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rya powerboat training - van parked in the water submerged trying to launch a powerboat
19 Jul 2016

Tips for towing a boat

So your new pride and joy sits there on its trailer and your now want to tow it to the coast for your maiden voyage on board.

First up you will need to make sure you can legally tow your boat. If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997, you will be entitled to drive any vehicle/trailer combination up to to 8.25 tonnes.  If you passed after this date you will be able to tow any trailer up to 750kg’s. You can also tow a trailer over 750kgs as long as the weight of the trailer and the boat does not exceed the unladed weight of the tow vehicle. Please refer to the link for current laws on what you can and can not tow with your vehicle.

So you have now worked out you can legally tow your boat and you have a vehicle that is capable of the job, first job is to make sure the trailer is in good shape. If its sat there for a while, I would always give the bearings a grease, check the hitch works as it should do. One all connected make sure the electric work and the boat is tied down. Talking of tying down the boat, I would always secure the boat at the bow and the stern, its it a RIB never tie over the tubes, I have seen this a number of times. It is not good for the boat and you will never get the strap tight enough as your strapping against an inflatable tube! The D ring’s on the transom or if you have a heavy duty A frame are a much better option.

How to secure the engine?

Down is best, students often after talk about the tow bracket on the engine, this is not what it is designed for. Its actually used to support the engine if you need to change a hydraulic ram. Putting the engine down reduces the flex and any potential damage to the transom. If your engine leg sticks out past the number plate don’t forget to use a prop bag.

securing a boat

securing a boat


So you have managed to get to the slip way and now your ready to launch. If its your first time at a ramp, local knowledge is best, does the ramp have a step off at the bottom? Most people are friendly and are only too happy to offer advice.

Don’t be a slipway way dummy and block the slip way while you sort your life out, do this away from the ramp. Before you enter the water, take the trailer board off, untie the back of the boat and make sure your ready to go. I always secure the bow line round the front of the trailer at this point incase the winch fails.

Launching a boat

Launching a boat

Here are my handy tips for a successful launch

  • Let the bearings cool down, before you put the trailer in the water
  • Make sure the bung is in
  • keys in, electrics on, kill cord on
  • Start the boat in the water before you let go
  • Never stand behind the boat when its on the slip way

This little list assumes you have reversed the boat and trailer down the ramp, before doing so make sure your tow vehicle is up for the job. Always have a little look at the ramp prior to launch to make sure there is no slim where you are going to drive.

How not to launch your boat!

How not to launch your boat!

For more information and help on towing and launching please call 02381 242159 or check out www.oceansportstuition.co.uk