Winch Strap Size for a Boat Trailer (Guide) [Updated: 2023)

Don’t know Winch Strap Size for a Boat Trailer? Don’t worry we got you cover. In this blog post I guide you to select the perfect winch strap size for your boat trailer.

Winches that last forever would be inexpensive. They would be portable and lightweight. 

You would never have to worry about it straining your boat since it constantly runs cool. Unfortunately, no one has thought of making such a useful accessory. 

At best, the closest manufacturers have come to a compromise; the newest models, a perfect deal.

Therefore, using other criteria to determine what size winch strap for a boat trailer is most appropriate for your boat is needed. 

Also check: top boat winch strap & Top Boat trailer winch

Winch Strap Size for a Boat Trailer

The Capacity of the Winch

The weight capacity of the winches determines their rating, not the boat’s length. Make sure that what size winch strap for the boat fits the weight of your boat. 

A larger and heavier boat will have a long cable which requires a more powerful winch.

It would be best if you choose a winch whose capacity rating is at least 3/4th of your boat, motor, fuel, and gear combined. Several factors related to your boat and where you launch it affect this rule.

Typically, do you launch from steep ramps? What is the difference between carpeted wood bunks and rollers in your trailer? 

Thus, the load on the winch will be greater than if the boat were fully equipped, and you should choose a winch with a capacity closer to the boat’s actual weight. 

The less resistance you encounter when loading load on-ramps that are gently sloped or trailers equipped with rollers, the smaller the winch you want to use. 

Although the price difference between different winch sizes is negligible, you can choose a giant winch for almost the same price. 

On the bunks of your trailer, we recommend using Glyde Silks, EZ Slides, or similar anti-friction pads, which will keep your boat sliding more smoothly.

Installing a strong winch isn’t a problem when the current winch is inadequate because most trailers use standard bolt patterns for winch assemblies.

Winch With One or Two Speeds

When you pull a boat, how much resistance do you encounter? Lighter boats such as dinghies, inflatables, and catamarans may require a winch with a 3:1, 4:1, or 5:1 gear ratio. Two-speed winches are recommended for heavy-duty jobs. 

F2 Manual Winches from Fulton allow for fast pulling power with a gear ratio of 5 to 1 and a second low pull speed with a gear ratio of 16.2 to 1 for more significant mechanical advantages. 

The ratio of 5 to 1 means you must turn the handle five times for the drum to rotate once.

Alternatively, if the weight of your boat is beyond the capacity of a manual winch’s two speeds, look for electric winches with variable speeds and high gear ratios (the Powerwinch RC30, for instance, has a ratio of 450:1).

Power-Outage-Capable winches

When launching a large and heavy boat, you need more control, especially on a steep ramp. Electric winches with “power out” are an option. 

An improved winch with this feature allows you to control your descent instead of allowing gravity to take over. The TRAC winch works in this manner. 

With the clutch tightened, the boat can be powered out or free-spooled by loosening the clutch. Model 915 (part number 77915) from Powerwinch has power-in/power-out capabilities.

For emergency retrieval in case of electrical or mechanical failure, electric winches generally have a simple hand crank.

The cables, Ropes, or Straps

Because electric winches can handle heavier loads, steel cables are most common. 

A level-wind cable winch prevents cable snarls using a winding mechanism similar to a fishing reel. 

Pulley blocks can also be added to cables-based winches, nearly doubling their lift capacity and reducing their travel speeds by half. 

The ropes or straps used in smaller manual winches designed for lighter boats are polypropylene (Your car’s seat belts are made of this material).


Hope you learned Winch Strap Size for a Boat Trailer in this article.

When loading your boat on the trailer, the strap needs to be at least as long as the distance from the winch mount on the trailer to the end of the bunks. I would go with a strap that’s about that length.

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As an avid off-road enthusiast, I know firsthand the importance of having a reliable winch. That's why I created WinchAdvice – to help fellow off-roaders like myself make informed decisions when selecting their next winch. So whether you're an experienced pro or a beginner just starting out, my website offers valuable advice and guidance on all things winching.

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