Questions? Email Us or call (888)-657-9997
(Hours: M-F 8am - 4:30pm Central)

  • Friend Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on Twitter
  • Watch Us on YouTube
Free Shipping Daily Deals

ProMark Offroad Blog

Trailer Winch Tips

Electric trailer winch

An electric trailer winch takes the strain off your back and shoulders.

Trailer winches make it easier to load boats, cars, and other cargo. Keep in mind that they are designed to load and unload boats—not to hold them in place. You should never rely on the winch strap alone to hold your boat on the trailer. If you hit a bump in the road, the winch line can pay out. To make sure your boat is securely strapped down, use separate tie downs.

Using a Trailer Winch

If you are using a hand winch, be careful not to let the handle kick back. Make sure your footing is secure and you have good leverage to wind the boat onto the trailer. If loading a boat leaves you fatigued, consider investing in an electric trailer winch. By letting the winch do all of the work, you no longer have to deal with a sore back and shoulders. An electric trailer winch also leaves you with a free hand to guide the boat onto the trailer.

Avoid chafing on the winch line. Don’t let it rub on sharp edges, such as on the winch mount or on the trailer. Rubbing can create sharp frays on the winch cable or damage the cable prematurely, forcing you to buy a new cable.

Choosing a Trailer Winch

Choose a trailer winch based on the weight of your boat, not just the length. Although length is a good starting point—and easier to estimate—the winch is designed to pull weight, not length. Gross weight can vary significantly from one boat to another, even though they are the same length. Fuel load, gear, water, and the materials used in the construction of the boat, along with other factors, all impact the boat’s weight. When estimating the weight of your boat, include the weight of anything else that will be inside the boat at the time you are loading it onto the trailer.

Marine Winch Brake Adjustment

Before using your new ProMark Offroad marine winch, be sure to adjust the brake as necessary to allow the motor to power the cable in and out. In order for the winch to work properly, the brake tensioner must be manually adjusted to the correct tension for the weight of your application. Making this adjustment before use will prevent the occurrence of a failed relay and the hassle of contacting the warranty department for new parts.

Below are instructions for adjusting your marine winch brake:

1. Remove the four winch case screws and handle bolt to get access to the brake adjustment nut. (Fig. 1)

Removing the bolts

Removing the bolts

2. Loosen the outer lock nut. (Fig. 2)

Tightening the brake tensioner

Tightening the brake tensioner

3. Adjust the brake tensioner nut to achieve the desired brake resistance.
*Note: Getting the correct tension for the weight of your application may take a few adjustments.

4. Tighten the lock nut.

5. Reassemble the winch case.

That’s it! Now your electric marine winch is ready to use!

Choosing an Electric Trailer Winch

Electric trailer winch

An electric trailer winch with a strap is easier on your hands.

An electric trailer winch makes it a lot easier to load boats, personal watercraft, vehicles, and other cargo onto a trailer. Here are a few tips on choosing an electric winch for your trailer.

Winch Power

One of the most important considerations when choosing an electric trailer winch is the maximum load rating. If the winch doesn’t have enough power to pull the load you want to move, it won’t do you any good. The actual winch capacity depends on whether you’re pulling a rolling load, a floating load, or a dead weight load. If you’re pulling out an old car that’s been sitting for years with the tires sunk down in the mud, you’re going to need a lot more power than if you’re loading a boat in the water. The greater the amount of friction or suction, the more winch power you will need to pull the load.

Winch Strap or Cable

Some electric trailer winches use steel cable, while others use a strap. A strap is easier on your hands (no frayed wires) and won’t bind up inside the drum. Steel cable is stronger for use with pulling heavier loads. Since cable is smaller than a strap, you can fit more cable on the spool for longer line length. Steel cable can also be used for a double line pull, which allows you to pull heavy loads above the single-line rated capacity of your trailer winch.

Accessories

Some of the winch accessories that come in handy are lights (for nighttime loading), a backup hand crank (in case the power fails), and a wireless remote control (for safe distance). Not all trailer winches come standard with these luxuries.

Electric Trailer Winches Now Available from Trac and Dutton-Lainson

TRAC electric trailer winch

TRAC electric trailer winch

TRAC Outdoor Products is widely respected for their high quality electric boat trailer winches. DuraShield now carries the Trac Outdoor Wireless Day-Runner electric trailer winch and the Trac Outdoor Wireless Lite Cruiser winch models, available with a steel cable or strap. All three trailer winch models include a built-in light for early morning or nighttime loading and a wireless remote for safe, convenient winching.

Prices start at only $139.99. All trailer winches ship free to the lower 48 United States!

