Towing pontoon boats a long distance is not for the faint of heart. It’s a big job that requires careful planning and execution. In this boating resource guide, we give you a few things that you’ll need to do to help make the process easier and ensure a safe trip for all.
Distance is not a deterrent when it comes to towing pontoon boats. In fact, many families take their pontoon boats on long trips and vacations.
It’s a big job that requires careful planning and execution. But if you’re up for the challenge, it can be a great way of towing pontoon boats a long distance.
What Vehicle Can Pull a Pontoon Boat?
Towing a pontoon boat a long distance requires extra care and preparation. It will put an extra strain on your vehicle and may require additional safety equipment.
A vehicle that is capable of towing will have a tow rating that is equal to or greater than the weight of the boat.
Here are some vehicles that can pull a pontoon:
- Full-size van
Keep reading as we give more tips on how to tow your pontoon boat!
What is the best way to tow a boat long distance?
Inspect Your Trailer and Vehicle
Before you hit the road with your pontoon boat trailer in tow, it’s important to make sure both your vehicle and trailer are in good condition.
Inspect your trailer for any damage that could cause problems on the road, such as loose wiring or broken lights.
Check the tires on both your vehicle and trailer to ensure they have enough tread and are properly inflated (use a tire pressure gauge).
Always remember to check the pounds per square inch (PSI) when you’re filling up your tires to make sure it has the correct pressure as recommended by your vehicle’s service manual.
You will also need to use the correct size and type of tire for your vehicle and trailer.
It’s also a good idea to test your brakes and signals to make sure they are working properly. Oh, and don’t forget the spare tire and jack just in case!
Make it a habit to always check your lights whether or not you are out to tow your boat. After all, it’s illegal to travel around with a busted or defective light.
As for your trailer’s tail lights, you run the risk of submerging the lights each time you launch your trailer backward into the water, which will reduce its lifespan.
Therefore, you always have to check if the tail lights of your trailer are working before a trip.
Be sure to use the proper size and type of trailer hitch, ball mount, and trailer ball. You may use chains or another securing method to lock your trailer in place.
Having a backup method in place will come in handy in case the initial securing method fails.
Inspect Your Pontoon Boat
Inspect the boat itself, checking for any loose hardware or damage that could cause problems while you’re on the road. Make sure you have good jacks and winches to help with loading and unloading the boat.
Be sure to read until the end to get a hold of our free boating checklist for a more thorough check-up.
Check Stowage and Weight Distribution
Towing can be dangerous if not done correctly. Weight distribution is important for towing because it evenly spreads the weight of the towed object across the tow vehicle. This prevents damage to the tow vehicle and makes towing safer.
Checking stowage is also important to make sure there is enough clearance between the towed object and other objects around it.
There are a few things you can do to check the stowage and weight distribution before towing:
- Look at the vehicle’s owner’s manual for information on weight limits and approved towing vehicles.
- Check the combined weight of your pontoon boat and trailer. If you’re going to use your pontoon boat as storage for other things, then you should weigh it along with those.
- Secure all your pontoon boat accessories. Small items like life jackets and towels can cause accidents on the road if they get dislodged and hit another vehicle.
- Check that all cargo and your pontoon boat are safely secured in place with boat ratchet straps and/or ropes.
- Verify that both vehicles are within the allowable weight limit.
Plan a Route
Make sure that you map out your route before you hit the road. Include rest stops and gas stations along the way, so that you don’t have to worry about finding them while you’re driving.
It’s also important to plan for windy sections of the road, which can affect your boat’s steering. If possible, try to travel during daylight hours. This will make it easier to spot any potential problems with the trailer or boat.
Don’t forget to take into account any boat ramps or other access points you’ll need to use along the way.
When everything is stowed away, it’s time to take a test drive.
You want to always use caution when driving around other vehicles. Make sure that your trailer has plenty of clearance from other cars and objects, especially if you are traveling at high speeds.
Review Your Insurance
Road towing insurance is included in some policies, but not all auto insurance policies cover damage to anything being towed.
Most of the time, you just need to add a little premium to get that coverage but it would be better to give your insurance agent a call to be sure of the terms.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure a safe and stress-free trip with your pontoon boat!
Pontoon Boat Accessories
Pontoon boats are a great way to have some outdoor family fun on the lake or a party with friends out on the open sea. Check out these practical must-have pontoon boat accessories to add to your boat for smooth sailing.
Download Your FREE Boating Pre-Departure Checklist
Recommended Boating Resources
- Recommended Pontoon Boat Accessories
- Best Boat Snacks– These are easy to make and yummy, too
- Pontoon Boating Safety Guide & Checklist
- DIY Pontoon Boat Storage Ideas
MORE RELATED RESOURCES
If you often hear the words ‘are we there yet?’ then you should definitely check out this road trip activity pack from PhotoJeepers that include printable road trip activities for kids.
If you’re already thinking of hauling your pontoon boat this weekend, you might be interested in bringing fun boat accessories that will have both kids and adults enjoy.