Boat Trailoring - help !



I am thinking of buying a Bayliner Ciera Sunbridge 2455 and would like to occassionally use a trailor to get access different areas of the coast. I would use public slipways to lauch the boat.
It is approx 24 feet long and weighs 2400Kgs. I guess I would need a 3 axle trailor (???) which would make the total weight over 3 tonnes. What sort of vehicle would i need to tow this with ?
Is it feasible at all ? I know someone who uses a Toyota Landcruiser to tow a 23 foot motor boat which is just over 2tonnes and uses a 2 axle trailer. He thought that using a four wheel drive would be necessary - especially when taking the boat out of the water and up the slipway. Perhaps it may be possible to use marina facilities (at a cost) to do this for me ? I guess the most important thing is the ability to stop !!! The weight of the car must be a huge factor in this. There must be recommendations on how much a certain vehicle can tow ? Any help would be appreciated.
I have seen people tow with large Landrovers for boats upto 28 feet. Whether this is legal - well that's another thing !!. I was wondering whether a Landover Discovery may be suitable ? Can anyone suggest any recommendation and perhaps let me know what combinations they use ?
I have read the article in MBM in May 2001 on trailoring. It say that the total length of car and trailored boat must be less than 18m (which it will be with the size of boat i am considering). It says that the maximum laiden weight must be less than 3500Kgs (which it should be). I hold a license older than 1990 which means I can drive a 'rig' of upto 8.25 tonnes. I would not be exceeding that.
Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated !!!


21 Aug 2001
South East England
Things to watch.
Total weight of rig.
Ratio of towed weight to towing vehicle
Coupled breaks.
Actual pulling power. (my Isuzu pulls the nuts off of any thing else and its half the price of a range rover) dont just read the paperwork try them.


Well-known member
30 May 2001
Don't forget that the total weight includes the trailer. I used to have a 21 Relcraft on a twin wheeled trailer and towed it behind a Daihatsu 4 Track which worked well even going up very steep hills.

I would suggest however that you seriously consider at least a semi permanent place to base the boat as from experience trailering can be quite a fraught business, what with being concerned about not only the boat but also the trailer, other traffic, parking,launching, recovering and safely storing both car and trailer. It all looks ideal but in reality I found the whole business a real hassle which took a lot of the pleasure away from the actual boating.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you'll enjoy it.


While technically possible (the recommended max towing weight of a Land Rover is 3.5 tonnes), this is the stuff of nightmares. You WILL need a 4x4 of some description to move this mass on a slipway, but the sheer bulk of this rig will be enormous. Watch out for the maximum width, as well - I think the widest rig you can tow is 8.5 feet, but bear in mind that this will be wider than the tow car by far, so your rear visibility will be nil.

Having spent nearly ten years towing assorted boats, I would avoid this like the plague - it's just too big. The experience of towing, launching, recovering and towing home will spoil the boating. The most I would do with this is tow it from where I bought it to where I was going to keep it on the water.


I've been towing big boats for a few years now, so here are some of the facts. The maximum you can tow is 3500kg (unless you use a LR Discovery pre August 1998 which can tow up to 4000kg with coupled brakes- I looked at this but the best quote for suitable trailer and vehicle modifications was over 10k and then the thought of dunking all the hydraulics in sea water !!)
So back to the real world, fact 2-the trailer can be upto 7'6" wide with overhangs of 6" either side with no special markings.(Your Bayliner is 8'6" I think) You can have overhangs of 12" either side with 'Wide Load' markings.
Fact 3- the trailer can have a maximum length of 21' excluding draw bar and overhang behind the rear axel. In practice this means you can have a legal trailer of up to about 30' and still have the outdrive dangling off the back.You dont need 3 axels this will just add weight 2 axels are fine.
I towed a Bayliner Ciera 2651(The 1990 version of your boat) for about 2 years behind a V8 Discovery Auto with no problems, it is a bit of a pain getting the boat ready every weekend but the range of cruising grounds more than made up for it.
I decided to buy a new boat 2 years ago and set out to find the biggest boat I could legally tow. I ended up with a 28' Four Winns on a Rapide (now Dixon Bate)trailer. I have made a few modifications to the Discovery including extra auto box oil cooler,suspension assistors, double anti-snake device and a Dixon Bate Shocklink tow bar.The all up weight is 3495kg so its legal as long as I don't put more than 2 Packets of cornflakes aboard.
As for what cars to use a 4x4 is needed off the top of my head LR Defenders,Discoverys and Range Rovers can tow upto 3500kg as can Troopers,Landcruisers,Grand Cherokees and I think 4-Traks. Most of the others pull between 2 and 3000kg-Shoguns,Terranos,Mavericks etc.
My last piece of advice is don't skimp on the trailer, buy a good one and look after it.
Hope this helps.


