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Can You Pull A Boat With A Minivan? (Which Boats?)

When thinking about a minivan, we do not generally think that they come with much towing ability. Many of us see minivans as kid haulers and grocery getters and that’s about it. Of course, this might be a reality for some people but compared to what many people think, minivans can do more for you. 

Specifically one thing that minivans can do is tow smaller items with ease without you having to spend a bunch of money on a truck as well. 

But can you pull a boat with a minivan? 

Modern minivans can tow up to 3,500lbs which means that they can actually tow most fishing boats and some pontoon and smaller deck boats. 

Whether your minivan can tow a specific type of boat depends entirely on that boat’s weight. Fishing boats weigh an average of 3,000lbs with a trailer so those can be towed with ease. 

Smaller pontoon or cabin boats will also start at around 3,000lbs so if you have one that is smaller and lighter you should be able to tow it with your minivan as well. 

Along with boats you also should be able to tow jet skis, canoes, etc. with your minivan without any difficulty as well. 

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This Emergency Preparedness Kit is a vital thing to carry with you in all of your vehicles as it will help not only in the case of a weather emergency but also in case of a breakdown.

What Should You Have To Tow A Boat With Your Minivan?

Of course, you should have your boat and your minivan, but besides simply having both of these you cannot take your boat to the desired destination without the help of some additional items connected to your minivan. So, here are a few things that you will need to have to tow your boat with a minivan. 

The first thing you will have to do is to buy the best quality towing parts. Here, it is always better to go for OEM parts for your specific minivan brand. The reason is that OEM parts are not just much longer lasting but they are also dependable and sturdy. 

You cannot expect these things from a third-party supplier for towing parts. 

We wish to again insist on OEM towing parts. The reason is that these parts are made by the manufacturers, who know everything about your minivan so you can be sure that you will get the perfect fitting towing parts. 

You will need the following things to tow your boat using your minivan:

  • Ball mount
  • Wire harness kit
  • Hitch

You will find detailed instructions on how to install these things online or you can also hire someone to do it for you (the best option for most people). 

Some towing safety tips to remember

Once you get all the essential supplies for towing a boat with your minivan, you also need to make sure that certain things are done for your safety and the safety of your minivan and boat. 

Here are some tips concerning this:

  • To prevent swaying, it is better to ensure that you load at least 60% of the cargo weight in the front portion of your minivan.
  • For better stability, know the total weight of the trailer. Then, make sure that the tongue weight is set at 10 to 15% of the overall trailer weight.
  • When you drive your minivan while towing the boat, make sure that you do not drive at a speed of more than 55 miles per hour.
  • To ensure better safety, you should also install safety chains under the hitch.
  • If you are driving downhill, tap your brakes in gentle presses and then release instead of using your brakes down the entire hill. The reason is that overusing your brakes will make them heat up and could cause bigger issues.
  • You should always carry a spare tire for the trailer in the trunk of your minivan just in case.
  • Ensure that you maintain a stopping distance of at least four full seconds with the vehicle in front of you. You will want to know your stopping distance with the extra weight being towed to make sure you leave enough room.

Now, you know that it is possible to pull a boat with your minivan. But, are you are planning to do it for the first time? If so, you should know about the mistakes to avoid in this process:

Mistakes to avoid when towing a boat with a minivan

Before getting into the mistakes to avoid, you should know one thing for sure. Improper towing can contribute to unattached cargo and tipping and it can even cause irreparable damage to the braking system and suspension of your miniva if you try to tow too much weight. 

It could even create a strain on your transmission and engine so be sure that you aren’t trying to do too much. 

Water and supplies

One of the biggest mistakes that people often make when towing a boat with their minivan is putting a bunch of extra supplies on the boat or even having water on board when going home. The issue is those supplies and water that is on board can increase your total weight very quickly and you can easily be over the towing limit for your vehicle. 

If your boat and trailer is close in weight to the max of your minivan’s ability then you will want to ensure that there are no extra supplies or water left on board that would add more weight! 

Disconnected brake lights

Without visible turn signals or brake lights, it can be extremely dangerous when you tow a boat. However, to eliminate this danger, most boat trailers these days come with brake lights.

It is always better to ensure that your brake lights work properly before your journey begins, whether to the water or home from it. 

Check and make sure that the wires are not dragging on the ground. In the United States, in most states, towed vehicles should have a minimum of one red tail light. So, ensure the proper functioning of your lights. You might think that this is a simple mistake. Nevertheless, if the wires get pulled loose when you are loading or unloading the boat you might not notice it. 

This is why you should always double check before ever leaving. 

Inappropriate ball hitch 

It can be highly frustrating when the back of the trailer scrapes when you go into the gas station or when a loaded trailer moves after a semi blows past. To avoid this problem, you should ensure that that boat is level. Just in case, it is not level, you should adjust the height of the ball hitch. 

If your hitch doesn’t allow adjustments then you should think about getting another ball hitch.

Forgetting what you are towing

When you are towing a boat in your minivan, you should remember one thing. A huge object has been connected to your minivan and every move you make will have an effect. 

So, you should be more mindful of cars around you and what they could possibly do. You should also be more cautious when making tight turns and when backing up to avoid any mishaps. So, take time when doing these moves.

Failing to secure gear

You should always make sure that you tie down your gear like life jackets and tackle boxes or put them in the minivan. Often when people are in a hurry to get into the water or to get home they can fail to do this. 

You should remember that anything could go flying out of your boat when you drive on a highway. You should either tie it down or place it in your vehicle. 


In short, the answer to your question of whether pulling a boat with a minivan is possible is yes. 

However, you should be aware of the common mistakes people make in this process so that you can avoid them. A minivan with a towing package can very easily handle around up to 3500lbs of a boat. 

As long as your boat and trailer weigh less than the towing ability of your minivan (which most fishing boats will) then you will be fine towing a boat with your vehicle.