Getting more traction at the boat ramp

Pangaroo

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Jan 15, 2021
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Anyone use traction mats or tire chains at the boat ramp ? My car is front wheel drive and can tow 3500 pounds. I plan on towing about 2200 pounds. Years ago I towed a 24 foot homemade Wood Boat , a 115 Evinrude and a tandem trailer with a 1973 Ford LTD that had rear wheel drive. It probably weighed 2500-2800 pounds . Me and my family would trailer it up to Lake George in the summer, the car was loaded with 5 people , camping gear, luggage , fishing rods, gas and that car pulled us up there no problem. All we installed was a transmission cooler and it worked out great. Many times the rear wheels were in slime near the waters edge and still it pulled the boat out every time. Launched at Point lookout many times, pretty steep at low tide. I never had any trouble pulling the boat out anywhere and I trailered all over LI . Makes you wonder if you really need a Pickup to tow things less than 3500 pounds. I know you need a Pickup to tow heavy boats, campers, but I keep hearing people say I need a Pickup to tow 2200 pounds , I wouldn't have the pulling power. I remember the trips up to Lake George with a heavy load and say most people don't know what they're talking about. I have a Minivan , I've seen Minivans tow big campers up into the mountains, tow 5000 pound boats in Canada that has different towing laws. I removed the seats in my van and it's about 400 pounds lighter and maybe I'll use a traction mat if the wheel starts to slip . I doubt I'll have to use them.
 
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Avenger

Well-Known Angler
Can't say I've done a lot of trailering with a FWD, but towing capacity is in the owners manual or you can look it up online. Follow the mfg recommendations and you'll do fine. Trailer configuration is probably not in the owner's manual, but aside from making sure your trailer is proper for the job and functioning correctly, tongue weight is probably the biggest concern with towing and traction.

Actually weigh it. Don't guess.
 
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longcast

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Can't say I've done a lot of trailering with a FWD, but towing capacity is in the owners manual or you can look it up online. Follow the mfg recommendations and you'll do fine. Trailer configuration is probably not in the owner's manual, but aside from making sure your trailer is proper for the job and functioning correctly, tongue weight is probably the biggest concern with towing and traction.

Actually weigh it. Don't guess.
Some very good advise there!!
 

Chinacat

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Dec 20, 2018
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I'm not 100% certain but i'm guessing the vehicle manufacturers rated towing weight is based on flat/dry surfaces and not necessarily a steep slippery ramp?
I think with the Weights and info you've given you'll be fine at high tide but may have issues on a steep slippery ramp at low tide.
 
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Chinacat

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As an FYI I tow with a Grand Cherokee that's rated for over 6000lbs. It has full time automatic 4 wheel drive plus I can put in 4WD LOW on demand.
My boat/motor with a full tank of fuel is likely 4500 lbs plus the trailer weight
I keep it in the water and tow locally for fuel fill up, in and out of water beginning/end of season, and any mid season hauls for repairs, maintenance, storms etc.
As such, I can easily plan my launches and retrievals around high tides to avoid the steepest part of the ramp and having all 4 of the vehicle tires on a part of the ramp that's under water at high tide and therefore slimy and slippery. It doesn't always happen though and often the rear tires are on that part of the ramp spends half its time underwater.
I always drop it into 4WD LOW when I'm at the ramp.

Personally I wouldn't attempt a launch or retrieval with a vehicle that I even thought I needed mats or or other traction apparatus on a ramp that was anything other than pretty fairly flat and unsteep
 

Pangaroo

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Jan 15, 2021
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I launched my 25 Foot Panga Boat the other day with my Kia Sedona Minivan and pulled it out of the water very easily. Didn't have to gun the Engine either and the ramp was pretty steep. I've been waiting for this Boat since January and every day I worried I wouldn't have the power to pull it out of the water .Listened to the Experts( ?) too much who knew nothing. The Boat, Motor and Single Axle aluminum trailer weighs about 2300 pounds. From now on I won't be overly concerned with the weight anymore. Pleasantly surprised ! I knew I'd have no trouble because years ago I towed a 2500 pound Boat rig( 25 feet Long ) with a 1973 Ford LTD Sedan and never had trouble pulling the Boat out once and I launched all over LI and many times at TOH in Point Lookout where the ramp is like a mountain at low tide. We even towed the Boat Rig up to Lake George with 5 people inside, Luggage , full tank of Gas and never any trouble . Auto companies wanna sell the Biggest Most powerful vehicles they can and make a lot of money.You listen to some people and you think you couldn't tow anything without a Truck/4 wheel drive. A lot of people fall for that BS about towing . I have Trailer Brakes, the Transmission Cooler and Air Bags that raise the suspension in the rear. Tows the Boat really well.
Beautiful Boat for $13,500. Best kept secret in Boating.
 
