Can an RV Tow a Boat?

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Are you thinking of towing your boat with your motorcoach or 5th wheels but aren’t sure if you can?

Yes, an RV can tow a boat. safely if you follow some basic common sense guidelines. A Class A motorhome can tow a boat trailer, this type of towing is called a double-tow. A fifth-wheel can also tow a boat trailer and in this case, it is referred to as a triple-tow.

The double-tow configuration is a lot easier for the RV driver to operate than the triple-tow. The triple-tow setup is not for the faint of heart.

If an RV owner wants to undertake a triple-tow it will require the driver to have significant RV driving experience and the set-up needs to be done properly. To be on the safe side you would probably want to over-engineer everything.

A triple-tow is a very serious undertaking and if you can’t take it seriously, are fully aware of the challenges involved than it might be better not to do it at all.

Rule and Regulations

States have varying rules for double-towing and triple-towing. Not only that but the rules are constantly changing. Your best course of action to stay on the right side of the law is to check with each states’ Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you will be traveling through. Inquire about the latest regulations and ask them any questions you may have.

Towing a boat with a Class A. Photo via iRV2 member FreshAir

7 Tip for towing a boat with an RV

  1. Know and verify towing capacity – Ensure your Class A motorcoach or fifth-wheel towing vehicle has sufficient capacity for pulling a boat. Make sure your hitch can handle the load. Now would be a good time to grease your travel trailer bearing. I wrote this article on the best travel trailer bearing grease you can check out.
  2. Make sure you are properly insured – How well do you know your insurance policy. Before embarking on your trip is the time to find out if you are properly covered for collisions and even personal liability. If an accident happens you want to make sure you have adequate insurance.
  3. Plan wide turns – When making turns you will need to have enough clearance for your RV and boat if double-towing to for your tow vehicle, fifth-wheel and boat trailer when triple-towing. Avoid small radius turns since it is possible your boat may rub up against the corners of your RV. You don’t want that to happen.
  4. Leave room for braking – Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. You are going to need plenty of room to stop. You don’t want to have to panic stop since it is dangerous and you might quickly lose control of your vehicles and trailers.
  5. Ensure a clear rearview – Being able to see your boat behind you, as well as traffic behind you, is important. Often times your side mirrors are not enough to get a clear rearview. You might want to consider a wireless rearview cam such as this one on Amazon.
  6. Inspect Frequently – Inspecting your tow set-up is needed not just before you start your trip and also along the way. We recommend a thorough walk-around inspection before getting on the road. Then at the first rest-stop or about an hour into your trip stop and inspect again. Fix any issues with hitches, tires, boat covers, etc. Continue inspections throughout your trip to avoid any issues before they happen.
  7. Practice getting your boat in the water – It takes practice getting your boat in the water, especially if it’s behind your RV. Find a local lake boat ramp and practice getting your boat in and out of the water. Back up slowly and if possible have someone standing outside helping guide you. To better hear your helper’s instructions keep your windows open and your sound system off.

Summary

Towing a boat with your RV can be done. Extra care has to be taking in order for your ride to be successful. Keep in mind your boat will be subjected to different wind stresses than your RV or fifth-wheel. Make sure you have secured everything on the boat properly. You don’t want your boat cushion somewhere on the highway. Be careful at gas stations and parking lots. Take your time driving to your destination and inspect your set-up frequently while on the road.

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