boat trailer winch

Choosing the Right Boat Trailer Winch: The Ultimate Guide

Boating is a great way to spend time with your loved ones, whether you’re out fishing, going swimming, or teaching your kids how to water ski. Around 100 million people enjoy going out on boats each year. Owning a sea vessel makes it easy to hit the water anytime you want. 

A boat trailer winch is an essential tool that all boat owners need. There are several types of boat trailer winches available for purchase. It’s important to know what each type does so you get the best one for your needs. 

This blog will discuss the basic information you should know about winches. Save yourself a lot of hard work by investing in a boat winch. 

What’s a Boat Trailer Winch?

Boat trailer winches aren’t designed to keep the boat in place on its trailer. Winches are designed to help you load and unload boats onto the trailer. 

Boat winches get mounted to a dedicated stand that’s attached to one of the following locations:

  • Trailer tongue
  • Bow stop support
  • Trailer’s hitch ball

A spool or reel holds around 20 to 50 feet of webbing, robe, or cable. It comes equipped with a snap on the end. 

The snap gets clipped onto the boat’s bow eye. The person operating the winch can choose to let the boat slide into the water at a controlled rate. They can also crank the boat onto the trailer using a winch. 

What Weight Capacity Should I Buy?

Boat trailer winches get rated according to their weight capacity. You don’t pick the right winch based on how long your boat is. You should consider the weight of the following things when determining what winch to get:

  • Equipment
  • Motor
  • Boat
  • Fuel

Heavier boats need to have more powerful winches that have longer cables. The best way to calculate the winch capacity you need is to divide the total weight of your load by two. If you’re going to be working with a steep boat incline or in shallow water, you’ll want to divide it by 1.5. 

For example, if your total load weight is 2,800 pounds, you’ll want to get a boat trailer winch that has a weight capacity of at least 1,400 pounds. You may want one that has a capacity of 1,900 pounds if you’re going to be launching off a steep ramp. 

What Are the Kinds of Boat Trailer Winches?

There are two main types of winches – electric and manual. Manual winches rely on your muscles to operate. An electric winch typically gets powered by a 12-volt power supply in your truck. 

The type of boat trailer winch you pick depends on how heavy of a load you’re carrying. 

Electric Winch

As we mentioned, an electric winch is powered by your vehicle. You want to ensure that your vehicle’s electrical and battery systems are strong enough to power the winch. 

Most electric winches use an electric motor to bring the boat out of the water. They utilize gravity to lower the boat into the water. It’s not necessary to use the motor to release the boat. 

Electric winches tend to be more expensive than manual ones. Some of the advantages of choosing this kind of winch include:

  • Pulling your boat out at a faster rate
  • Pulling power that’s more than a manual winch
  • Doesn’t require any physical labor on the operator’s part

Manual Winch 

You’ll use a manual winch to manually lift and lower your boat. They’re comprised of a hand-cranking mechanism or handle that the operate cranks. The crank rotates which keeps the spool or line taut. 

The line gets stored on the drum as it gets pulled. The ratchet stops the winch from slipping if the operator lets go of the crank. Some advanced winches may have a gearbox that enables you to winch at different weights and speeds. 

Some of the benefits of opting for a manual heavy-duty winch include:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Easy to work with
  • Portable
  • Lightweight 

What Kind of Winch Strap Do I Need?

Many small manual winches require a winch strap made from nylon or polypropylene rope. You might want to opt for polyester straps for heavier boats since they won’t scratch their bow. 

Other things you should consider when figuring out what type of winch strap to purchase include:

  • Your winch’s working load capacity
  • The strength rating of the strap 
  • If the strap and winch are rated for your boat’s weight 

Do I Need a Single or Two-Speed Winch?

The cranking resistance you need when using a winch depends on how heavy the boat is. For example, catamarans and other small vessels might require a single-speed winch. A two-speed winch is a better choice for heavier boats. 

How Do I Take Care of My Winch?

You need to stay on top of your winch’s maintenance. Luckily, these trailer accessories are easy to take care of. You can have your boat trailer winch serviced each year or you can inspect it yourself. 

Your boat trailer winch might need to get serviced more often if it gets exposed to saltwater. Saltwater can cause the winch to rust and cause it to seize. Rinse your boat and winch off with fresh water if you take it into the water often. 

Extend your winch’s strap and let it dry if it gets wet. It can become corroded if it’s left wrapped around the drum while wet. You can use this time to look for signs of fraying and wear. 

You can keep your winch lubricated with grease to prevent it from accumulating rust. 

Trust in Owens & Son for Your Boat Trailer Needs

Whether you need to purchase a boat trailer winch for a new boat or replace an outdated one, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. There are many things to consider when exploring boat trailer winches. Working with an experienced company can help make that process easier. 

Owens & Son has been providing custom boat trailers, parts, and winches for 39 years. Our staff looks forward to assisting you with selecting a boat trailer winch. Contact us to learn more about the parts we have in stock

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