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Old 05-09-2013, 07:01   #1
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Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

Hi im new here and wanted to start out by getting some advice from some current boaters. I am looking at buying a cabin cruiser type boat with a fly bridge. I have a 08 f250 diesel and am wondering how big of a boat i would be able to tow/load/unload on the river without too much trouble just like you would with a fish n ski in a way. I am wanting a boat between 26-38 ft. I am 20 mins from the river. How hard is it to load and unload a boat of that size? And how long and how much weight can i tow without having a special license or permits. I have plenty of room at home to store and just don't want to rent a dock. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. .
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:39   #2
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

What you need to do is look up the towing capacity of your vehicle. Especially for trucks, every manufacturer publishes them. You may have to put some effort into finding it.

Then subtract a few hundred pounds for the trailer, a few more for whatever junk you might load into the boat when you are towing it, and that will tell you how heavy of a boat you can get. In addition, be aware that anything wider than 8' will need a special permit in some states, and anything wider than 8.5' will need a special permit in almost all states, so you probably don't want to get anything wider than that.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:08   #3
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

Cruiser618, For what it is worth, I own a 2006 Ford F-250 with a 6.0L diesel. I towed a 7000 lb, 30' long by 10' wide power boat from FL to WY with a wide load banner on the stern with no hassle from anyone. The boat / trailer combo weighed nearly 9000 lbs and she pulled the hills of KY & TN with out losing a beat at 55 mph. Check your insurance coverage and travel daylight only!
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:55   #4
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Alrighty thanks i will do some checking. It says my max gvwr is 10k and my gcwr conventional is 12500 and 5th wheel 16900.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:57   #5
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So i would be able to pull a max 16900# boat and trailer combined? And also has anyone experienced loading and unloading a boat of that size?
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Old 05-09-2013, 13:09   #6
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Maybe my gcwr is 23500 sound right?
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:17   #7
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

No. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. That means the COMBINED weight of everything--trailer, boat, all gear, gas, you, and the vehicle itself. You have to subtract the weight of the vehicle and everything in it from the GCWR to find out how heavy of a trailer/boat combination you can tow.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:19   #8
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So i would be able to pull a max 16900# boat and trailer combined? And also has anyone experienced loading and unloading a boat of that size?
You're going to have a difficult if not impossible time pulling a load like that out of the water. There is a reason you don't see a lot of big boats launched and trailered short distances.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:33   #9
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

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...... How hard is it to load and unload a boat of that size?....... .
If the ramp is good, the water deep enough, the wind not strong, and the trailer is properly set up you should be OK with a boat of that size.

But those are a lot of "ifs" to get right, and you need to be prepared for the time when one of them is missing. You will probably find it is too big to manhandle when it gets windy. It may be useful to go to the ramp when the wind is strong and watch what happens with others retrieving. Then imagine how you would deal with it with a larger boat. Also check what the end of the ramp is like at low tide as they often drop off sharply. Your trailer wheels will be a LONG way out, past the typical design point for the ramp.

I had a smaller cruiser, a bit under 3 tonnes, and could launch and retrieve it fine by myself with a large family car (old Ford Galaxie). But when the wind picked up, the boat had too much windage to be manhandled. The trailer needs to be set up so you can drive the boat on ... making sure there is no way for it to miss the rollers and gouge itself on the metal frame of the trailer.

You also need to be sure the weight distribution is right, so that when the boat is on the slope of the ramp it still provides downwards pressure on the towing attachment. If it doesn't, you may easily loose traction. Usually it's the other way around and you lose traction on the front wheels. Most of the braking is on the front wheels, and brakes usually have much less effect in reverse. Several times I have been reversing down the ramp with front wheels locked, and just about standing on the brake pedal to stop it. With the trailer in the water its brakes may be pretty useless.

Also, make sure you are within legal towing weight limits. My rig wasn't and I started thinking about what would happen if I had an accident .... insurance would reject the claim, and the police probably wouldn't be too happy either.

Anyway, I'm not suggesting not to buy big, but go with the expectation that planning and proper setup are critical, and to be prepared with a Plan B when things get messy.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:40   #10
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

There is a big difference between a 26 and 38 ft boat. You need to narrow it down some to get a good answer. 26 ft = no problem with a 3/4 ton truck. 38 ft = no way with that truck.

My recent experience was towing a 30' cabin cruiser with a Ford F350 dually. Boat and trailer were 12,500 lb. Most of the time my boat stayed in the water. I did trailer it from SC to the FL Keys once. Also numerous times the 100 miles to the SC coast and various lakes from where we lived. Never had a problem towing with that rig.

Things to consider:
1. Towing capacity. I checked the ford web site and a 2014 F250 diesel truck has a 23,500 lb Gross combined weight incl truck, trailer and boat. 12,500 lbs towing capacity is the max for trailer and boat. 14,000 if 4x4.
2. Make sure the trailer is in good condition. Tires rated to handle the load, properly inflated, hubs/bearings greased, and brakes on all axles are absolutely necessary. Being able to stop the boat is more important than being able to start it.
3. Check with your state highway dept for whatever permitting is required. You want to be legal, but honestly I've never been stopped while towing a boat.
4. Proper tongue weight is critical to maintaining control. If you want to know what the rig really weighs, stop at a truck scale. You can get the tongue wt on the truck scale - it will tell you the weight on each axle.
5. Heavy duty straps tying the boat to the trailer. You want to make sure that when the trailer stops, so does the boat. No kidding. Had a friend learn this the hard way.
6. Is your truck 4WD? With a heavier boat, you may want that when pulling the boat out of the water, especially if the ramp is steep or slippery.
7. Dually. With a heavier boat, I liked the stability of the dual rear wheels. Not necessary on a 26 footer, but if you are thinking over 30 ft, I'd start thinking dually for any long distance hauls.

At the end of the day, with an appropriately sized truck and trailer both in good condition, you'll have stress free trailering. With some practice loading and unloading, it's not that big a deal.

Edit: Oh yeah, don't forget a spare tire and a jack that will work for the trailer.

Hope this helps.
Scott
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:56   #11
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

One item not discussed yet is your wanting a flybridge.

Very unlikely that you will be able to tow a flybridge boat due to vertical height restrictions. If only 20 miles you have a slight possibility of a clear route, but in general anything over 13.5 ft is going to be a headache. Remember that is height when on trailer.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:58   #12
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

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...what would happen if I had an accident... insurance would reject the claim
You bet they would! I can guarantee you that if you look at the small print on your insurance policy there will be an out for them if you exceed the GCWR.
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Old 06-09-2013, 14:25   #13
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Thanks alot guys for all the info. I do have 4x4 and i will keep it under 30 ft I've been looking at around 28ft. Must have a flybridge though. Its hard to say what the height will be on the trailer but i can get to the river with a clear shot but dont really wanna take the chance. So say that the height is okay i shouldn't have to big of a problem with loading and unloading and hauling a 28ft boat? All I've ever done is a 18ft fish n ski an i know what its like on a windy/wavy day. I do know they make ez load trailers for a boat this size which hopefully i can find one that come with it cause they are pricy lol.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:22   #14
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Re: Towing Boats. Need Some Advice.

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Very unlikely that you will be able to tow a flybridge boat due to vertical height restrictions.
I agree. Go to a marina where one is hauled out and measure. It isn't going to fit on a trailer and come under 13.5 feet.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:59   #15
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Alright. I have seen one on a trailer with flybridge but the boat wasnt more than 24 ft or so.
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