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Old 08-10-2009, 08:32   #1
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US Boats and Trailers in Europe

Hi,
We live in the US but spend our summers in Croatia where we have a family house on one of the islands. We are planning on purchasing a 24-26 ft cruiser on a trailer and shipping it Croatia to use over the summers while on the Adriatic.

The cruiser will be registered in the US and will be boated under a US flag. As we are not importing the boat, we are not going to deal with CE certification which is required if we sell the boat in the EU or want to register it there.

What is more interesting, is the trailer that comes with the boat. Shipping companies prefer we send the boat with the trailer (it's cheaper to transport to US port, then use RoRo then build a crate) however ground transport companies in Europe state that US trailers are illegal on EU roads. Accroding to Croatian authorities, the trailer is not illegal on Croatian roads.

My question is - is there a big difference between US and EU boat trailers, i.e. is there anything that would prevent a US trailer from being towed in Europe? The cruiser is big and heavy therefore brakes, etc and important consideration.

It would be easiest for us to send a US trailer to Europe as they are much, much cheaper here and most boats that we are looking for come on a trailer.

Kind regards
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:43   #2
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Off the top of my head, ......max all up weight for a non heavy goods type vehicle and trailer combination is 3500kg in the UK. T his means that normal over run brakes are fitted and working on both trailer axles.
It is possible to go to 4000 kg with air brakes fitted but thats a whole lot of expense as the towing vehicle must be fitted with a compressor and holding tank, and sensors fitted to the vehicle braking system to activate trailer brakes

With Croatia being part of the EU, its worth checking that for a start.
Also need to check current regs for width and overhang past last trailer support. It used to be 1.4mts overlength.
No restriction on height
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:48   #3
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Forgot to add.

Trailer lighting is applicable, as are turn signals and reflectors at front and rear corners and along sides in relevent colours. A lit number plate and park brake is also needed.
Also check your drivers license allows you to tow as the law in uk changed a few years ago to say drivers of a young age or new drivers cant tow untill a test is passed.
You may fall in the new drivers catagory if you have to convert a US licence
If you plan to tow with a croatian vehicle, I guess the wiring will be different too, and a conversion of the plug is needed
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:55   #4
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its all flooding back to me now. My business used to be hauling animal feed silos on a trailer with a rangerover and ive done a few miles.

My total unit weight was 2500kg unlaiden. Fully hydraulic tipping, hydraulic braked axles etc.
Drawbar length was 4'6'', bed width was 90'' and bed length was 23'

I regularly towed loads which over hung by as much as 2.6mts and had to use marker boards. This is permitted provided the load is indivisable. ie, it cant be broken down into smaller loads.

You also have to find out about a tachograph. Recording device fitted to vehicle over a certain weight.
I was exempt by a loophole in the law which said if i was 'delivering', I had to have one and use it, wheras, if i was 'installing', i nwas exempt.

Naturally, I was always installing.

These were all UK rules and mey or may not apply to croatia, but the EU may have spawned them right across the membership states
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:01   #5
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It looks like this company produces trailers that have EC type approval:
Load Rite International Sales

therefore to lead me to believe that it should be ok on EU roads. The boat is a bit less than 3 mt (6200lbs with motor) and the beam (width) is 2.59m.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:04   #6
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At 6200 lbs, your going to be overweight when you add the towing vehicle weight.

If you dont have to tow it far, you could use an agricultural tractor and the weight limits dont then apply

Weight limits apply to PLG or Private Light goods type vehicles. Typically, cars or 4x4s.

A light commercial vehicle thats able to be driven on a standard full licence can be up to 7500 kg total train weight.
So a seven and a half tonne truck can tow a trailer of greater weight
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:09   #7
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At 6200 lbs, your going to be overweight when you add the towing vehicle weight.

If you dont have to tow it far, you could use an agricultural tractor and the weight limits dont then apply

Weight limits apply to PLG or Private Light goods type vehicles. Typically, cars or 4x4s.

