Boat width - You can tow 'em wide here

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by tom28571, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,474
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1728
    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    Yesterday, the North Carolina legislature overrode the governor's veto of a bill to allow towing boats up to 10' wide on NC roads. There are some restrictions but now both manufacturers and others will be able to tow the big and wide boats without special permits. Some predict a rash of accidents and some predict that there will be no change.

    The basic fact its that the width law has largely been ignored in almost all states for many years. Enforcement has been rare and erratic. It has mostly been an issue for sport fishermen on the coast who tow their big babies to tournaments and need to travel through several states to do it. Even though there has been little enforcement, they don't want the angst and can't afford the permits for their multi hundred thousand $ rigs. That last is tongue-in-cheek and I don't know how I really feel about this.

    On one hand, we allow mobile homes up to 16 feet wide to travel on the interstates and narrowest roads with some restrictions. On he other hand, some lanes are no more than 9 feet wide and both boat tow and oncoming traffic have to make allowances. We do allow farm rigs which are sometimes as wide as the whole road out there. I don't like to meet anyone with a wide tow rig not set up or driven properly and swaying side to side down the road.

  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 489, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Having just made an over size tow, to get a old IOR warhorse back to the shop, I can tell you, it's a pain in the *** to setup the permits, establish a route, etc., not to mention the money.

    I think if you're going to tow something big there's going to be 95% reasonable folks, that take care, dog everything down tight and have the equipment to do the deed. The remaining 5% will likely screw it up for everyone else, with attempts to drag uncle Jim-Bob's 50' x 16' house boat back to the barn, so they can add a sliding window and PT deck on the back, in the comfort of their yard. Of course they'll try to use a worn out, old mobile home frame as a trailer, under estimate the over the road height and mash the coach roof into an over pass, break an under sized axle, blow out an under rated tire or other possibly life threatening issue. The resulting traffic jam will unfortunately just happen to have the local state senator stuck in it, making him very late for a critical fund raiser or interlude with a cocktail waitress, so he'll push a new bill through the legislature to "address this important issue", before re-election.
  3. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,474
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1728
    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    I thought there would be many with their take on this issue Paul. Your thoughts on how a law comes into being is all too common. Irritate a lawmaker and a new bill is born.

    This morning, the editorial page is full of letters about how special interests like rich boaters influence the legislature. That is true enough but this bill may be a good thing on balance. The trucking industry is able to get the weight limit raised again and again when too many start getting caught and fined at the weight stations.

    NC is getting a lot of boat manufacturers moving in from Florida after being run out by escalating taxes on waterfront property. Maybe that influenced the lawmakers.

    My question still is: Will increasing the width limit make a difference to forum members?
  4. the1much
    Joined: Jul 2007
    Posts: 3,897
    Likes: 44, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 696
    Location: maine

    the1much hippie dreams

    im thinking if they go to these tournaments to make $,, its their "job",, and i have to pay for things at my company "job" why shouldnt they?and if they do it ( the business) legal,, then its a job expense,, which they can write SOME of it off.waaaaa for them,,
    and a big difference between mobile homes and equipment going down the road,,,, and a boat,,, is the others have their own axles,, their basically towing,,,,,, a boat is on a trailer,, top heavy,,, and needs MUCH MORE attention to move then the others.
  5. boatboy72
    Joined: Sep 2008
    Posts: 9
    Likes: 0, Points: 0
    Location: vic

    boatboy72 Junior Member

    we tow em 10' wide over here with an over size sighn on the back and front
  6. eponodyne
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 327
    Likes: 13, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 171
    Location: Upper Midwest

    eponodyne Senior Member

    Well, without getting into weight issues, it could also mean that Joe Six-Pack can finally tow his Tornado on the level and not canted. That sort of thing. there's a few Chlorox-bottle runabouts out there with a beam in the 9 foot to 9'2" range whose owners have played fast and loose with the law for a while, I'm sure. It'll be interesting to see if this affects what happens in other States.

  7. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
    Posts: 3,590
    Likes: 130, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2369
    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

    As one who is 1/2 way thru the construction of an "overwidth" trailerable boat (albeit on the other side of the world) I agree that there are definitely two sides to the argument.
    Essentially, in Oz anything over the 2.4m limit requires the use of overwidth signs and a flashing light, up to 3m (I think). From there on, a permit is required. Here too, both width and weight limits have commonly been ignored by many (including the police!!). What few appear to consider, of course, is that in doing so they void their insurance cover.....
    In practical terms, I doubt you'll notice much of a difference. Most people are terrified about the prospect of towing a BIG boat around - often quite rightly so. There comes a size point where it just makes more sense to keep your boat in the water and granted, not everyong knows where it is...e video of a For example...
    This is a 4m wide boat with an boat / trailer weight pushing 10 tons! That's going too far IMHO....
    But the increasing scarcity of marina berths and the freedom afforded by having a trailerboat is seeing an increase in the number of people who want to do their boating this way. The problem for many is that they're not prepared to make the compromises that are necessary to go boating this way. This in turn, has seen manufacturers build often quite foolish boats - with ever more packed into ever less. Perhaps these new laws will see a return to boats with more sensible proportions....
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.