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Old 07-19-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
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Using Motorhome to launch 18' pontoon boat?

I've seen some discussion but am still unsure of this topic. I have 20 years of experience launching boats/pontoons. I am a new RV owner and currently own a 18' pontoon sitting on a cradle style trailer. Can anyone share their experience or cautions on this? I'm scared to death.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:34 PM   #2
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Having trailer boated for many years with cars and trucks, and seen quite a few ramp problems through the years, I'd be scared too. One thing to get another boater to help pull your stranded rig out when you can't get traction on your car/truck, but I doubt anyone would volunteer for a large rig.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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Not a pontoon but a 20' Cuddy Cabin. On my previous 34' M/H I installed a front hitch........mainly to keep the drive wheels on solid ground at unpaved launch ramps.
I'd think a pontoon would be easy as the width helps keep both sides in sight when backing up.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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It's going to be the ramp that would determine whether I would try it or not, and unless it was a fairly shallow ramp, I would not try it by myself.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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On our first rig (81 Titan) we put a hitch on the front end. We could launch and retrieve our 20 ft bayliner Capri very easily and never worried about traction issues. We have a 24 ft party barge right now but wouldn't even consider trying to take it down a ramp forward or backward. Too risky for me, if we wanted a houseboat we would have bought one.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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It should be no problem. I launch a 23 ft boat and others with our 40ft Holiday Rambler. Unless the ramp is at a really steep angle it is like any other vehicle and the extra weight of the RV helps to maintain traction. Never had a problem unless you don't have a backup camera and have trouble backing a trailer. Good Luck.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:26 PM   #7
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No different hooking up to assist pulling out with a vehcile if you don't have the traction. Don't hesitate to ask. I once pulled an 18 wheeler out of a ditch when he accidentally put one of his drive wheels in the muddy area. I had a Chevy 1 ton pickup and a chain. Hooked up and pulled him with no problem. It is amazing what just a little tug will do when someone is "stuck."

However, I have seen a video with a MH backing a boat and the boat and MH went in the water. I sure would not attempt it.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:40 PM   #8
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Did it a number of times with a 21ft glass and a 16ft aluminum. If in salt, I wait for high tide. Otherwise no problems. I hate maintaining boat trailer brakes and repacking wheel brearings so I always launch and retrieve with minimum water over the trailer which helps keep the rear wheels of the motorhome out of the slick part of a ramp, particularly with the long rear overhang of most motorhomes. I see these guys back the rear end of their pickup into the water just to avoid having to winch the boat on and shake my head.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:40 PM   #9
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I do it with my 17.5 runabout no problems, however I would not attempt it unless it was, as mentioned, a shallow ramp and one that I'm familiar with. I've seen enough ramps that are a challenge with a pick up so I think prior knowledge is very important before attempting with a motorhome.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:12 PM   #10
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Launching a Ranger Reata 1850 with 150 Yamaha four stroke with a 31 for Class C with V10 No problems... Like Submustang says the overhang of my Class C keeps the drive wheels dry..
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:16 PM   #11
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