Driving trailers backwards


Old 09-07-09, 12:06 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Driving trailers backwards

Hello all! I am a brand new owner of a jet ski. This is my first major marine purchase. I am very excited about this but am having a major problem. I am totally unable to drive it in reverse. It goes a few feet and then swings to one side or the other. Everyone has said turn the wheel the opposite way from which I want it to go. I think I am doing that but it is still not working. I have spent 30-45 minutes on boat ramps before I have to swallow my pride and ask someone to help me. Fortunately there has always been someone there to assist. However, I really want to do this on my own. Anyone else experience the same thing when they started? I do not have good depth perception so it is hard to tell how far I am from things behind me. For example I have always had a problem where I think I am inches away from the car behind me and get out of the car to find I am still a good 5 or 6 feet away.

Any suggestions will be helpful because I am excited to use this but cannot get it in the water or out without help.
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Old 09-07-09, 12:11 PM
mango man's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sw FL
Posts: 2,122
its easier for me to do it by looking backwards over my shoulder rather than trying to use the mirrors

best thing is to find a large empty parking lot and practice
Old 09-07-09, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Eastern Georgia
Posts: 486
Shorter trailers require more and larger steering corrections than longer ones. Go slow, pull forward enough to get the tow vehicle and trailer straight with the ramp before you start to back up. Stay ahead with your corrections, do not wait for the trailer to get way out of line before correcting, as you have been told turn the wheel opposite of the way you want the trailer to go, if the trailer gets turned too far, do not be afraid to pull forward and try again. Like mango said, find a big empty space and practice. If all else fails you can have someone fit a reciever hitch to the front of your vehicle, when youget to the ramp, simply un-hook and re-hook to the hitch on the front, then just push the trailer down the ramp.
Old 09-07-09, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,010
Agree with both answers..

However, I find it useful to put my hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move it the direction you want the trailer to go. I used to watch out the back, but now find it easier to use mirrors. You have to react to the slightest movement of the trailer.
Old 09-08-09, 05:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 4,239
Good advice.

Also remember that it's not a race. Take your time. Slow speed allows you to make minor corrections. The sure sign of a newbie is spinning the wheel all the way in one direction, then all the way to the other. You're not out to impress the people at the ramp -- you're there to launch.
Old 09-08-09, 07:41 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,567
All good advice. Wire twister is right on the mark as pertains to the length of the trailer. Even I have to take extra care when backing a short wheel base vehicle like a VW vice something looong. And EVERYBODY who backs things gets crossed up from time to time (including moi), so don't let it get to you.

Practice, practice, practice.
Old 09-10-09, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 553
Those trailers have 2 disadvantages, the short length makes them jack knife easy and you can't see them. Some cheap bicycle stick flags make them easier to see. On my bike trailer, I bought red and white barber pole looking fiberglass sticks and mounted them on the corners. But there is no replacement for practice.

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