Car Towing a Boat on a Trailer

Boats are expensive, and the last thing you want is for your boat or life to be put in danger due to improper trailering. 

However, you also don’t want to limit yourself to renting space at a marina or pier. That gets downright costly and limits where your boating adventures can take you. 

The best thing to do is to overcome your boat towing anxiety and learn how to trailer a boat. It’s easier than it looks.

Keep reading to learn how to safely tow a boat of any size. 

Choose the Right Vehicle and Hitch

Before hooking your boat up, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is the right one for the job.

Every vehicle has an assigned towing capacity based on gross combined vehicle weight (GCWV). This is how much the trailer, boat and vehicle weigh altogether. You’ll want to make sure your towing vehicle meets the GCWV requirement. 

Similarly, you have to make sure you have the appropriate hitch for the weight of your boat. Hitches come in five different classes.

Below is an estimate of the hitch class and vehicle size required for your boat based on weight. 

  • 2,000 Ibs: Class 1 – Small Vehicles
  • 3,500 Ibs: Class 2 – SUVS or Mid-sized Vehicles 
  • 5,000 Ibs: Class 3 – SUVS or Mid-sized Vehicles
  • 12,000 Ibs: Class 4 – Large Vehicles
  • 18,000 Ibs: Class 5 – Large Vehicles

Hitch the Boat to the Vehicle 

Once you acquire the appropriate materials, you can hitch the boat to your vehicle. 

Begin by backing the boat up to the trailer and placing the hitch over the ball. You can then secure the latch with the safety pin to prevent them from separating. 

Now be sure to cross the safety chains when attaching them to the towing vehicle to optimize their functioning. This is mandatory.

Some trailers have their own breaks. If yours does, attach the trailer’s safety line to your vehicle so that its breaks will activate if necessary. 

Before getting on the road, it’s essential that you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Be sure to bring a fire extinguisher with you and know PWC Repair locations along your route.  

Practice Safe Driving 

Now you’re ready to tow your boat, but there are some driving tips you’ll need to follow. After all, operator inattention is the biggest cause of boat-related accidents.  

First, make sure any heavyweight items in the boat and vehicle are evenly dispersed.

As you drive, you’ll need to frequently check your side mirrors for any swaying. If there is, be sure to stop accelerating and don’t break quickly. It’s advised that you purchase towing mirrors that extend your visual ability further back. 

You’ll also want to make sure that you take wide turns and leave extra room between the vehicles in front and behind you. 

How to Trailer a Boat in the Water

So you’ve successfully towed your boat, had the time of your life, and now it’s time to hook the boat back up. Follow the below steps on how to trailer a boat in the water. 

You’ll start by hooking the trailer back up like you did before. 

Then, just back the boat up until the tires are almost touching the water and the trailer is fully underwater. 

Have everyone else get off the boat and gently float the boat onto the trailer so it’s centered in place. 

From there you can tie it down firmly with the bow strap and slowly drive it out of the water. 

Make sure it stays centered and run through all the safety checks discussed earlier. 

Get Out There!

Trailering a boat easier than it looks and completely safe as long as you follow proper guidelines. 

Make sure you have the appropriate vehicle and hitch for your boat’s weight and practice driving in a safe location in advance. Be sure not to skip any of the steps above when towing.

Now that you know how to trailer a boat, get out there!

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