How to Tie a Boat to a Trailer

Written by will charpentier
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How to Tie a Boat to a Trailer
Tie-downs help ensure your boat makes it to the water. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If your boat just sat in your driveway, boating wouldn't be any fun. You have to get the boat to the water, and that's why trailers were invented. When you mix a trailer, a bumpy road and an improperly tied down boat, though, you begin to realise why it's important to tie a boat to its trailer. Properly tied to the trailer, your boat will take to the road for many years.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Long stern tie-down strap
  • 2 bow/stern tie-down straps

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  1. 1

    Hook one end of a tie-down strap to the trailer frame on the boat's port (left) side, near the rear of the boat. Pass the strap over the boat's transom and hook the other end to the trailer frame on the boat's starboard (right) side. Always take the slack out of the strap first and tighten the ratchet on the strap until the strap is rigid.

  2. 2

    Clip a bow/stern tie-down strap to one of the metal eyes on the outside rear of the transom and to the trailer frame. Operate the ratchet until the strap is rigid.

  3. 3

    Attach one clip of a bow/stern tie-down strap to the bow eye, where the trailer winch cable is connected to the front of the boat, and the other clip to the trailer frame. Tighten the ratchet until the strap is rigid.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't forget to tie down the gear inside your boat as well. Bumps on the road may throw things around, causing damage as well as making a mess.
  • The proper length of the tie-down strap for the transom or across the stern of the boat is the height of the stern or transom, times two, plus the width of the boat.
  • Ratchet straps have weight and tension limits and are rated accordingly.
  • As Don Casey, one of the boating experts for the Boat Owners Association of the United States says in his article on tiedowns that, "Tie-downs must not cross sharp edges -- any force will cut the strap."

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