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Chinacat

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Glad it worked for you. Thats great
But to make a s proclamation that having a strong towing vehicle is not needed is way off base. Pulling a light weight 2100 lb rig with a light weight vehicle may get you by.
Whats gonna happen on a rainy day when its all slippery or when theres seaweed or other crap on the ramp???? Not every trip to the ramp is prime perfect conditions
I’ll stick to a stronger vehicle with 4WD👍
 

Pangaroo

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Jan 15, 2021
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The ramp was pretty wet .Guys were taking Boats out for Winter Storage throughout the day. Grooves in the pavement also. I'm not saying you don't need a Pickup to tow large Boats/ Campers . You do. But when I was buying my Boat one of the Boat Dealers said I wouldn't have the pulling power. I pulled it out with hardly any effort. All the worry for nothing. My 1973 Ford LTD had 36 less HP than my minivan does and LI ramps back in the 70's and 80's weren't as good as today and not once did I have trouble pulling out a 2500 pound Boat Rig.I remember the rear wheel drive wheels spinning in the slime and always the Boat came out. I'm sure the Front wheel Drive Minivan will have more traction on the drier part of the ramp. The new Boat Ramps have grooves in the pavement and that's good for people like me. I gave you the Thumbs up by accident.
 
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Pangaroo

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Minivans aint meant to tow boats their made to go shopping and bring kids to soccer lol
I tow my 25 Foot Boat , I roll my Lawn Tractor into the Back and it carries all my Hunting and Fishing Gear with plenty of room for passengers . I can sleep in the back on camping trips . Try rolling a Tractor into the back of a Pickup by yourself or sleeping in the back. I got more Cargo room than most Pickups and it's sheltered from the weather. I go upstate to my Cabin and almost every square inch of the Van is filled up with Gear/a tractor/ lawnmower etc. I look at the Pickup riding in front of me and know he couldn't get half the stuff in his truck that I got into my van. The Minivan does everything better than a pickup except towing large trailers. Great moving Van also.Love those sliding doors. I almost Bought the Chevy Colorado and went for the Minivan because it's a much better all around vehicle. Multi Purpose Vehicle. I buy a Vehicle I can use and not for my image. The soccor Mom vehicle is the Crossover SUV .
 
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Pangaroo

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The Only MiniVan on the Road today that looks Soccor Mom is the Honda Odyssey . The other Minivans look pretty cool. The new Kia Carnival looks like a Ford Explorer in many ways , it'll be awesome when they sell that vehicle with all wheel drive. and the Toyota Minivan Hybrid that gets up to 75 miles to the Gallon and can tow up to 3500 pounds. Unbelievable !
 
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Pangaroo

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I watched a Video on YouTube with a Minivan trying to pull out a Big Speedboat that weighed at least 7000 pounds. It had a Triple Axle Trailer , probably a full tank of fuel and a person standing in the back. If the minivan had a little more traction it would've pulled that Boat out of the water. I saw that video and knew right away I'd have no trouble at all pulling out 2300 pounds or even 3000 pounds.
 

Chinacat

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Dec 20, 2018
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The ramp was pretty wet .Guys were taking Boats out for Winter Storage throughout the day. Grooves in the pavement also. I'm not saying you don't need a Pickup to tow large Boats/ Campers . You do. But when I was buying my Boat one of the Boat Dealers said I wouldn't have the pulling power. I pulled it out with hardly any effort. All the worry for nothing. My 1973 Ford LTD had 36 less HP than my minivan does and LI ramps back in the 70's and 80's weren't as good as today and not once did I have trouble pulling out a 2500 pound Boat Rig.I remember the rear wheel drive wheels spinning in the slime and always the Boat came out. I'm sure the Front wheel Drive Minivan will have more traction on the drier part of the ramp. The new Boat Ramps have grooves in the pavement and that's good for people like me. I gave you the Thumbs up by accident.
I ain't gonna lose any sleep over whether you give me a thumbs up or down LOL 8-)
You started a thread looking for opinions, you got some.
Good luck to you, I hope it all works out for you.
Personally, even with a tow vehicle that's more than adequate to get my boat in and out of the water in variable ramp/weather conditions I still aim for high tide, avoid steep slippery ramps when possible, and take extra caution every time.
If you view having the rear wheels spinning in the slime and getting the boat out as an acceptable part of the process, there's nothing anybody can say that's going to change your opinion.
 

