View Full Version : Towing on dirt roads

09-03-2006, 10:47 AM
Any ideas on the best way to protect the front of our boat (painted tinney) whilst towing it across dirt roads.. We mainly travel on sealed roads but every now and then it's on dirt.

09-03-2006, 11:35 AM
I've seen a lot of boats, camper trailers and caravans with shield made out of a metal frame with mesh or polytype material (same as canopies) on the front of the trailer a-frame

09-03-2006, 05:20 PM
If it's long distance stuff the industrial plastic wrapped around the bow helps. Have seen a boat towed to Cape like this.
Shade cloth on a frame in front of the bow works also.

09-03-2006, 06:39 PM
Heres a few pics of when I took my boat to STanage bay (100klm of dirt)


09-03-2006, 06:40 PM

09-03-2006, 06:41 PM
last one

09-03-2006, 10:10 PM
Now that's protection ;)

Is that ordinary shade cloth or something else :-?

10-03-2006, 08:19 AM
Looks like shadecloth it is..Cheap, effective and can be used for all sorts of things when not under the boat. Ground sheet under the tent, covering the load in the trailer but to name a few..

10-03-2006, 08:39 AM
If it's stones you are worried about.....Huge mud flaps on car always helps as well as the already mentioned methods.

10-03-2006, 09:48 PM
We sometimes take the boat out to a lake which requires about 30km of dirt road. Learnt my lesson with a friends new Quinnie. He took it over there about two weeks after he bought it and nearly cried. :'(

We both have dual cab 4WDs and made up full width mud flaps that swing just a few inches from the ground from a couple of pieces of flat bar and some used heavy rubber conveyor belting (relatively cheap and available - often sold to line horse floats and stables).

These are easily removable as they just hang from the tray by a couple of D shackles.

Not as 100% effective as Spaniard King's method, but stops all the rocks from the towing vehicle and it's a heck of a lot easier to put on and off. Mind you if I had as good a boat as his, I think I'd make the effort - awesome looking rig.

10-03-2006, 09:59 PM
yeah guys, ya don't spend ya hard earned coin to wreck it on a dirt road.

We did go the extra on that trip but I would do exactly the same again.

Note the 6mm ply on the inside of the trailer guards, it did wonders as well

The shade cloth was easy to fit and lasted well, in fact we had to make a slit in the cloth on the way out to let the rocks that did get in have a way of fallin out.



11-03-2006, 07:08 PM
OK looks like you've got the minor and insignificant surface damage covered now you should consider the rest.
Just to put it into perspective the kind of damage you are going to face is dependent on the length of the unsealed drive. I've towed boats to Bamaga and I've done the Stanage trip a few times and both require some attention to a few other areas - especially in an alloy boat.

First and foremost if it moves it will wear, in a quinnie tinnie you should be concerned about this especially if you have a multi roller trailer. Tie it down very hard, make sure all roller or skid supports are very tight and stop regularly to check they haven't broken.

Tie down straps and buckles will wear through the hull quickly and carpet or linings will not stop this, if it moves it will wear tie it down tight.

The boat will still move on the trailer so support your motor from the boat if you can rather than the trailer. make sure it's pretty high otherwise protect the prop and gearcasing as these can get a real belting from stones.

take two spare tyres on wheels, one set of spare springs and hangers (if leaf), don't overload the boat it's not a trailer. Take spare wheel bearings and seals pre - packed with grease is best and make sure you have the tools and know how to change these on the side of the road.

Dirt is the path to excellent fishing and heartbreak for those who love their boats - I'd get the quinnie sandblasted before you go to save you all the pain.

Good luck

11-03-2006, 08:08 PM
Dirt is the path to excellent fishing and heartbreak for those who love their boats - I'd get the quinnie sandblasted before you go to save you all the pain.

;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D good one Ed

11-03-2006, 09:48 PM
Geez Deelight, sounds like you do some serious trips, but everything you say sounds like excellent advice.

One point I can reinforce is DON'T OVERLOAD YOUR BOAT - IT IS NOT A TRAILER!

Did a trip to Cape York a few years ago and you wouldn't believe the number of damaged tinines caused by a combination of the rough roads and using the boat to cart the camping gear.

On a trip like that, space is at a premium and the temptation is obvious - Dont do it. Particularly on dirt roads and tracks where the trailer gets a bit of a bounce up (not always down to the driver - you should see the corrogations up there).

Imagine the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you cart the boat half way across the country only to find the welds holding the bracing to the hull have all broken and ripped holes in the hull in the process. If you're lucky enough to avoid this, you might just get some bloody great dents sticking out the bottom of your pride and joy, which may or may not be serious enough to let some water in. Not only have you done serious damage to the boat - in the worst case scenario you have to go home without going fishing - TRAGEDY!! [smiley=bigcry.gif] [smiley=bigcry.gif] [smiley=bigcry.gif]

Another question I'd like to throw out there, Deelight mentioned tying boat down hard on the multi rollers if you have them. I have heard that rollers can damage the bottom of a tinny pretty easily, if you were contemplating a rough trip, would there be merit in changing the rollers to skids, or is this just a personal preference thing?

12-03-2006, 07:55 AM
I lived in Mount Isa for many years and my favourite fishing places involved lots of dirt driving. One of the local dams, Lake Julius, is a fantastic natural sooty fishery and a lovely dam to boot. Only problem was the 90 odd klms of totally garabage dirt road in. Some of the lessons learnt towing boats around the gulf are-
*Keep as little in the boat as possible. It may damage your boat, but it will also move around the joint and go everywere as the boat and trailer bounce around.
*You can never have enough rollers under your boat. For example, my 3.8m v-nose tinny had a total of 8 rollers under it, wereas a normal boat trailer for this size has about 3.
*Weld rollers and skids in place, as these will move if just the bolt in place type.
*If you can, cover your boat. Some people "gladwrap" their boat
*Check how your mudguards are held on. Most commercial trailer have these fall off. We can tell when new people have been to some of our spots by the gaurds left on the side of the road.
*We found that straps over the boat and pulled tight can cause cracks in the hull. We used a peice of wood that fitted the entire width of the boat and put the strap over that. This makes the strap pull straight down, not inwards as the boat flexes. Another way is to have a strap for each side that fits over the edge of the boat.
*Use a cover at the front of the boat on the trailer if you can, to protect the boat. Usually do this with a metal frame with shade cloth inners. Also cover the motor leg as well. If you use the full mud flaps, which I did, make sure that it doesn't touch the ground, even when the vehicle is fully loaded. If it does, it will also flick rocks up at the boat.
*Slow down
*Slow down, cannot repeat this enough. There is no rush, allow extra time for the trip and if it is a bad road, reguarly stop and check the straps, etc around the boat.

These measures are for some pretty bad roads, little traffic, graded once a year if that, lots of wash outs and through very stoney country.
Hope it helps