New member
4 May 2004

If we are talking about a current 2455 as opposed to an eighties 2455 then you are dealing with the following stats.
Weight 2408kg with no gear or liquids on board
Beam 2.57mts or 8ft 5in
Total Lengtht 7.8mts or 25ft 7inches

You would need a double axle trailer with a gross weight of 3500kg. The trailer will weigh in the region of 700kg so this will not allow much leeway for fuel and equipment on the boat when it is being towed. Even your basic ground tackle, electronics, fenders, ropes, flares etc etc would soon add up to a quite a few kilos. You are going to need a car that can tow 3500kg, have enough room for you and your crew and still have enough space for all your gear and provisions that you wont be able to put on the boat due to their weight. Range Rovers, Discoveries and one or two others should be ok.

The manufacturers max towing weight is a legal limit, ie you wont get nicked for towing up to that weight. The safety consious would suggest not towing more that 85% of the kerb weight of the car. This is mostly to do with stopping ability. Bearing in mind that a Range Rover weighs 2000 kilos this really counts out towing anything over a 21 foot sports boat.

You wont have any problems with length or width in the UK, but if you wanted to trail overseas you could have problems in that the French do not allow a tow to be over 2.5mtrs wide.

Overall, it is possible to tow this boat with a large 4x4 albeit with very careful driving and at least one other strong fit person who doesnt mind getting wet feet to help with launch and recovery. You would probably find it impracticle to trail it somewhere just for a day trip but for any longer it will probably be worth the effort. Best bet, have a permanent base and use trailer a few times a year for long weekends, holidays etc

For the record I have an eighties 2455 and tow with a Range Rover. The boat is 500kg lighter and 5 inches narrower than the new model. If it is one of these that you are looking at, it will make things just a little easier.



Active member
30 May 2001
I think you're right about towing vehicles with the exception of the Fourtrack. Its wheelbase is too short for sustained heavy towing in comfort.

Some general points. One or two comments have mentioned "careful driving". Pulling 3.5T is very, very different from normal driving. As I say, a long wheelbase heavy tow vehicle is best at preventing snaking and other nasties. But on the road you do need 110% concentration on the driving and you need to anticipate events far more than normal - especially down hill and junctions.

The legal situation is one thing - what you can stomach on a long journey is another. If you would only tow odd times to another cruising ground, have you considered hiring a tow vehicle? You do at least get one in A1 condition and you don't knacker your own wheels. I blew the brake hoses on my 4litre Rangy stopping my lot on a hill!

Having said the above, I've towed 11 tonnes behind a 2 tonne tractor and a 21 foot Picton from the Lake District to Gloucestershire behind a 1 litre Suzuki Jeep. Not recommended and not legal - but I'm saying it can be done if - and only if - you have the care and skill. If not, forget it. There are some excellent small boat transport people who seem mainly to advertise in PBO who can shift your boat for you.


easy stuff this ,take a look at my web site re trailers and what I made to carry boats.
the site is
follow the link to the trailer page
My trailer has a 22.6" boat on it right now ,it's a four wheel trailer and I tow it with a land rover 110 county ,which has a 3.5 mazda turbo diesel fitted. No other four wheel drive comes up to Landrovers
there are legal rules sutch as the width lenght weight most of which you know but
get the book it's always handy .
When I got my other boat I hired a transit van ( single wheel ) and a huge trailer
I took a chance but had the old bill been about I would have got done re the weight .I'm glad I hired the transit because you could smell the clutch burning and it could only just stop the trailer which triple twin wheel axles
You can tow over certain weights but the towing motor has to have the weight capacity but also a taco !!
cheers mick


New member
14 Oct 2001
I had exactly this model boat on a 4 wheel trailer at Calshot.Used to launch and retrieve with a 735 BMW( it also towed it on the road better than my L/Rover V8 90)