.  Of  course one solution open to skiffies that skinny boats might not be able to use is to fix the trailer board directly onto the stern of the skiff.  A small challenge for which our creative fixers can work on elegant solutions!
 As well as regulations on overhangs and lighting, there are of course requirements for driver licensing (those who have passed their tests more recently do not automatically have the entitlement to tow trailers), maximum permissible weights which each vehicle may tow, and the weight that a trailer and load can be before the trailer must be fitted with brakes.  Have a look through the documents tab above, and feel free to share your experiences here or on the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook page.

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