Dutton-Lainson electric trailer winch

Dutton-Lainson electric trailer winch

The Dutton-Lainson 9000 lb Electric Trailer Winch is also newly available from DuraShield Covers. Dutton-Lainson is a trusted name in the electric winch industry. Pulling your boat onto the trailer is easy with up to 9000 pounds of rolling weight capacity. This electric trailer winch includes a 20-foot pull strap, dynamic braking, and a mechanical friction brake.

Electric Trailer Winches: Strap or Cable?

Trailer winch

Steel cable is used for large capacity trailer winches.

Most electric trailer winches come with nylon strap or steel cable. The main differences between them are strength, length, and ease of handling.

Strength

Steel cable is used to handle heavier trailer winch loads because of its strength and double line capacity. A strap can’t be doubled, but a steel cable can pull almost twice its weight if doubled. This is an advantage for heavy boats and steep trailer angles.

Length

Since cable is thinner and smaller than a nylon strap, you can fit more length of cable on the spool than you could fit with a strap. If you need more line to pull in your boat, an electric trailer winch with steel cable is the better option for you. If line length doesn’t matter, then either cable or a strap is an option.

Ease of Handling

A nylon strap won’t pinch, fray, or get buried in the spool under load. It’s easy on your hands, since there are no sharp burrs to worry about. If the strap gets cut or nicked, it won’t cut your hands, although it will reduce the effective working load. Cable, on the other hand, tends to fray slightly, and the sharp wires and burrs can be painful if you are not careful. Steel cable requires greater care in handling (wear thick leather gloves) and must be spooled in even rows on the winch drum to prevent nesting.

Electric Boat Trailer Winch Reviews

Electric boat winch

"This winch handles my 2007 Pro-line 240 SS easily."
- A. Slania

Need a hand getting your boat loaded on the trailer? An electric boat winch can do the job. Take a look at the electric winch reviews below for the 10,500 lb Electric Marine Boat Trailer Winch with corded remote control and backup hand crank.

“Great winch! This winch handles my 2007 Pro-line 240 SS easily. It comes with wire and connectors, but I used my own rig with a 50 amp circuit breaker on the truck. Great price for the power and very sturdy.”
– A. Slania (Ohio)

“Well I used this with an 8k snatch block and pulled a rolling 2000 Explorer up and onto a 36′ trailer. Ramps and all made it about 44′ and up an incline. Back of trailer sat about 30″ off ground. I used a jump box to provide the power, which may not have given it enough amps to pull properly, as it was real slow. Took about a minute a foot under load with portable jump box.”
– “F250truckdriver”

Loading a Boat with an Electric Trailer Winch

Electric Boat Trailer Winch

An electric boat trailer winch allows you to load your boat singlehandedly.

The bigger your boat, the harder it is to load, especially when you’re out on your own. But with an electric boat trailer winch, you can load your boat easily without any help. The remote control allows you to guide the boat onto the trailer with one hand and control the winch with the other hand.

To use an electric boat winch, follow these steps:

  1. Place your vehicle in “Park.” Set the emergency brake and block the wheels to keep them from rolling. Note: You may wish to keep the vehicle’s engine running while using the trailer winch to continually recharge the battery. However, use extreme caution when working around a vehicle with its engine running.
  2. a
  3. Pull out the steel winch cable to the desired length by pressing the “Power Out” button on the remote control. Note: Always leave at least four turns of cable on the spool assembly to prevent pulling the cable completely out of the winch.
  4. a
  5. Hook the winch cable to a suitable anchor point on the bow of the boat. Use a tow strap or chain if necessary. Do not wrap the steel cable around an object and hook the cable back onto itself. This can kink or fray the cable.
  6. a
  7. Clear the area of bystanders and stand well to the side while winching. When it is safe to do so, push the “Power In” button on the remote control to begin winching the boat onto the trailer. Make sure the steel cable feeds directly into the winch and not at an angle. Avoid long pulls. If the motor becomes very hot to the touch, stop winching and allow the motor to cool before continuing to load the boat onto the trailer.
  8. a
  9. When the boat is fully loaded onto the trailer, use proper tie down techniques to secure the boat to the trailer. Attach the bow of the boat to the trailer with a separate chain or strap. Never rely on the winch cable or winch to secure the boat to the trailer.
a

How to Install an Electric Boat Winch

Replacing your manual trailer winch with an electric winch is a great way to save your strength and load your boat faster and easier. You can either permanently install the electric boat winch or mount it temporarily. The following instructions apply specifically to ProMark Offroad boat winches but may also apply to similar style winches by other manufacturers.

