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Old 04 February 2023, 23:08   #1
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Towing vehicle - boat over 7 metres

Hi all,

Apologies if this is on here, I did look but couldnít find an answer.

What vehicles do ppl use to tow ribs over 7 metres in length? The rules seem to say that there is a limit of 7 metres trailer length for any vehicle which weighs less than 3500kg? This I find puzzling and wonder, what vehicles that weigh more than 3500kg do people use to tow their boats which are longer than 7m? There donít seem to be many vehicles that weigh over 3.5 tonnes to tow larger ribs with.

Also a few years ago I did my BE licence test to be able to tow, but since 2021, looks like I now also need a C1&E licence - is it basically the same test as BE but with more tow weight?

Many thanks
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Old 05 February 2023, 01:13   #2
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There is no length restriction for boats, as an indivisable load they are exempt from trailer length restrictions. The limiting factors are width of 9ft6" & max weight of 3500kgs, in practice either of these restrictions become the limiting factor when towing before length is an issue.
The weight restriction on licences was removed last year everyone with a full uk licence can now tow 3500kgs

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Old 05 February 2023, 09:21   #3
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Originally Posted by beamishken View Post
There is no length restriction for boats, as an indivisable load they are exempt from trailer length restrictions. The limiting factors are width of 9ft6" & max weight of 3500kgs, in practice either of these restrictions become the limiting factor when towing before length is an issue.
The weight restriction on licences was removed last year everyone with a full uk licence can now tow 3500kgs

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Is this what you are referring to? Does it exempt the tow vehicle from needing to exceed 3,500kg in weight? Quoted below

ďWidth and length
The maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres.

The maximum length for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500kg is 7 metres. This length does not include the A-frame.Ē
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Old 05 February 2023, 09:51   #4
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Thanks Attachment 142092

Is this what you are referring to? Does it exempt the tow vehicle from needing to exceed 3,500kg in weight? Quoted below

ďWidth and length
The maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres.

The maximum length for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500kg is 7 metres. This length does not include the A-frame.Ē
Yes below 3500kg vehicles, if you go over 3500kgs then your into hgv licence & tachograph territory which is usually impractical for most folk. Cant find the relevant info on the .gov web site but this is the reason you can tow boats up to 9ft6" :-

A load on a trailer may project from the side of the trailer up to 305mm on either side, providing the total width does not exceed 2.9m
That paragraph was taken from a boat website but it will be somwhere on the .gov site, its just hard to find.


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Old 05 February 2023, 09:57   #5
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You can tow a boat/trailer combo over 7m with a sub 3500kg car as long as you donít exceed the towing weight restrictions of the vehicle. So the trailer CAN be over 7m , but you must NOT exceed the vehicleís plated towing weight AND the total weight of the vehicle/trailer/boat, must not exceed the Maximum Allowed Mass or gross train weight as it used to be called.
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Old 05 February 2023, 12:41   #6
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It's the indivisible load that allows boat trailers to be longer. There are a few vehicles that can tow 3500kgs. You have to be careful with some of the list as I seem to recall for a Hilux, you can tow 3500kg but you need to a lightweight and be prepared to drive in your underpants only to get below the MAM (as PD mentions above). I'd recommend a LC200 but Discovery's and Range Rovers are also good (when they aren't on a trailer themselves).

Being old I think I have a C1E category on my license which allows me to drive a vehicle up to 7500kg and a trailer up to a MAM of 12,000kg.

Just in case you need more toys, this puts you in the category of Unimogs, for example.
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Old 05 February 2023, 13:02   #7
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It's the indivisible load that allows boat trailers to be longer. There are a few vehicles that can tow 3500kgs. You have to be careful with some of the list as I seem to recall for a Hilux, you can tow 3500kg but you need to a lightweight and be prepared to drive in your underpants only to get below the MAM (as PD mentions above). I'd recommend a LC200 but Discovery's and Range Rovers are also good (when they aren't on a trailer themselves).

Being old I think I have a C1E category on my license which allows me to drive a vehicle up to 7500kg and a trailer up to a MAM of 12,000kg.

Just in case you need more toys, this puts you in the category of Unimogs, for example.


Thanks, so the length isnít an issue but the weight of boat and trailer needs to be under 3500kg combined?
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Old 05 February 2023, 13:11   #8
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Is the below out of date, ie the vehicle can be less than 3500kg and the trailer less than 3500kg so total less than 7,000 total? Seems out of date given a B&E test isnít required since 2021

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles...rs-or-caravans

Category B+E

Category B+E allows you to share vehicles up to 3,500 kgs MAM with trailers more than 750 kgs MAM, but not exceeding 3,500 kgs. MAM and the total weight must not be more than 7,000 kgs MAM. Construction and use regulations may also apply.

To gain this entitlement if you are a category B licence holder, who took your category B test on or after 1 January 1997, you have to pass a further practical test for category B+E. Category B licence holders who took their test before this date already hold B+E entitlement. There is no category B+E theory test.
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Old 05 February 2023, 15:05   #9
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Originally Posted by xpertski View Post
Is the below out of date, ie the vehicle can be less than 3500kg and the trailer less than 3500kg so total less than 7,000 total? Seems out of date given a B&E test isnít required since 2021

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles...rs-or-caravans

Category B+E

Category B+E allows you to share vehicles up to 3,500 kgs MAM with trailers more than 750 kgs MAM, but not exceeding 3,500 kgs. MAM and the total weight must not be more than 7,000 kgs MAM. Construction and use regulations may also apply.

