Q&A - Brakes on Boat Trailers
I have a McGregor sailboat on a trailer, and many yeard ago the brakes rusted out (salt water) and I had to have them taken out in order to move. The rest of the trailer is quite sound. I was informed by people in the industry that I could still tow the trailer as as the boat is quite light and my towing vehicle is quite heavy duty. I tow my other boat trailers with no problems, and I have towed this trailer also wit h no problems for many years. Now a dealer( who wants to sell me brakes ) tells me I am driving illegaly. Brakes it seems will cost me over $1000, and i only normally use the trailer twice per year- once in the spring to put the boat in the water, and once in the fall to take it out, and these involve a drive of about one mile on a quiet road. A cost of $1000 seems excessive, and yet I do not want to do anything illegal.
I have raised this problem again with experts in the industry, who again assure me that I have nothing to worry about, and in fact have no componction about using my truck and trailer to tow my boat to to a shipyard for servicing themselves. I have checked with the RCMP, who have been very helpful and co-operative, but basically do not know. They pointed out that the rules seem to be different in every province and state anyway. I asked our local GM dealer ( my truck is a 3/ton full size 4 wheel drive built for towing) but they did not know either, and again told me the rules are different everywhere anyway. I tried to reach the Department of Transport, with little or no success, and someone suggested that I tow the boat to a weigh scale for testing, which might be an illegal act, and then how would I get home? It is very confusing.
The best I can come up with is to use one of your regulations which says I may tow my boat without extra brakes providing what I am towing is less than 70% of the GVW of the towing vehicle, and I have looked up the specifications and done the calculation and i get a result of 38%, so I should be alright, but in view of all the confusion I would like some confirmation from you please.