How to tow a boat safely

To tow a boat safely, you need a lot of skill and proper equipment. The dangers involved in case something is done wrongly, makes it be left to professionals. However, some circumstances arise that will force you to accept to be towed by a friend. In some, you might be the one offering a tow to a friend. It is thus important to equip yourself with the safety information in case of need. If you are starting the process from scratch, you need to know how to select the best truck to tow your boat down the road.


honda ridge line towing a boat safely


Weight matters to tow a boat safely

Like any other towing assignment, you must consider the weight you need to tow and the terrain you are going to navigate. The main thing to consider as far as weight is concerned is the gross combined vehicle weight. This is the total weight of your truck together with the total weight of your boat and trailer. Every truck has a specified maximum gross margin weight. Therefore, before towing, ensure the truck you are picking is suitable. Beyond the weight issue, the tow truck will also need a number of accessories before the boat can be towed.


Towing hitches

Hitches are rated by classes ranging from I to V. The class of hitches you are going to use will be determined by how heavy your boat is. Class I hitches are ideal for only small objects below 2,000 pounds while class V can tow as high as 18,000 pounds. Other accessories such as weight-distributing hitches can affect the capacity of the hitches. Besides, tongue weight also has an effect. This is the total weight bearing down to the trailer tongue. This can change depending on the boat’s load and where the boat is loaded on the trailer.


It is recommended that tongue weight falls between 10 and 15 percent of the total trailer and boat package. If the tongue weight falls outside these margins, it will cause the trailer to sway which is going to be dangerous. In addition, you must consider the size of the ball hitch. This is simply done by matching the trailer hitch with the ball hitch for the tow truck. If you have multiple boats, you will need to select a receiver hitch. This allows for an easy and quick swap of different hitch sizes for the different trailers.


Location is important

After considering the weight your vehicle can handle, consider where you will be towing the boat. If you are towing your boat towards hilly regions, then it is better to go for an engine with higher torque.  Towing along slippery terrains, then it is better you pick a four-wheel-drive.

If you want to see some tips to get your car ready for a tow, read our other article.