To gain this entitlement if you are a category B licence holder, who took your category B test on or after 1 January 1997, you have to pass a further practical test for category B+E. Category B licence holders who took their test before this date already hold B+E entitlement. There is no category B+E theory test.
Yes that is out of date if you hold a full uk driving licence you can tow 3.5t only time you'll get near 7000kgs is towing with a transit or similar van the 8250kg figure is for folk who have 7.5t entitlement & can tow a 750kg trailer

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Old 05 February 2023, 18:09   #10
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So in summary itís ok to tow a 9m RIB using a decent 4x4 with 3000-3500kg tow capacity on a standard licence, without C1&E (I have B&E having done the test a few years ago - but every licence seems to have it now).

Then suitable tow cars for a big rib, thinking VW Toureg, but do like things like the Isuzu D Max, Ford Ranger and the like (maybe an arctic truck haha). I have heard that sometimes pickups arenít ideal for towing big loads given they donít have as much weight over the rear axle?
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Old 05 February 2023, 18:18   #11
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So in summary itís ok to tow a 9m RIB using a decent 4x4 with 3000-3500kg tow capacity on a standard licence, without C1&E (I have B&E having done the test a few years ago - but every licence seems to have it now).

Then suitable tow cars for a big rib, thinking VW Toureg, but do like things like the Isuzu D Max, Ford Ranger and the like (maybe an arctic truck haha). I have heard that sometimes pickups arenít ideal for towing big loads given they donít have as much weight over the rear axle?
Yes as long as the vehicle has sufficient towing capacity then towing a 9m rib within the weight & width limits on any full uk licence is fine. A touareg would be a good option landcruiser, patrol, x5, merc ml and landrover would all work. Many pickups are now rated to 3500kgs but they aren't as good as a proper 4x4. Light on the back and the distance from tow hitch to rear axle mean they are more likely to be affected by the trailer due to the extra leverage. They do the job just not as well.

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Old 05 February 2023, 19:39   #12
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Pickups tend to have a lower MAM than Land Rover / Land Cruiser type vehicles so whilst they can tow 3500kg, the MAM only allows for a couple of hundred kilo's of payload which includes fuel, driver, luggage etc. I can't find an actual figure for a Hilux or Ranger.

Making sure the trailer is set up properly with the nose weight etc is very important whilst towing.
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Old 05 February 2023, 20:49   #13
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It's the indivisible load that allows boat trailers to be longer. There are a few vehicles that can tow 3500kgs. You have to be careful with some of the list as I seem to recall for a Hilux, you can tow 3500kg but you need to a lightweight and be prepared to drive in your underpants only to get below the MAM (as PD mentions above). I'd recommend a LC200 but Discovery's and Range Rovers are also good (when they aren't on a trailer themselves).

Being old I think I have a C1E category on my license which allows me to drive a vehicle up to 7500kg and a trailer up to a MAM of 12,000kg.

Just in case you need more toys, this puts you in the category of Unimogs, for example.
If you have grandfathered C1E entitlement I'm sure there will be a restriction code attached which limits you to 8250kg gross train weight, whereas people who have actually passed the C1E test can go up to 12000kg
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Old 05 February 2023, 22:00   #14
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If you have grandfathered C1E entitlement I'm sure there will be a restriction code attached which limits you to 8250kg gross train weight, whereas people who have actually passed the C1E test can go up to 12000kg
You're right - I investigated what I can drive with my license using the on line service and there is a 8,250kg limit on the MAM for my C1E entitlement however for my D1E category, the limit doesn't seem to be in place.

Possibly D1E is DVLA's way of telling me what would happen if I tried it.
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Old 05 February 2023, 22:05   #15
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If you have grandfathered C1E entitlement I'm sure there will be a restriction code attached which limits you to 8250kg gross train weight, whereas people who have actually passed the C1E test can go up to 12000kg
Yeh I'm restricted to 8250kgs on my old style licence but in reality having the 12000kg entitlement will be of benefit to a very small no of folk. Yes you can then tow up to 4500kgs but you need a ring & pin hitch & air brakes on the trailer. It may appeal to a few folk who want to tow larger boats with trucks or large campers but you'd need to be pretty hard core to go to those lengths. For most of us a boat & trailer below 3500kgs with a landcruiser or similar is about as big as you'd practically want to go.

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Old 05 February 2023, 23:20   #16
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In case its of any interest to anybody ...put my disco 4 and 6.5m rib over a weighbridge last week ................total train was 4280kg
Landrover Discovery 4 was 2780 kg boat and trailer was 1500 kg
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Old 06 February 2023, 09:47   #17
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Landrover Discovery 4 was 2780 kg boat and trailer was 1500 kg
And that Ob is why the Discovery up to the D4 won best tow car of the year time after time.

Obviously the additional weight from the separate Chassis has penalties elsewhere, but it really helps when towing.

I'm not sure how long the D5 will keep the crown with it's lighter weight, but appears to be doing OK last time I looked.
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Old 06 February 2023, 11:15   #18
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In case its of any interest to anybody ...put my disco 4 and 6.5m rib over a weighbridge last week ................total train was 4280kg
Landrover Discovery 4 was 2780 kg boat and trailer was 1500 kg
Weighed my boat & trailer a few years ago. Used one of the local waste disposal sites.
Interesting to see what it actually weighed - rather more than I had guessed.

Out of curiosity what do they charge now?
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Old 06 February 2023, 14:18   #19
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Weighed my boat & trailer a few years ago. Used one of the local waste disposal sites.
Interesting to see what it actually weighed - rather more than I had guessed.

Out of curiosity what do they charge now?
Yup local feedmill for me ,Copdock mill A12suffolk ,£10 allows two weighs ,
I prefer to avoid the hi viz waistcoats at the local tip
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Old 06 February 2023, 14:27   #20
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Thanks. IIRC mine was £5.
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