Skipper and I have trailered and cartopped our assortment of boats from an 8′ punt up to a 22′ Catalina to and from a lot of launch sites across the country, so we know our way around more than a tie-down or two. We have used rope and several different types of webbing straps with varying levels of success and have recently come across an answer for all of our tie-down needs: purpose-made straps from CustomTieDowns.A well-designed strap for a small boat will secure the load without damaging the boat. We have come to prefer straps of 2″-wide webbing because they distribute loads evenly across the decks and gunwales of lightly-built small boats. A common ratchet strap with 1″ webbing can easily be overtightened and exert forces up to 2,000 lbs across a small contact area. If a narrow strap concentrates too much of a load in the wrong spot, it can damage not only the finish but even the structure of the boat.

Photographs by the authors

A set of 2″ polyester straps provide a strong connection to the trailer while spreading the load out over the points of contact.

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