The general rule of thumb is that you can choose a winch that has a rated capacity of half the weight of your boat, accounting for anything that is on or in the boat while it is being winched.
But the 2-to-1 rule does not always hold, especially if you need to winch irregularly.
With a set of proper rollers and shorter winching distances, you can get by with a winch with a load capacity of a third of the weight of your boat.
With poor rollers and longer winching distances, you will need to get a winch with a capacity that roughly matches the weight of your boat.
Refer to the table below for examples of boat weights and the winch capacity you will need.
Table 1 – Minimum, Ideal, and Maximum Recommended Winch Sizes For Boat Weights
|Boat Weight (lbs)||Min. Winch Size (lbs)||Ideal Winch Size (lbs)||Max. Winch Size|
Remember, you need to find a winch that is at or above the capacity you identified from the table above.
For instance, a 2500 lb boat requires a minimum winch size of 850 lbs. Therefore, if you see winches with capacities of 800 lb and 900 lb, the latter would be the one you should opt for.
We hope this guide has helped you understand what size winch you need for your boat.
If you have any questions or comments about this guide or winching boats in general, please feel free to leave them in the section below.