Tips To Consider Before Buying Electric Boat Winch

Whenever the need for launching and retrieving the electric boat arises, the winch proves quite handy. It lifts, pulls, and positions the boat no matter how much kilos it weighs. If you are on a hunt for an electric boat winch, you need to consider a number of factors.

What is the size of your boat? Do you need a manual winch or an electric winch? In which type of water your boat is launched and retrieved in? Based upon your answer, make your selection from different types of winches.

Let’s have an in-depth look to get well-acquainted with the types of electric boat winches, tips to choose the perfect winch, and some safety tips to be borne in mind to ensure the longevity of the winches.

Depending upon your boat’s length and weight, there are two types of winches to choose from- Manual Winch and Electric Winch. Know about them in detail.

Types of Boat Winch

Manual Winch

This type of winch relies on hand-cranked method in which the crank pulls the line in to be stored on the drum. Below are its specifications.

  • It encompasses a ratchet to hold the boat at any point on the trailer so it doesn’t slide back into the water.

  • The operator can retrieve the boat using a crank that is about foot long and works on a gearing method.

  • Its gearbox comes in three types of speeds- 1:1, 3:1, and above 5:1. The first speed is used for winding up the line once the boat has been launched into the water. While the second type of speed proves effective for pulling lighter boats onto the trailer and the third speed pulls a heavier boat onto the trailer without the assistance of water. This ratio multiplies your strength.

Electric Winch

This type of winch negates the need for a crank handle and shuns muscle power too. It promises high performance and is quite easy to use by the operator. Have a look at its specifications

  • It encompasses a 12-volt battery that uses variable-speed high gear ratios.

  • It also employs rugged DC motors that powers in and freewheel out

  • With smooth pulling action and less amperage draw, it has an advantage over the manual winch.

  • With a high cost, it guarantees numerous additional benefits. Therefore, one must choose an electric winch or manual winch.

  • It minimises the risk of accident and hull damage.

  • It operates quickly than a manual winch therefore launching and retrieving process becomes effective and efficient.

  • It comes handy especially when the weight of your boat is high.

Tips to Choose Electric Boat Winch

Choose your electric boat winch carefully while taking a plethora of considerations into account.

Tips to Choose Electric Boat Winch

  • When deciding the winch, consider the Safe Working Load (SWL) capacity and the weight of your boat. In addition to just an empty hull, it must constitute the weight of your motor, fuel and equipment. It is recommended to choose a winch with a capacity rating of at least 3/4th the combined weight of your boat, motor, fuel and its equipment.

  • On what type of ramp you launch your boat? If the ramp is steep, you require a bigger capacity winch. For a gentle slope ramp, lightweight winches can also work.

  • Next, trailers equipped with rollers result in less resistance. Therefore, you can choose a smaller winch.

  • Boats with less weight can use a manual winch with a 3:1, 4:1 or 5:1 gear ratio. Whereas, for heavy boats, second low-speed winch with a ratio around 16.2:1 is used for increased mechanical advantage.

Safety and Maintenance Tips

If you have owned a winch, you must be familiarized with its safety and maintenance tips and tricks to ensure its long lifespan. Being one of the frequent working parts of your boat and trailer, it requires your concern and care.

Safety and Maintenance Tips

  • What is your boat’s environment in which it is launched and retrieved? Is it freshwater or seawater body? If you use it in the saltwater, its level of maintenance will be different than the one used in the freshwater.

  • After each trip, dry the strap of the winch as a wet strap is bound to deteriorate at a faster rate and put the drum at risk of corrosion.

  • In case of fraying or any wear and tear, it is highly recommended to replace the rope, strap, and cable before it leads to any injury.

  • To keep corrosion at bay, ensure that the winch is galvanized, zinc-plated, powder-coated or aluminium coated. Using a marine grease, lubricate it.

  • When the boat is off the trailer, check the roller to make sure that it is free from any damage. Incase any impairment comes to the light, replace the roller before the onset of the next trip.


The importance of installing a winch can’t be denied. It diminishes the chance of falling overboard and allows to change the boat’s position multiple times. With the manual and electric winch available, you can choose the required type depending upon the weight and length of your boat. Offering multiple benefits, the electric winch has overpowered the manual winch.


Why you need to equip your boat with electric winches?

Electric winches are quite effective for launching and retrieving heavy boats. Despite your boat’s strength, size or physical condition, it can pull or lift effortlessly. A single electric winch is meant to make the difference between sailing and motoring.

Are all electric winches powered in two speeds?

The answer to this is no. Some electric winches are two speed in the manual mode and one speed in the electric.

What maintenance practices are required to ensure the durability of the winch?

Maintenance practices include monitoring the battery charge level, replacing the roller, galvanizing the winch, oiling the pawls and springs, and checking electrical connections.

How to size electric winches?

It is always recommended to size electric winches to the highest load.