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Boat Trailers and Weight Support

silverado towing boat with helper springs

Whether you fish, participate in water sports, prefer not to travel by land or just like to spend time with your friends and family on a boat, at some point in time you will need to tow. You may tow back and forth to the water for every outing, or just twice a year. Either way it is good to know how to tow your boat safely. The most important factor in towing a boat safely is making sure your truck or SUV can handle the load. Boats, trailers, luggage, gear and people all add weight to the truck. If the added weight is too heavy you can become a danger to you, your passengers and everyone else on the road.

What Do They Weigh?

We have compiled a list of the most searched for boats in the US and how much they weigh, as well as how much a trailer to tow those boats may weigh:

What Can You Handle?

Here is a list of 10 popular trucks used for towing and their towing capacity. Many of these are SUVs because these can be convenient for boaters that use their tow vehicle as a daily driver:

Boat Weights Dry Weight Boat Length Approximate Trailer Weight (EZ-Loader Adjustable Bunk Trailer) Gross Weight Boat and Trailer
Bayliner 285 Sunbridge 8056 28'7" 2455 10511
Formula 290 FX4 8950 29' 2455 11405
Bayliner 245 Cruiser 5460 25'7" 1913 7373
Bayliner 160 OB BR 1289 16'2" 352 1641
MasterCraft 300 12500 30' 4250 16750
World Cat 320 CC 9200 32'2" 4250 13450
Chris-Craft Silver Bullet 20 2913 20'2" 714 3627
Yamaha 242 Limited S 3519 23'6" 1108 4627
10 Popular Trucks Used for Towing Tow Rating
Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 12,000
Ford F150 11,300
Chevrolet Tahoe 8,500
Ford Explorer 5,000
Dodge Ram 1500 10,450
Dodge Durango 7,200
Ford Expedition 8,900
Lincoln Navigator 8,700
Toyota Tundra 10,000
Honda Pilot 4,500

Taking a look at the gross weight of a boat and trailer as well as the maximum tow rating of common vehicles you can see that you can quickly approach your tow rate without realizing it. These numbers do not include the weight of any gear or people so you will need to factor that in when calculating your total weight to make sure you are still safe. For some of the larger boats you will need to get a Full sized pickup but for many popular boats a half ton pickup or SUV will be okay.

Once you have concluded that your tow weight is safe, you have to ensure that your vehicle stays level while towing. If the added weight tends to sag the rear of the vehicle towing will become unsafe. Not only does this cause strain on the spring leading to premature wear, it will also cause the front to point up a bit reducing traction in the front tires, and may lead to sway and loss in stability and control.

What To Do?

In order to correct a sagging issue, or even just protect your springs from wear you will need to add load support. Most load support options are simple to install and will allow you to tow additional weight and remain level. Load support also takes some strain off of your springs and helps them to last longer. Load support is safe to use on daily drivers, many support options automatically adjust to the load placed on the vehicle, leaving your unloaded ride unaffected.

Air Bag Helper Springs

Suspension air bags are a popular option for boaters because they offer load level capacity and adjust-ability to the load. With the option on an on board compressor and auto level system you have the ability to hook up and go without having to manually air your bags for the best ride.

Timbren Kits

Timbren S.E.S. is another great option for additional level load capacity. Easy Bolt on installation makes Timbren great for those of us who are, let’s say, mechanically declined. This kit offers the ability to have an unaffected unloaded ride. This progressive spring mounts only to the frame and is designed to contact the axel once the vehicle is loaded helping to keep your vehicle level while helping to reduce sway.

Helper Springs

Helper springs – whether it is Hellwig Helper Springs or Super Springs, these steel springs give you added support. Another item with easy installation! Helper springs will give you additional load level support up to 3,500 lbs. with the ease of bolting them directly atop your leaf springs. These are great for small boats and cargo applications.

Sway Bars

Sway Bars – Adding a sway bar to your vehicle will help eliminate sway that occurs naturally from driving. With the added benefit of improved handling and cornering this item will make towing your watercraft seem like a day at the beach.

Other items to aid in towing safety and ride comfort are upgraded shocks and HD Hitch Receivers. If you’re driving your boat back and forth to the water on a weekly basis, or only in the beginning and end of summer you must make sure you are doing this safely. Make sure your vehicle is not overloaded and is equipped with the proper load support. Never overlook added weight of people or luggage as this can put you, your family and your boat in danger.

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