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Towing large boats

Old 05-19-2010, 10:53 PM
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Default Towing large boats

How many of you tow large boats? If so what do you tow and what are you towing it with? Right now I'm towing a 24 foot walk around cabin and while is not hard, its not the easiest thing either. The boats in the slip, but when I make trips to a favorite vacation spot or the offshore grounds, I put it on the trailer and tow, saving 60-80 miles each way. This saves a bundle on gas, makes for easier planning with the weather, less wear and tear on me and the boat.
My issue is that I want to go bigger, but I don't want to lose the ability to tow. Is a 28 foot walk around cabin too big? too much of a hassle to put on a trailer to save 60-80 miles each way? Should I be looking at center consoles, are they easier because of less beam?

Your thoughts, input and experiences are appreciated, thanks.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:19 PM
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Length will not be your problem. Check your state laws about max width. I bought a 31 contender in Florida and trailered it to Cabo Sam Lucas Mexico. It has a 9'3" beam on it and I needed oversize permits for all the states that I went through on my trip.

Pulled it with a 2500hd Chevy crew cab Gas with no problems. I have a slip for it but put it on the trailer when I am using my other boat or traveling out of the country. I load and unload it off the trailer about 2 times a month. Nothing to it, I would think no more of a problem than your 24 WA.

Last edited by sanchoco; 05-19-2010 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:52 AM
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Just sold this....38ft boat, 44ft trailer, 15,500lbs (the truck is 23 ft long). Towed it every weekend 30-50 miles each way for 6 years (I kept it at home in a garage). It was only 8.6 wide so it fit within state guidelines. Once you get used to it it's not that bad....you do have to drive with your "eyes" well ahead to plan where you are going to turn, etc.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:49 AM
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Just as t500 said, you can get accustomed to towing, and launching/loading, just about anything, within reason, if the rig is set up right and in compliance with the law. Although my rig (f350 crew cab std bed + 31 EW) is not considered big by some, it is big to me, especially when I first started using it.

Towing it posed some issues I did not anticipate. The first problem was availablity of ramps suitable to load a boat with it's length and draft. Second, the ramp parking had to be arranged so that you could park an empty rig of that length without inconveniencing other boaters and/or hording parking spaces. Lastly, locating suitable ramps that were accessible by roadways with enough width and overhead clearance became an issue.

During my first season (for which I was ill prepared), I had to abort a few trips because of insufficient ramp length/depth, or an inability to get to the ramps because of road clearance issues. I ended up taking out several tree limbs and one cable vision line with my radar. That Fall I made up a measuring pole from an old outrigger, and went on a weekend roadtrip with my family measuring ramp depths, lengths, and the height of overhead obstructions. Now I know exactly where I can and cannot go with the rig.

In short, if money is not a limiting factor, just let the roads you use, the area you fish and the ramps you use help dictate what size boat you choose to trailer. That is, of course, assuming you have or are willing to purchase a suitable tow vehicle as well.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:48 PM
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Thanks for the reponses, they brought me some insight which I did not consider. I have a great tow vehicle which I want to utilize, and I will be saving a bundle on gas when I opt to fish offshore as I have to leave Long Island Sound. t500hps, that boats insanse. I was considering a 28 footer.

Anyone towing a 28 Grady White on a regular basis?
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:40 AM
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I currently tow a Venture 34, which replaced a Jupiter 31, which replaced a Stamas 29, which replaced a Parker 25. Since I have been going up a few feet at a time, I have not even noticed the change in the towing. But the basic rules still apply.

The truck must be rated for the task and trailer must be equipped with very good brakes. I'm very happy with the electric over hydraulics and Kodiak brakes. The system works well enough that the combo stops better than the truck alone. There are some inconveniences in towing 30 plus feet of trailer around, but the truck and trailer go a lot farther on a gallon of fuel than the boat does, and the pleasure of having a boat that will handle bigger water never goes away.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:25 PM
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Kerno, did all those boats have narrow enough beams or did you need wide load permits?
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:55 PM
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In theory, I did. The only state I worried about was California, so I bought the annual permit there. But for the rest of the states, I just hooked it up and headed out. That probably violated many laws, but the only thing the permits do is to give the various states more revenue. It does not change the width of the load or widen the lanes. In six coast to coast trips with boats up to 11 feet wide, I have never been stopped or questioned about width.