Permanent Electric Boat Winch Mounting

  1. Select a mounting site on the bed of a truck, trailer, or other suitable location. Make sure the mounting location is able to withstand the pulling force of the winch. Steel reinforcement plates or additional bracing may be required, depending on the desired mounting location.
  2. Align the base of the winch with the desired location and mark for drilling the three mounting holes required to attach the winch to the mounting site. Then drill these three mounting holes on the vehicle, trailer, or mounting plate. (See Figure A.)
  3. Use three hardened steel bolts at least 3/8″ in diameter, three lock washers, and three nuts to securely attach the winch to the mounting location. (See Figure A.)
  4. Run the electrical wiring to the power source as directed by the manufacturer. Test the winch operation before attempting to load a boat using the winch.
Permanent boat winch mounting

Permanent boat winch mounting

Temporary Electric Boat Winch Mounting

  1. Insert three screws into the three mounting holes in the adapter plate and secure the screws to the adapter plate using three washers and three nuts. (See Figure B.)
  2. Insert the heads of the three screws into the three keyhole slots on the base of the winch. (See Figure B.)
  3. Attach the winch with its plate to the vehicle’s hitch ball by inserting the hitch ball through the teardrop-shaped hole in the adapter plate. (See Figure B.)
  4. Connect the electrical wiring to the vehicle’s power source, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Test the winch operation before attempting to load your boat.
Temporary boat winch mounting

Temporary boat winch mounting

How to Load a Boat on a Trailer with an Electric Winch

Loading your boat can be a chore, but not when you use an electric trailer winch. You can easily load a boat on your own without any help. See the steps below for how to load a boat using an electric winch.

Electric Boat Winch Diagram

Electric Boat Winch Diagram

  1. Place the vehicle’s transmission in “Park.” Set the emergency brake and block the wheels with suitable chocks to keep the vehicle from rolling.
    NOTE: You may wish to keep the vehicle’s engine running to continually recharge the battery while using the boat winch. However, use extreme caution when working around a vehicle with its engine running.
  2. a
  3. Pull out the steel cable to the desired length by pushing the “Power Out” button on the remote. Leave at least four turns of steel cable on the winch spool to prevent the cable from pulling completely out of the winch.
  4. a
  5. Hook on to the boat or other object to be moved by securing the winch hook to a pulling point, tow strap, or chain. Do not wrap the steel cable around an object and hook it back on itself. This can kink or fray the steel cable. Only attach the winch hook to an approved tow point that is able to withstand the force of the pull without causing damage to the boat or object being pulled.
  6. a
  7. Clear the area of bystanders. Never allow anyone to stand near the steel cable or in line with the steel cable behind the winch while it is under power. If the steel cable should slip or break, it can suddenly whip back towards the winch, causing a hazard for anyone in the area.
  8. a
  9. Stand clear of the cable and winch. When it is safe to do so, press the “Power In” button on the remote to power in the steel cable and pull the boat as desired.
  10. a
  11. When the boat is within a few feet of the trailer jack, pulse the “Power In” button on the remote until the boat is fully loaded.
  12. a
  13. Secure the boat with an approved tie down strap or chain. Do not rely on the electric boat winch to hold the boat in place while trailering.
  14. a
  15. Unplug the winch remote before trailering. Store the remote in a safe, dry location.
a

Now your boat is loaded on the trailer! When you are finished loading the boat, make sure you secure it properly to the trailer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Double check all straps, chains, etc. before trailering to make sure the boat is secure.

Electric Boat Trailer Winch Comparison

An electric boat winch is a great way to make loading your boat onto the trailer quick and easy. Below is a comparison chart for several popular boat trailer winches, including models from ProMark Offroad, Powerwinch, Trac, and Dutton-Laison.

Specifications ProMark Offroad Powerwinch Trac Dutton-Laison
Model 10,500 lb Electric Boat Winch RC 30 Lite Cruiser C-10000 Strongarm SA12000
Rolling Weight Capacity 10,500 lbs 11,500 lbs 9900 lbs 7600 lbs (11-degree incline)
Dead Weight Capacity 3500 lbs 4000 lbs 3500 lbs 2250 lbs (11-degree incline)
Line Speed (with load) 10 ft / min 8 ft / min 6 ft / min 2 ft / min
Power In Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Out Yes Yes Yes Yes
Remote Control Yes (corded) Yes (wireless) Yes (Wireless) No
Backup Hand Crank Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Light No Yes Yes Yes
Pulley Block No No No No
Power Supply 12V DC 12V DC 12V DC 12V DC
Cable Length 36 feet 40 feet 30 feet 50 feet
Net Weight 42 lbs 36 lbs 24 lbs Not listed
Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited 2 year limited 1 year limited
a