What Size Winch Do I Need for My Boat – Expert’s Opinion

Author: | Update On: May 9, 2021
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Spending some time outdoors, like boating, can be part of the fun, and it is healthy also. I personally believe that boating is much more relaxing than other outdoor activities. The feeling when you release the boat gently into the water, the smell of salt in the air, the tender breeze, the splashing of water are not comparable with the other feelings. Even you can consider boating an exercise. While you are boating, your entire body works to control it against the strong wind. But choosing the winch is a little bit tricky.

What size winch do I need for my boat is the most common question asked by the beginners who want to boat. The winch is the most vital element of your boat. It will allow you to pull your boat into the trailer while the boat is on an inclined launching ramp. You should choose a trailer winch that will fit the weight of your boat, equipment, and motor. Now keep reading to learn more.

Why Do You Need A Winch For Your Boat?

The trailer winch of your boat works hard, and it has to retrieve your wet boat weighing hundreds of kilos. The winch has to bring it up perfectly centered onto a few slippery rollers, all on a steep slope. By using the winch, you can pull your boat onto the trailer when the boat is on an inclined ramp.

Winch For Your Boat

Usually, winches are used on the boat to control the sails. The winch can be wound to pull the rope and therefore raise the sails or let out the rope to lower the sail. Using winches like the electric boat winch, you can raise and lower the sails more rapidly than pulling on the ropes by hand, leading to more efficiency while sailing.

What Size Winch Do I Need for My Boat

As a beginner in boating, it is natural to ask what size winch do I need for my boat. The size of the winch is essential for boating, but there are some other things that you should consider before choosing the winch. Let’s have a look at what to consider before selecting a winch for your boat.

size of winch for boat

The Environment of Your Boat

Before choosing a winch, you need to understand the environment of your boat. You should ask yourself some questions like, do you use your boat in a saltwater lake or in freshwater? Is the winch galvanized, powder-coated, zinc-plated, and aluminum? You should look at how many hours of saltwater exposure the winch is rated to survive. After knowing these things, you will be able to choose the perfect size winch for your boat.

The Weight Capacity of the Winch

You should rate the winch by its weight capacity, not by the length of your boat. You need to choose a trailer winch that will fit the weight of your boat, equipment, and motor. Longer and heavier boats need more powerful winches with a longer cable. The general rule of choosing a winch with a capacity rating of at least 3/4th the combined weight of your boat, fuel, gear, and motor. The winch should be able to pull at least 1.5 times the weight of your boat.

Winch Types

There are two types of winch available in the market as hydraulic and electric winch like Pro Series KR15000301 Standard Series Brake Winch and Goldenrod Electric Trailer Winch 3000LBS. The primary difference between these winches is the power source. Hydraulic winches are powered by the boat power steering pump. These winches are linked to the battery and the electrical system of the vehicle. The most common and widely used winch is the electric winch. This winch is popular because it is more durable and less expensive than the hydraulic winch.

Rope Options

There are two types of rope available in the market, one is synthetic rope, and another is steel cable rope.  Steel cable rope is less expensive, durable, and easy to maintain. But this type of rope is too heavy for your rig’s front. This rope is ideal to use in highly abrasive terrains. Synthetic rope is lighter, safer, flexible, and easy to handle than steel cable rope but the cost of this rope is high. You don’t need a glove to handle this rope. This rope is great for trail and recovery winches.

Motor Option

Usually, electric boat winches come in two types of DC  motors. These motors are permanent magnet and series wound. A cheaper winch comes with permanent magnet motors. If you are an occasional wincher, the permanent magnet motors are the best choice for you. But if you want a winch for heavy duty and cold weather condition use, then the series wound motor will be best for you.

Mount Options

Mount option is one of the most important considerations. There are three types of popular options that you can mount your winch on. Such as bumper mount, multi mount, winch bumper. The bumper mount is the most simple mounting option. This option offers the most versatility. They are very easy to install. The multi mount option is a little more complex than the bumper mount option. The multi-mounted winch is not very durable because of the mounting point. The winch bumper mounting option is the most popular option because it provides protection to the front side of your boat.

Single-Speed Winches or Two-Speed Winches

you need to check the cracking resinstance when you pull the boat. For a lighter boat, a manual winch with a 3:1, 4:1, and 5:1 gear ratio is best. For heavy boats, the gear ratio should be 16;21 and the two-speed winches are best.

Safety Tips for Boat Winch

Safety always comes first. Usually, winch safety starts with winch selection. A properly installed winch will provide years of trouble-free and reliable anchoring. Well, this segment of this article offers some universal guidelines about safety tips for boat winch.

safety tips for winch boat


  • Try to install the windlass correctly.
  • Use the windlass in conjunction with a chain stopper of the appropriate size.
  • While raising and lowering the anchor, run the boat engine.
  • Always try to motor up to the anchor when retrieving the rode.
  • If the anchor is fouled, don’t use the windlass to break it out.
  • Don’t try to use the windlass as a bollard.
  • Always use the heavy anchor in the heavy weather condition.
  • Never use the windlass as a mooring point.
  • Before leaving the boat, always turn the isolator switch off.
  • Don’t depend on the windlass to hold the anchor in its bow roller.


Hopefully, after reading this article earnestly, you have learned about what size winch do I need for my boat. Selecting the size of the winch for the boat depends on so many things like boat size and load capacity, gear, motor, and others.

After reading the article, now you can get a perfect sized winch for your boat. But before choosing the winch for your boat, make sure you have considered the factors which I have mentioned above because these considerations will give you a safe journey by your boat.

Resource article:

What Size Winch Do I Need for My Boat - Expert’s Opinion 1

William Hedlund

Hi, I am William Hedlund, I am a motor tool specialist and a businessman. I have a business where I sell all the latest obd2 scanners for honda & jeep, best automotive diagnostic scanner, off-road air compressor, best battery for winching, etc. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of these tools users. While selling these products and giving them service, I saw many clients face difficulties with installation, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, and buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about these products.

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