Why only California? Because California is very revenue driven. Trucks are limited to 55 mph and the California Highway Patrol makes piles of money by writing them tickets. If it was truly a safety issue, the Arizona side of I-10 would be littered with flaming truck wrecks and body parts where the limit for trucks on the very same highway chages to 70 mph.
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:05 AM
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FYI...I used to buy to re-sell express cruisers. I hauled a number of 10-11 ft beam boats from FL to VA and Cleveland to VA without ever getting permits.....just drive as responsible as you can considering the load your hauling.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:23 AM
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not to derail the thread but does anyone know if Florida has yearly permits for over size loads? I May be bringing my 31 contender back to florida in a year of so.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:54 AM
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Florida does sell the permits and they are not expensive. If you are bringing a trailer into Florida to be registered there I believe it must have brakes on all the axles.
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by kerno View Post
Florida does sell the permits and they are not expensive. If you are bringing a trailer into Florida to be registered there I believe it must have brakes on all the axles.

For these big boats.....it SHOULD have brakes on all axles!!
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:30 PM
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I tow a 27 Whaler....not bad, my biggest concern is the height since there is a radar dish up there.
I use a 3500 single rear wheel diesel with an exhaust brake- make it very comfortable.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:15 PM
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I sometimes tow 29ft LOA express with 2nd station, after few trips you get the routine down, and now I can do it easily, as well as solo launch/retrieve. NEVER rush when towing, launching or loading....you WILL forget to install drain plug, trim up the motor(s), lock the tongue pin, etc.....NEVER RUSH
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:04 AM
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"drive with your "eyes" well ahead to plan"

Best advice yet!
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:22 AM
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It does takes a learning curve. It will become more easily as you rack up experience.

You got a lot of good advice already. Let me add. Always take the widest turns allowed and always use a spotter for tight space manuvers. A 2-way radio or cell phone on speakers helps alot.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:56 PM
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Thanks for all the advise, UaVaj, I'm currently towing the 24 wac Baha Cruiser, looks like a nice one you have there. The boats been great to me.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:27 AM
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Default Practice & Patience are key

I tow a 34ft twin outboard Pursuit between ATL and whatever destination I'm headed. She's 13K lbs loaded with everything and I have her on a triple axle Myco trailer. As several others have said, keep looking well down the road, watch for potentially challenging situations and plan ahead. I always tow less than 75mph and keep an eye in your mirrors because problems can come from behind as easy as in front. The biggest impact you can have is practice and stay patient.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:23 AM
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here's a picture of my rig hooked up and ready to roll. 1 ton dually with duramax diesel and 6 speed allison tranny. boat is a Pursuit Drummond Island.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by kmo View Post
As several others have said, keep looking well down the road, watch for potentially challenging situations and plan ahead. I always tow less than 75mph and keep an eye in your mirrors because problems can come from behind as easy as in front. The biggest impact you can have is practice and stay patient.
Let me further clarify this point since it can sometimes be confusing. I use to tow with a V10 and could feel the heat from behind. Now with the diesel - I do not have that heat anymore (the improve mileage was an added bonus).

When you are towing. It is easy to control what is coming up ahead because it is always in plain view. As for the rear. Not everything is in plain view. In fact 80% is blind.

If you are unable to keep up with traffic easily. The effect of being unable to keep up with traffic is: [1] a lot of unneccessary lane changes from car in overtaking you, [2] the increase risk of one of those cars rear ending you (that is the reason why there is minimum speed on highways), [3] it makes it much harder to change lane because of constant overtaking.



In a nutshell. You need good brakes for handling what is in front of you. You need sufficent engine for handling what is behind you. Most important of all. You need good chasis to handle the load. (this is the aspect that most private hauler miss - yet it is the most important)
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