Are you planning a camping getaway? Then you sure are wondering if you could tow your boat behind your travel trailer, aren’t you? Towing can be a pretty tricky task, even if you’re a skilled driver.
And with all the legalities and safety issues involved, beginners will definitely have a difficult time navigating through the process. Luckily, you’re at the right place!
Read on to find out if or not you can pull a boat behind a travel trailer, in which states it is legalized, and other information on towing a boat behind a travel trailer, including some safety tips.
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What Is Double Towing / Triple Towing?
Double towing, or in most states referred to as triple towing, is towing two trailers behind the vehicle you’re driving. Commercial truckers use the terms ‘double towing’ or ‘hauling double’, whereas RVers call the same process ‘triple towing’.
Is It Legal To Pull A Boat Behind A Travel Trailer?
The answer is yes and no. In some states, triple towing is not legal in the US. On the other hand, many other states allow triple towing but with some limitations and safety regulations.
For instance, some states require the total length of your convey to be under a certain limit. In Nebraska and Arizona, the total length must be under 65 ft, whereas in Illinois, the convey must not be longer than 60 ft.
Likewise, you may also need to educate yourself on the speed limit for the triple towed vehicle in the state. Also, some states require you to install safety chains and brakes if your load is over 3000 pounds.
Furthermore, in some states, including Illinois, at least one towed vehicle must be a 5th wheel trailer.
For your convenience, we’ve listed the names of the states where triple towing are legalized and where it is not legal below.
Triple towing is legal in the following states:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Triple-towing is illegal in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Remember that this data is valid as of February 2022. So, we recommend you check whether or not triple towing is legalized in your state and what are the rules and limitations before you plan on pulling your boat behind a travel trailer.
Tips For Pulling A Boat Behind A Travel Trailer
While triple towing is generally considered safe, there are some safety tips for you to make your journey safer. Read on to find out 4 tips for pulling a boat behind a travel trailer.
1. Educate yourself on the legalities:
We’ve discussed above how triple towing is only legal in certain states. Therefore, always know what the legal status in your state is like. Also, learn about the weight and length limit on triple towing in your state.
2. Install a rearview camera:
Trust us; this tip is a gem. It is a must to install a rearview camera to see what’s going on behind the towed trailers. It will help you be on the lookout for other vehicles approaching from the rear end.
3. Check your vehicle’s weight limit:
You need to ensure that the weight of your trailer, boat, and haul isn’t too heavy for your vehicle to tow.
Your vehicle tow capacity is Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) minus the vehicle curb weight. Manufacturers assess various parameters of the vehicle following the SAE International test in order to determine the GCWR of the vehicle.
Experts recommend that you only tow 80% of your vehicle’s towing capacity as a heavy load can cause your vehicle to go out of control. For instance, if the total towing capacity of your vehicle is 1000 pounds, only consider towing 800 pounds.
4. Rest your convey frequently:
It is totally understandable that you’d want to reach your destination sooner. Nevertheless, taking frequent brakes when triple towing is imperative. It allows you to check your trailer hitch for looseness and wheels for low air pressure.
5. Keep your distance:
Due to the heavy load, the boat trailer might propel forward whenever you apply brakes, thus, increasing your stopping distance.
However, you can always opt for a trailer brake controller, which sends an electric signal to your towed trailer to stop as soon as your vehicle stops.
Also, when your convey is long, you cannot keep track of everything going around. Therefore, always keep a distance from other vehicles during the ride.
6. Consider insuring your vehicle:
Despite your skillset, sometimes unfortunate incidents happen.
God forbid, but if anything would happen to your vehicle on the road, insuring it beforehand would definitely be a prudent decision.
7. Let professionals install the tow hitch:
It is only human to try to cut corners by doing the handyman job yourself. However, installing a trailer hitch is not something you’d want to risk doing yourself, as even minor welding issues can lead to major accidents. Therefore, make sure you get your hitch installed accurately by a professional.
8. Practice if you’re new to triple towing:
No matter how skilled you are, pulling a boat behind your travel trailer is a tricky job. Especially, taking turns and turning lanes is difficult during triple towing. So, locate a nearby empty space and practice taking turns as much as possible such that you feel comfortable during the actual travel.
9. Check the weather before a long triple towing journey:
Handling your vehicle, trailer, and boat during harsh stormy, windy, rainy, or snowy weather can be not only stressful but also dangerous. So, always ensure you check the weather before leaving.
However, if, unfortunately, you found yourself being caught in the middle of bad weather in a triple towing scenario, slow down your vehicle and try to avoid unnecessary turns and lane changes.
How To Pull A Boat Behind Travel Trailer?
All this research on pulling a boat behind a travel trailer hints towards your interest and plan on triple towing. Well, in that case, let us provide you with a brief overview of how to pull a boat behind a travel trailer.
Here are the supplies you’ll need for a successful triple tow.
- Trailer tire temperature and pressure sensors
- Tow packages for the trailer and the boat
- A rearview camera
- Safety chains
- Safety Reflective strips
- Special trailer brakes (optional but recommended)
- Trailer brake controller (optional but recommended)
Once you’ve installed all the equipment and tied all three parts together, start by performing safety checks.
Check if the brakes are working and maintained. Tire pressure checking is also of utmost priority. Map your route and consider only driving on highways as smaller roads might not be able to meet up to triple towing requirements. Drive safely and with extreme caution.
Do You Need Special License To Pull A Boat Behind A Travel Trailer?
This again depends upon your state’s rules and regulations. Whether you’re a commercial or a recreational tower also matters in many states. They require you to have a license for commercial towing, while they don’t require one for recreational towers.
On the other hand, while pulling a boat behind a travel trailer in Michigan is legal, it requires you to own a license for both recreational and commercial towers.
In contrast, you can simply opt for endorsement on your existing license to triple tow legally in many states.
Can You Tow Too Big Boat Behind An Rv?
How big of a boat you can tow behind your vehicle depends upon your vehicle’s GCVWR and hitch rafting. Your tow hitch should be powerful enough to handle the entire combined load.
If you’re wondering which hitch would be best for your vehicle, the five types of hitch classes and their weight limit are in the table below.
|Hitch Class||Towing Capacity|
|Class I||2000 pounds|
|Class II||3500 pounds|
|Class III||6000 pounds|
|Class IV||10000 pounds|
|Class V||12000 pounds|
We hope we have provided you with all the information you need to figure out the triple towing in this post. In a nutshell, check the rules and regulations in your state regarding pulling a boat behind a travel trailer, and take safety precautions meticulously.
Furthermore, triple towing can cost you plenty of fuel and, as we’ve discussed before, is quite a hassle. So, our final tip to you would be to at least weigh the option of renting a boat for a few days if possible.
1 thought on “Can You Pull A Boat Behind A Travel Trailer? (State by State Law)”
I am trying to find out if these rules also apply to a bumper pull camper ?