How to Backup a Trailer

Backing up a trailer shouldn’t make your palms sweat. In fact, it’s easy once you do it a few times with proper technique. But when there’s a line of trucks and fishermen waiting to launch or load up, the pressure can make anyone nervous. There are videos and even gadgets– but here at Phoenix Trailers, we like to keep it simple:

“Steer Towards the Bad”

If the trailer is going in the direction you don’t want it to go, move your steering wheel in that direction. You can do this by looking over your shoulder or using your mirrors. For smaller boats and trailers that can’t be seen in your mirrors or through the rear window, try popping the trunk in an SUV or dropping the tailgate in a pickup. This is as simple as it gets. And after a few trial runs, you’ll be in and out of the boat launch in no time.
If you don’t like this method, another technique is to grab the bottom of the steering and move the wheel where you want the trailer to go. This only works if you grab the bottom of the wheel, which is why we prefer “steering towards the bad,” because it doesn’t matter where you grab the wheel.
The key to backing up a trailer, as with any technique, is to make small inputs and corrections. Make sure you have adequate clearance before you launch. The biggest mistake people make is over correcting and zig-zagging their way to the boat ramp. How the trailer behaves will also depend on the surface of the road. Take your time. Go slow. And you’ll be either on the water or pulling away from the boat ramp in no time.
Sometimes, having a spotter can complicate matters – “Left. No, right. I mean turn the wheel to the right, point your tires left. I mean right, my left. No, your right!” Sound familiar?
Communicate with them what exactly you want. It should usually just be looking out for obstacles you can’t see, or when the boat is deep enough in the water.
Once you successfully back up your trailer, you’re ready to launch your boat or load a boat onto a trailer. Click the links below to learn how.

Phoenix Trailers is not responsible for any damage to persons, or property—be careful. Please see our terms of service.

Words From

Happy Customers

I am now on my third Phoenix trailer and could not be more happy with the product. I have never had one problem with any of my trailers. I'm overly impressed with the product from Phoenix trailers and would certainly recommend to any boat owner out there.
— Nate Smith, World water-ski record holder and two-time slalom champion
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We warrant boat trailer frames tip to tail for two years from the date of purchase against defective material and workmanship. Many components have an extended warranty. Our welded frame trailers have a five year warranty. We backup each trailer that we produce with the finest customer service department in the trailer industry.