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How To Tow Your Boat, Adhering To Legal Requirements

By 20th Sep 2020Start Boating
  • x different types of boat trailers
  • How to get your trailer licenses: annual?
  • Legal requirements for towing
  • Servicing your trailer

Furthermore, there are road rules and legal requirements for safely towing your boat.

The following terms and definitions apply to the rules surrounding towing on South African roads:

Tare Weight – the weight of an empty vehicle or container.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) – The maximum weight/mass of a vehicle when fully loaded, as indicated by the manufacturer.

Gross Combination Mass (GCM) – the maximum weight that a vehicle can carry including its own weight and that of a trailer, caravan or boat.

The AA explains that if a driver possesses the standard Code B license, they are permitted to only tow un-braked trailers lighter than 750 kilograms when fully laden. To tow anything heavier than 750 kilograms, a Code EB license is required. An EB license is issued for light motor vehicles able to draw a trailer or caravan. This license type enables the holder to tow a trailer or caravan with a maximum GVM of 3 500 kilograms. Trailers with a GVM that exceeds 750 kilograms must have overrun brakes installed.

Furthermore, a weight of a fully-loaded car and trailer should not be higher than the manufacturer’s GCM, while the loaded trailer must not surpass its calculated GVM.

Drivers also need to be aware of the tare (license weight) requirements for each load. For trailers weighing 750 kilograms, the tare of the drawing vehicle needs to be twice the weight of the trailer, which means 1 500 kilograms. A six cylinder 2.5-litre BMW 325 Touring, for example, has a tare of 1 425 kilograms, therefore the driver may not tow a 750 kilogram unbraked trailer. In the case of Code EB license holders, the drawing vehicle should have the same weight, or above, as the trailer provided that the trailer is equipped with a parking brake and a service brake.

Drivers who obtained their licenses after the new codes took effect, should also familiarize themselves with additional road traffic legislation with regards to towing. These include speed limits, stopping distance requirements, unique loads restrictions, the towing of more than one trailer, and the transport of passengers. Details of these and more can be found in the National Road Traffic Act.

The Towing Academy says vehicle owners that wish to upgrade their Code B license to a Code EB will need to re-write their learner’s exam and repeat their driver’s license test, as well as prove their ability to tow a trailer or caravan.





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