Tips for Crossing State Lines with Your Boat in Tow

When you attach your boat to your trailer and hit the road, you may not think about what it means to cross state lines. After all, when you’re in your car, the only real difference when driving from one state to the next is passing a welcome sign—at least, that’s how it seems. In reality, every state’s rules of the road, not to mention the water, are a little different from the next, and when you’re towing your boat on your trailer, you may accidentally run afoul of some of the law. If you plan to cross state lines with your boat in tow, these tips will help you avoid needless fines and penalties.

Check the Towing Speed

States tend to have different speed limits for vehicles with trailers. For example, vehicles that are towing any other vehicle, including a boat, can only go 55 miles per hour in California, but other states allow trailers to go faster, depending on the weight. Towing speeds can change in an instant as soon as you cross state lines, and speeding fines for vehicles with trailers can be stiff. Map out your route and know your maximum speed in each state you plan to cross.

Verify Double Towing Laws

If you plan to tow multiple items, for example, a boat and some jet skis or a boat and a camper, then you will need to make sure you aren’t violating any laws while traveling. Some states allow multiple trailers, while others do not. The change can happen as quickly as passing from South Carolina, where double trailers are allowed, to Georgia, where they are not. Verify your setup matches the laws in the states you’ll pass through before you go.

Check the Width of the Boat

Most states allow boats that are less than 8’6” to travel without a wide load permit. If your boat or the trailer guide posts exceed that, you will need a wide load permit to travel. You will need a separate permit for every state you pass through, and you will need to obtain them before your trip.


At APC Trailers, we have everything you need to tow your boat safely and efficiently. To find out more about our trailers and trailer services in Tucson, call (520) 574-1968.

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