Choosing a Boat trailer / Trailer Law
You must hold a full driving licence to tow anything.
Most drivers who passed their test before 1 January 1997 have licence categories allowing them to drive vehicle and trailer combinations weighing up to 8.25 tonnes.
With effect from 1 January 1997 the second EC Directive on Driving Licences (91/439/EEC) came into effect, affecting new drivers passing their test after that date and HGV drivers who obtained their licence after 31 December 1991.
The net result is that new drivers will only be allowed to drive and tow the following combinations:
- Vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (category B) with a 750kg trailer (4.25 tonnes total MAM).
- Category B vehicles with larger trailers i.e. > 750kg, provided that the combined MAM does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and the gross MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. To be able to tow combinations outside this ruling requires the passing of an additional test.
- New HGV drivers and those who have passed their HGV tests since 1 January 1992 will be restricted to towing trailers up to 750kg until they pass an additional test.
Detail of the Regulation
The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 1990 SI 1990 No 842 classifies vehicles according to either:
“Maximum authorised mass” (permitted maximum weight). Vehicles over 3,500kg MAM are classified as LARGE GOODS VEHICLES (LGV’s) ? Number of seats. Vehicles having more than 8 seats (not including the drivers) are classified as PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES (PCV’s)
Requires Additional qualifications for people to drive LGV’s & PCV’s
CHOOSING A TRAILER
Braked or Unbraked?
The maximum weight you are legally able to tow unbraked is 750kg Gross Vehichle Weight (GVW).
The maximum weight you are legally able to tow braked is 3500kg GVW on a 50mm ball hitch and over-run brakes.
All vehicles have different towing capacitys, check your cars specification on what is the maximum weight it can tow.
Single or Double axle?
The largest single axle trailer generally is 1800-1900kg GVW. There are inherent benefits with twin axle trailers, including better weight distribution and safer towing in the event of a blow-out.
Bunks or Rollers?
Bunks offer the best support for a boat as it spreads the load on the hull, but generally requires the boat to be floated on & off.
Rollers contact the hull fully and make launching and recovery much easier.