Pulling a skateboard (flat deck) is really no different from pulling a van or reefer. Loading a deck, however, requires an entirely different skill set. Making the switch from vans to decks, you will feel like a complete rookie driver again.
With a van or reefer, load securement is simple. Pack it in, put some load bars across the back, close the doors and you’re on your way. Decks are quite a bit different. You can’t pack the freight up against the front bulkhead of the trailer, because you likely don’t have one! Concentrated heavy loads, such as granite, need to be loaded in the center of the trailer to distribute the weight properly. Some lumber loads need to be loaded the same way. Let’s say the load is 20 for long, and weighs 46,000 lbs. how do we secure it properly? If you’re using straps, then you need enough straps to secure 46,000 lbs. Straps have a WLL (working load limit) of 5,400 lbs, meaning the strap can hold that much weight. So to secure the 46,000 lbs, you will need 9 straps minimum. (9 X 5400=48,600. A good rule to follow us, once you have the minimum straps in place, add 2 more, just in case.
If you have a very long, light load, let’s say a single 50 ft long 2X4, then the WLL is not an issue, but the length is. The requirement is, 2 straps for the first 10 feet, then 1 strap for every 10 feet there after, so for a 50 ft 2X4, you will need 6 straps. Again, toss 2 more, just in case.
In cases where you have pieces of differing lengths, the strap requirements are exactly the same. Each piece requires the minimum straps for the length, and the load requires enough to secure the entire weight. If that means you need to toss 15 or 20 straps, so be it. Better to have more than needed than not enough. Every 3 levels on a trailer, you need to throw a “belly strap”. The rule of thumb is, 1 belly strap per piece of freight.
When tightening you straps, get them as tight as you possibly can, but keep the bar between you and the load at all times. If that bar slips, brakes, or comes loose in any way, you could be very seriously injured. There is a lot of tension when you’re tightening straps.