What Size Boat Winch Do I Need

For people who do not really know, winches seem to be hooked cable used for pulling and lifting, but they have a lot more to offer. Primarily, a winch is a hoisting or hauling device which comprises of a rope, chain, or steel cable wound around a horizontal rotating drum. It is powered by a motor connected to a gearbox, which eventually turns the crankshaft connected to the horizontal rotating drum.

Trailer winches have several applications, and if you are looking to buy a winch for the first time for your boat, you will surely find yourself confused about what the size of the winch should be. With all the options available in the market with different types, specifications, and sizes, it can be very tough to find the ideal winch for your boat.

Therefore, in this article, we will clarify which winch size you actually need to pull your boat and lead you toward making the right purchase decision. Understanding “What Size Boat Winch Do I Need” is crucial for ensuring that your boating experience is not only efficient but also safe.

About Boat Trailer Winches

A boat trailer winch has a tough job to do. It is meant to retrieve a wet boat which can weigh some hundreds of kilos or maybe more than a ton. It has to bring it up and get it perfectly centered on a bunch of slippery rollers, all to be done on a steep slope.this is same best boat anchor winch.

The launch and retrieval part of the day can be very anxious for many boat owners, because there is plenty of stress while getting your boat onto or off the trailer without causing any damage to the boat or any of the crew members. Some of the people even prefer upgrading their trailer winches to make the task easier and reduce the hassle and stress of the process.

Boat trailer winches are of two kinds, manually operated ones as well as the 12V electric winches. For both kinds of winches, it is important to make sure that it is according to your boat’s length and mass.

Importance of choosing the right size of Winch for your boat

Having the winch that is appropriate in size for your boat and trailer can make you day go successful and happy at the boat ramp. Having an undersized winch will make you struggle while you pull your boat up the trailer due to lack of power. This could also lead to damaging your boat.

In contrast, an oversized winch will always be good to perform the pulling task efficiently, but will be heavy on your pocket when you think of making your investment. You can save the same amount of money to spend on adding amenities on your boat.

Determining the right size of Winch for your boat

First of all, you need to select a winch which is based on the weight, rather than the length of the boat. According to our boating experts, the capacity of the winch should be at least half the combined weight of your boat, motor and gear.

After that, you’ll be calculating the curb weight for the trailer, motor and the boat. You’ll get an approximate of all these figures by reading the user manuals, of the boat, trailer as well as the motor. So the overall curb weight will be a sum of all these figures.

Next, you will have to estimate the weight of the items loaded in the boat which include any kind of gear, gas, drinks, food, fishing equipment, etc. On average, people tend to carry 100 lbs. of gear per individual when they go out for boating. Weight of the fuel can be approximated on the higher side by multiplying 6.25 lbs. with the tank capacity in gallons, as each gallon of gas weighs around 6.25 gallons. Another 50 lbs. should be taken in consideration as the weight of miscellaneous items, to be on the safer side.

Finally you’ll be adding up the weight of the items loaded on the boat to the curb weight of the trailer, boat motor and gear. You’ll get a figure of approximately 4000 – 5000 lbs. For a midsized boat. This value will be divided by two, in order to get the minimum size of winch you should have on your trailer for your boat.


Selecting the ideal winch size for your boat will surely be a tough decision to make. Therefore, it is necessary to spend enough time to determine the most ideal size according to your needs. We hope that this article proved to be helpful in this regard.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a reversible winch?

Reversible winch is the one which enables you to let the line out by reversing the winch drum.     

  1. Which way do all winches wrap?

Most of the winches are wrapped up from the bottom in a clockwise direction.

  1. How strong is quarter inch winch cable?

A quarter inch winch cable of the WSC 7×19 galvanized type has a breaking strength rated at approximately 7000 lbs., but it should be used within the 6000 range.

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