The following article was written by Vinnie Ventura.  Vinnie has had a long and distinguished career in rowing.  He learned to row at IONA college in the 1960’s and then on to NYAC as competitor, volunteer , ‘chief cook and bottle washer” and now is both head coach and director of the NYAC’s rowing program.  And, that is just a list of some of his volunteer efforts in rowing!. He also had 20+ year career as a school teacher and upon retirement from teaching a few years ago he became the Boatman for Columbia University. 

I have know Vinnie since the late 70’s and asked him to be my assistant coach for the US Olympic scullers in 1980.  Since then we have been long time friends.  I admire and respect him. There are few people who have given back to rowing on the scale that he has. His has a great  love for the fairness, integrity and commitment our sport deserves.  His efforts have been recognized with countless, well deserved honors from Iona, NYAC and USRowing.  USRowing went so far as to name the  National Championship Women’s point trophy after his mother!

We were talking over lunch one day about Columbia’s upcoming trip to Florida and how much planning and effort it took to safely trailer boats, oars, etc. It was a lengthy list that could only exist in the head of someone, like Vinnie, who’s ‘been there and done that” hundreds of times. I asked him if he would write down this list so he could share it with the rest of the rest of the rowing community.  Here is Vinnie’s list. 

If you would like to add to this list please send your comments to me,

Tips for Trailering Rowing Equipment  by Vinnie Ventura

Before You Leave


1. Use a tow vehicle that meets or exceeds the capacity of the load to be hauled.

2. Service towing vehicle and make any needed repairs.

3. Check that trailering vehicle and trailer have current registrations and inspections.

4. Check brakes on trailers. (Make needed repairs)

5. Check lights on trailer. (Make needed repairs.)

6. Lubricate trailer bearings.

7. Inspect tires on tow vehicle and trailer. (Replace as needed.)

8. Insure that all tires on vehicle and trailer are properly inflated. (Don’t forget the spares.)

9. Prepare a readily accessible emergency tool kit. (Trailer jack, lug wrench, flashlight, fire extinguisher, road reflectors, flares, jumper cables etc.) 

Coaching Launches:

1. Check that coach boat registrations are current.

2. Check that each coach boat has its safety equipment.(Life jackets, paddles, line, fire extinguishers, etc.)

3. Have coach motors serviced.

4. Check fuel lines. (Replace as needed.)

5. Check fuel tanks for leaks or water. (Replace and drain as needed.)

6. Bring extra fuel tanks.

7. Have a supply of appropriate engine oil.

Trailer Loading

1. Connect trailer to truck and check brakes, lights, and directional signals for proper operation.

2. Create a check list and loading diagram for all equipment to be placed on the trailer.

3. Create an assembly area for all equipment to be loaded on the trailer.

4. Compare check list with assembly area to be sure nothing gets left behind.

5. Check all straps and replace those in poor condition.

6. Evenly distribute the weight of the equipment on the trailer.

7. Place red flags on boats extending beyond light bar at rear of trailer.

8  Plan you route. (Make a note of easily accessible fuel and meal stops.)

9. Before leaving, drivers should check everything about the vehicles and make needed corrections.(Boat straps, lights, directional’s, brakes, flags, etc.)  

Here is a contribution fromSkii Roblyn from Orlando who writes, “I would recommend adding a couple of things I always carry with our trailer.  A second spare tire always gets loaded for overnight trips and I bought an inexpensive hand operated bicycle air pump to add air to tires if necessary along the way.” Scott Allison of the St. Louis Rowing Club recently submitted a great tip to supplement the annual re-packing of your trailer’s wheel bearings.  Scott suggests feeling the bearing hub every time you stop to refuel.  If the bearing hub is too hot to touch your bearings need immediate attention.