This is a question that many new boat owners are faced with. You have some of the old timers that refuse to admit that technology is worth it and still want to crank the winch by hand to put the boat back up on the rollers. Then of course you have the newer generation that wants every gadget known to mankind and will not settle for anything but the best in a boat trailer winch. In the end, you are going to have to make a decision and get the right one for you.
If you put them side by side, there would hardly seem to be an argument as to which one to buy. The electric boat trailer winch will have better features and is much easier to operate. The downside of course is that they are going to cost a lot more money. However, this is all relative as the winch itself is not really very expensive.
Should You Use a Manual Winch or Electric Boat Trailer Winch?
If you buy a top of the line hand operated winch, you are probably going to spend about $70 or so. This will get you a boat trailer winch that can haul about 2500 pounds and handle a rolling boat weight of about 8000 pounds. To get the same model that is electric, you are probably going to spend about $150. Now while that is double the money, it really is not that big of a deal. You are talking about spending 1% of the cost of the boat to make your life a little easier when you are putting the boat into the water and taking it out of the water.
Electric Winch Downsides
The other downside of an electric winch is that they may occasionally break down on you. Of course, the same can be said of a manual winch. If you are smart, you will actually have a back up regardless of what type of winch you have. The last thing you want to do is be stuck on the ramp and unable to get your boat of the water. With the relative low cost of the winch, the prudent move is to have a back up ready to go in case of emergency. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on it, just make sure you have something that will work in case your main winch breaks down.
Upside of Electric Winches
Truth be told, an electric boat winch will make your life a lot easier. You will no longer have to struggle to get the boat on the trailer at the end of the day and you can actually turn what is usually a two or three man operation into a one man show. Why should you not be able to enjoy your boat because you don’t have anyone to go out on the water with you? With an electric winch, that is no longer an issue.
If you have the few extra dollars in your wallet, you would be well served to get the electric boat winch. It will make your life a lot easier and will save a few years on the back. Instead of struggling to get your boat back on the trailer, all you have to do now is line it up and press a button. From there, your boat trailer electric winch will do the rest of the work for you. Read our review of the top 12-volt electric boat trailer winches here.
Boat Trailer Winch Safety
While you can save money by using a standard one, safety and ease dictate that the electric boat trailer winches are the way to go.
If you are going to use a hand crank, you will need to use more strength in order to get your boat landed. You never know what kind of a day you are going to have on the boat and if you are there alone, you want to make sure that you can still get the boat landed. Using an electric winch lends more certainty that you will get the boat landed and do so safely.
When you are deciding on what boat trailer winch to buy, you need to not only account for the weight of the boat, but also for everything that is going to be on the boat when you are trying to land it. This means that you will have to figure in a full load of fuel and all the supplies that will generally be on the boat.
Another factor to take into consideration is that the boat is not going to be on land when you are trying to pull it in. Since it will be in the water, the load capacity will be even greater. That being the case, you will need a winch that can handle a greater line pull capacity than the actual weight of the items that we had mentioned above. You need to give yourself plenty of leeway in ensuring that your winch can get the boat out of the water safely.
Securing the Boat on your Trailer
In order to make sure that your boat is secured properly, you should not use the winch as the method of securing the boat. This is another mistake a lot of beginners will make as they assume that since the winch pulled the boat out of the water that it should be able to hold it during travel as well. These are the same people that you see with their boat in the middle of the highway. Play it safe and use tie-downs to secure your vessel.
While it is recommended that you use an electric winch, you are still going to need to know how to operate a manual boat trailer winches as well. Most electric models will have a manual option in case the electric winch fails. Make sure you are familiar with it on the odd happenstance that your boat trailer electric winch fails.
Maintaining your Winch
Finally, make sure that you regularly inspect your winch so that all parts are working properly. The cable can deteriorate over time and may need to be replaced. You will also want to check all moving parts to ensure that there is no damage. Don’t wait until it is too late, inspect it after every use and make sure that it is ready to go for the next trip.