Choosing a Vehicle to Haul Your Boat
One factor sometimes overlooked in the excitement of buying a new boat is how are you going to move it? It’s important you have a vehicle capable of safely moving your boat and trailer at highway speeds and also getting it into and out of the water at steep boat launches.
Hauling a boat with an inadequate vehicle can result in massive auto repair bills, damage to your new boat, or even accidents.
The power of an automobile is measured in horsepower (HP). A widely accepted rule of thumb for towing is that you should have at least one HP for every 25 lbs. you’re hauling.
A small fishing setup (16’ aluminum boat with trailer, motor, fuel, and accessories) can weigh in at over 3000 lbs., so you’d want a minimum of 120 HP available. Technically, you could haul this setup with most compact cars, though it could cause significant wear and tear on your struggling vehicle.
A larger bass boat or modest saltwater craft can be over 4500 lbs. trailered, which would require at least 180 HP. Many light-duty pickups and passenger SUVs can handle such a load, though it goes without saying that an overpowered vehicle is preferable to an under-powered one for towing.
Beyond sheer horsepower, also consider how many cylinders your engine has. A V6 will vastly outperform a four-cylinder engine in all towing applications due to the difference in available torque (and a V8 will likewise outperform a V6).
Diesel engines are also highly regarded by boaters with heavy setups.
What Else to Look For
- 4WD or AWD. Having all four wheels engaged can be crucial for navigating back roads or negotiating a slippery boat launch.
- Tires. Your tires are the only thing between your new investment and the highway flying by at 60 MPH. Get quality tires for both your vehicle and trailer and inspect them regularly.
- Trailer Hitch. A trailer hitch and wiring harness can be installed on basically any vehicle, but if a truck comes with a quality towing package pre-installed, that’s a good sign it was designed with hauling loads in mind.
If you’re all geared up for towing and ready to hit the open water, check out Rogue Jet Boatworks’ full line of aluminum boats with state-of-the-art Guardian trailers.