longcast

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Mar 7, 2019
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I ain't gonna lose any sleep over whether you give me a thumbs up or down LOL 8-)
You started a thread looking for opinions, you got some.
Good luck to you, I hope it all works out for you.
Personally, even with a tow vehicle that's more than adequate to get my boat in and out of the water in variable ramp/weather conditions I still aim for high tide, avoid steep slippery ramps when possible, and take extra caution every time.
If you view having the rear wheels spinning in the slime and getting the boat out as an acceptable part of the process, there's nothing anybody can say that's going to change your opinion.
Well said! To each their own.
 
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Pangaroo

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I ain't gonna lose any sleep over whether you give me a thumbs up or down LOL 8-)
You started a thread looking for opinions, you got some.
Good luck to you, I hope it all works out for you.
Personally, even with a tow vehicle that's more than adequate to get my boat in and out of the water in variable ramp/weather conditions I still aim for high tide, avoid steep slippery ramps when possible, and take extra caution every time.
If you view having the rear wheels spinning in the slime and getting the boat out as an acceptable part of the process, there's nothing anybody can say that's going to change your opinion.
I didn't mean it as an insult when I said I accidently gave you a thumbs up. It's just something i wouldn't give a thumbs up to. I'll pick and choose the ramps I launch at knowing I may have difficulty at some. The Town of Hempstead Ramp in Point lookout is a giant hillside at dead low tide and I doubt I'll ever launch there . Maybe a quick in and out at High Tide . I love the Ramps with Grooves in the pavement going side ways . That'll help with traction. I know my limitations, like Front Wheel Drives don't do good on gravel/rocky road ramps. Like picking and choosing good weather, I'll always do the same with Ramps. I either towed or been involved in towing boats for almost 43 years.
 
My 2019 Highlander AWD is rated for 5000 lbs towing, it has an 8 speed auto, has an oil and tranny cooler.
Would I use it to tow my 25 foot Aquasport, not a chance, that's what my 05 Tundra limited is for.
I have never towed a boat with a car/suv/van, I have always used a truck. I towed my 83 25 foot Hydra Sport cc with a 79 Bronco for 10 years, I wish I still had the Bronco, it put my Tundra to shame, I pulled my friends 34 foot Silverton out of the water using a homemade trailer at his yacht club, no one thought I could do it, but I did, that Bronco had balls.
 
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Pangaroo

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My 2019 Highlander AWD is rated for 5000 lbs towing, it has an 8 speed auto, has an oil and tranny cooler.
Would I use it to tow my 25 foot Aquasport, not a chance, that's what my 05 Tundra limited is for.
I have never towed a boat with a car/suv/van, I have always used a truck. I towed my 83 25 foot Hydra Sport cc with a 79 Bronco for 10 years, I wish I still had the Bronco, it put my Tundra to shame, I pulled my friends 34 foot Silverton out of the water using a homemade trailer at his yacht club, no one thought I could do it, but I did, that Bronco had balls.
I purposely bought a 25 Panga because it was lightweight , easily towed and super fuel efficient.60 HP will push it 20 knots plus and get 8-10 MPG. Perfect Boat for the Bays, inshore Montauk, Long Island Sound and 5 miles offshore or less. Probably 95 percent of the fishing I do . The only 25 I would ever tow with a Minivan. 915 pounds Bare Hull , the 25 Dorado is even lighter at 741 pounds !! sure beats a 16 Foot Rowboat . Foam Flotation all around, Unsinkable and will right itself if it ever Capsized. The Mako /Grady White of the 3rd world. I wouldn't even consider towing an Aquasport 25 with what I have now or any other heavy boat. I'm sure the minivan could easily pull out 3000 pounds going by what I experienced. Sure I'd love to have AWD like a 2019 Highlander, just glad I'm able to tow what I have. Gigantic Bow .
 
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