Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002

Question: I watch a lot of people launching and pulling out boats, and sometimes people stay in the boats as they are towed away. Is that against the law and, if so, how far out of the water does the boat have to be before it becomes a problem?

Answer: Trailering a boat out of the water often requires someone be inside to assist. There is nothing wrong with that. But it does become illegal when people remain in the trailered boat if it is taken out on a public road. The State law (13 AAC 02.495 (f)) reads, "No person may occupy a trailer or other object when it is being towed, unless the trailer or other object is specifically designed to transport passengers while it is being towed." This also applies to travel trailers. The reason should be obvious: Trailers can become unattached, can be in collisions apart from the towing vehicle, and they are not equipped with seatbelts or airbags. This brings up another point. Trailering can be challenging and even dangerous to an inexperienced driver. Before you attempt it, especially on the open highway, get some practice in a big open lot at slow speeds, and always check and double check the hitch, the safety chains, the trailer lights and tire conditions on the trailer.

If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, P.O. Box 817, Seward, AK 99664, or e-mail them to brandon_ The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.

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