Boat trailering issues for wannabe RV'er

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Questor

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Mar 31, 2006
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7
As I contemplate geezerhood RVs are looking more and more attractive. The problem is that I'd want to be able to have a boat along for fishing. Nothing fancy, but a 14 foot aluminum boat with an outboard engine would be a practical minimum.

Have you used an RV to tow a boat? How have you made it work for you? It seems that I'd be constrained to using a Class C RV because it would give me mobility to go shopping when necessary and still be not too cumbersome at boat launches.

Any ideas will be welcome. Thanks in advance.

The key tension here is that I'd want an RV that's roomy enough to live in while still having a boat to fish with and not needing to have a car along for mobility. Basically, the plan is to live in campgrounds and on public lands at least four or five months per year. These are not weekend excursions. Location can be anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to the Rockies to the Keys.

As you can tell, I'm just beginning to plan this.

 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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Hi Questor,

We towed a 20 foot cuddy cabin boat behind a 30 foot class A motorhome for quite a few years. I'd recommend a class A over a class C because I think it would provide better visibility when reversing down boat ramps. But a 14 foot aluminum boat could be towed behind most motorized RVs with no problem.
 

Questor

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Mar 31, 2006
Posts
7
Thank you Tom! This is exactly the kind of feedback I need. I am operating only on preconceived notions right now. I ordered some RV books and will probably rent something within the next six months.  It's great to have a forum like this where I can ask experienced people!

I may as well ask another question: I'm pretty convinced that I will want diesel because of mountain travel. I know it's a lot more expensive for diesel power, but it just seems like the smart thing. Any opinions will be appreciated.

 

Tom

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The issue of gas or diesel could be debated for a long time. Our prior 30 foot class A was gas powered and had sufficient power for our use all through California with occasional trips to Oregon and Arizona. But it would be slow going over the high elevations.

What's important is to keep an eye on the respective weights of the RV and boat/trailer and the GVWR & GCWR ratings of the RV. Assuming that the combined weight of the RV, people, supplies, gas, water, etc is within the GVWR, your towing capacity will be:

GCWR - GVWR.

However, that doesn't tell you how much power you'll have to spare.

We're currently towing a Suburban (7,000 lbs) with a 38 foot diesel coach, but I wouldn't attempt to tow it with our old gas motorhome.
 

Tom

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On the gas vs diesel question, we have an article in our library that you might find interesting. Click the Library button above, select Newcomers need to know and click Gas or diesel?.
 

Questor

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Mar 31, 2006
Posts
7
Thanks! I'll check it out. Then I'll hit the books for a while and see what questions I have left.
 

King

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Jan 30, 2006
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354
Location
MA
I suggest a backup camera.  You can see when the trailer starts to veer of the desired path and correct for it.  With just your mirrors you won't see the trailer until it has reaches such an angle as to require pulling ahead.
 

Questor

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Mar 31, 2006
Posts
7
I posted this question on a fishing forum and someone recommended that having a ball hitch mounted to the front bumper helps enormously in launching and recovering boats with his class c motor home.
 

Tom

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Questor said:
someone recommended that having a ball hitch mounted to the front bumper helps enormously in launching and recovering boats

I occasionally see those, but few people use them. When you've learned to reverse the trailer down a boat ramp you won't consider that front hitch an alternative. The small amount of overhang from the front axle to the hitch would actually make it harder to control than the longer overhang behind the rear axle.

If you have the option, find a launch ramp where you can line the RV and trailer up in a straight line with the ramp before reversing and just keep it straight. With practice, you'll be able to reverse down more and more difficult ramps. I've never used a rear camera to launch a boat, but I suppose it would help. When I was trailering a boat regularly, I once reversed down a ramp that required me to almost jack knife the coach/trailer to make it from a levee to the ramp. I had an audience of folks on the levee watching and applauding. Several folks told me "we all bet you couldn't do that".
 

caltex

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Feb 14, 2005
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North Texas/Northern California
Tom, you reminded me of the first time I took my ski boat to the delta (1977).  I had to launch from the levee launch ramp.  As you know the levee was one car wide, and you had to jackknife at a 90 degree angle to get the boat on the ramp.  Coming from Texas where ramps were wide and straight, this was a real challenge. Fortunately I was using a pickup, not a motorhome like you were.
 

Tom

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Robert,

That one time I had to jack knife was at Eddo's Harbor. We'd gone there because our favorite Brannan Island State Park was full - holiday weekend and we didn't have reservations. Brannan Island has several decent launch ramps with plenty of room to line the coach and the boat up with the ramp.
 
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