A light commercial vehicle thats able to be driven on a standard full licence can be up to 7500 kg total train weight.
So a seven and a half tonne truck can tow a trailer of greater weight
The boat is shipped to Germany and then have to use ground transport to Croatia. I presume if they cannot tow it because of weight restriction then they can load it up on a large truck and ship it on the trailer.

I contacted our contact in the Croatian marina and we let him know of the boat weight however he said its ok (I am not sure how he's going to tow it I did not see a large American sized truck over there but whatever). It is 7km between the marina and the dry marina where the boat is going to be stored.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:25   #8
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You may find your ok. As I said, these were the regs in UK 10 years ago and will give you an idea of things to check for in other Eu countries
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Old 10-10-2009, 04:09   #9
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Some good info from Anjou there. We do see US trailers in the UK from time to time. However they are a pain as they have 2" trailer ball sockets and europe uses 50mm. You really wouldn't want a trailer coming off the hitch as you are driving down the road. The police and insurance companies would have a field day. It would be bad enough in England, but in another European country with the langauge problems....

The problems btw are the width, the brakes, the lights and the hitch.

What we tend to use US trailers for in this country is boat yard only storeage.

If you send a US trailer over, stick a spare 2" tow ball on the trailer so they can fit it to a two vehicle when it arrives this side. Soucing a 2" tow ball this side of the pond is tricky.


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Old 11-10-2009, 05:36   #10
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Quote:
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... If you send a US trailer over, stick a spare 2" tow ball on the trailer so they can fit it to a two vehicle when it arrives this side. Soucing a 2" tow ball this side of the pond is tricky.
Send a matching hitch ball with your trailor.
Standard North American trailor hitch balls can be:
1-7/8"∅ (2,000# rated),
2" diameter (3,500#),
2-5/16"∅ (6,000#).
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:54   #11
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Why do you think you will not be importing it?
Importing and paying duty has little to do with changing registration.
I imported my boat to Lebanon (paid duty) but maintained my US Flag.
You may want to double check.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:18   #12
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Imported cars here in the US often have a different wiring plug you will probably need some thing like that if you will be pulling with a european vehicle, the adapters are not expensive here.
Won't you need to import or register the boat locally if you will be keeping and using it there over a certain period of time? If so will you need to get CE certification which I believe is fairly expensive?
Good luck
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Old 11-10-2009, 14:04   #13
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Note that Croatia is not in the EU

Standard non-commercial trailers in the EU from 750Kg to 3500Kg require mechancial overrun brakes , no others are acceptable, breakaway activation of brakes, 50mm ball hitch. CE decal plate. Max load width is 2.55metres and length is generally not a problems , though typicsally 2.5 metres overhands from t and back are OK. over 3500Kg all up ( inc trailer) requires a commercial rated tow vehicle. Tachographs are NOT required on any NON commercial towing activity

European cars and 4x4 with generally not have a replaceable ball unit on the towbar, so sending a 2" ball over is no good, see if you can replace the hitch.

for a 7Km journey I wouldnt worry too much.

PS since you are shiping the boat via a commercial carrier to Germany, be very careful that you do not import the boat. WHat you are looking for is Temporary Import relief, which allows you 18 months. But this is generally only applied where you bring the boat in pesonally, not via a commercial shipper. The Shipper will have to complete normal customs documentation and your boat could be accessed as an "import" making it viable for VAT. Ensure you and your shipper have this worked out beforehand.
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Old 14-10-2009, 14:50   #14
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Glad someone else noticed. Croatia in negotiations but sucession to EU not due until 2010 or possibly later.

I suspect if you bring over your US trailer then any adaptations required to make it Croatia or EU legal would not be hard to effect after arrival. If you have a summer house there why not go ask the question at a local fabrication workshop.....

Good luck

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Old 15-10-2009, 11:37   #15
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Quote:
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European cars and 4x4 with generally not have a replaceable ball unit on the towbar, so sending a 2" ball over is no good, see if you can replace the hitch
Rubbish, they are held on with two bolts easy to take off and replace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
for a 7Km journey I wouldnt worry too much.
Good grief, would you really want to put a 2" hitch on a 50mm tow ball .


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