We get these questions a lot
“Can I put that boat on top of my car?”
“Will that boat fit in my truck bed?”
The simple answer is “probably”, but it’s a little more complicated than you may think.
Let’s check out your truck bed first
The ability to haul a boat in your truck bed entirely depends on the size of both.
Most standard truck beds run from 5 to 8 feet long and offer a standard 65” inside bed width.
Opening the tailgate offers a little more length, but you also have the wheel wells to contend with.
The (current, don’t worry we’ll have a smaller utility boat for you real soon) smallest Legend Boat is the 14 UltraLite. The length of this boat is 13’10” and is 59” wide at the beam.
Since it’s a V-Hull, you’ll likely be able to slide it over the wheel wells and have it sit nicely within the confines of your truck bed.
But, even with an 8-foot bed and an open 2-foot tailgate, you’re still going to fall short by about 4 feet. Depending on your provincial overhang laws you may have to attach a red flag to the back most of the boat as you travel down the road.
It’s important to note that you need to pay attention to your brake lights when doing all of this. They MUST be visible to the vehicles behind you. You may have to raise the tailgate and travel with the boat at an angle or install additional brake and signal lights at the back of the boat.
To stay legal and keep care of your truck, use a combination of foam blocks and tie-downs. You, and everyone around you, want to make sure that your boat isn’t moving around and scratching up your paint.
Now let’s take a look at how to properly travel with a car topper
- Most cars have a maximum weight capacity for transporting things on your roof. Make sure you are checking your vehicle’s specifications before throwing a few hundred pounds on top.
- You can increase the capacity by adding a roof rack. Tread lightly though. Most automotive manufacturers have branded accessories that you can add to your car and officially change their ratings. 3rd party roof racks will successfully allow you to carry more, but it may not change your legal ability.
- Each province has a law regarding overhang. If your boat is hanging too far beyond the back bumper (or sometimes rearmost axle) you must display a red flag at the back of the boat in order to warn other motorists. Check your provincial laws for local requirements.
- Security is the name of the game. It’s highly recommended that you invest in some foam blocks and ratcheted tie-downs.
When using foam blocks, try your best to place them at the strongest points of your car roof. The frame areas (near the windshields, above the doors) of your roof. This avoids the roof of your car buckling under the pressure the tie-downs cause. It also prevents the metal of the boat scratching up your paint.
When tying down, keep in mind that that boat is going to want to move in all directions. When you’re picking up speed it wants to move backwards. When you hit the brakes it wants to move forward. When you make turns it wants to move from side to side.
Make sure that you’re using straps in as many directions (front to back, side to side, maybe even diagonal) as possible so that it stays firmly in place.
In both cases, you need to make sure of a few more things.
Do you have enough space to store and transport your:
Oars or paddles?
There are plenty of items that you would normally leave in the covered boat as you transport it on a trailer that you’ll have to find room for.
The most important things are to plan ahead, and to ask for help when you need it. If you can't find reliable help you'll just have to get creative.
Check out these home made boat loaders for some inspiration.
Yours In Boating,