How to Transport a Pedal Boat

As pedal boats are expensive and need extra care, the inattentive nature to transportation can cause a downturn in their performance and durability. I also made the same mistake, but thankfully, my boat is still in tip-top condition, and that’s all because of my partner Sam.

Proper transportation of pedal boats eliminates the risk of crashing. As a result, you will get your watercraft in its best shape at your new place.

Transporting a pedal boat is usually easy and involves a few basic steps. The major one includes loading, driving the vehicle/trailer to the destination, and unloading your boat. Here’s what Sam explained to me about how to transport a pedal boat:

How to Transport a Pedal Boat – Step by Step

The best way to transport a boat is to use a pedal boat trailer. It is specifically designed to transport these vessels and allows easy loading, launching, and unloading.

If you also don’t have access to a trailer then, I would advise you to opt for a professional shipping service to transport your water vehicle without damaging your expensive watercraft. 

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However, if you are not willing to pay some dollars, you can also move your pedalo in your truck bed, car roof, or truck roof. Here’s how to transport a pedal boat properly:

  • Prepare your pedal boat for transportation
  • Load the pedal boat on a trailer
  • Drive the trailer to the destination
  • Unload the pedal boat

4 Best Ways to Transport a Pedal Boat

My pedal boat weighs around 90 lbs, so Sam and I didn’t face too much trouble putting it on top of my little SUV. While we figured out the best method, plenty of other ways to transport a pedal boat are available. You have to find an approach that aligns with your needs and preferences. Here are some best ways to transport a pedal boat:

In a Truck Bed

If you have a truck roomy enough to fit a pedal boat, you have within your grasp a ready-made pedal boat transport system.

As pedal boats usually have a width of 64 inches, they will not sit flat on the floor of a pickup truck. Depending on your boat and truck bed size, your boat will likely lean on one side of the bed.

Carrying a boat in a truck bed is completely fine as long as you are going to travel short distances. But if you have to move over rough roads or cover long distances, you must add a sheet of plywood under your pedal boat. It will act as a support material, keeping your pedal boat safe and in one position, even on extreme turnovers.

On a Trailer

A small flatbed trailer may be the best yet easiest way to transport a pedal boat. You can easily load and unload your watercraft.

In fact, if you are unable to launch the boat, there’s an alternate method to do that. And it is to launch the boat straight into the water. You can do that by backing down the launch ramp. However, it is advisable to have a skilled pilot in the boat to steer it to shore or a dock.

pedal boat on trailer

Commonly, a 4×6 or 4×8 trailer size is preferred for transporting a pedal boat. While it’s a bit expensive, you can opt for a used one available in the market at $5 to $600.

Many experts declare this route as the clear winner when it comes to pedal boat transportation. However, as I don’t have access to a trailer, there is no option left for me except one, and that’s the top of my little SUV.

On the Roof of Your Car

Transporting pedal boats on top of trucks, cars, or SUVs is possible. Even I picked the same route, and my partner Sam explained a vital consideration before transportation.

Consider Roof Rack Capacity

You will need to check the capacity of your vehicle’s roof rack. If it can hold up the weight of your pedal boat, make it your transport companion.

pedal boat on truck roof

In general, most non-electric pedal boats can weigh anywhere from 100 to 130 lbs. You may be upset to know that this weight limit is beyond the capacity of most roof racks.

The capacity of the roof rack or rail defines how much weight it can hold up. While most racks can handle the more static weight when the vehicle stands still, the maximum capacity includes stopping power, crosswinds, accelerating force, etc.

For instance, the roof rack capacity on my Toyota land cruiser is around 102 lbs. As I was exactly on edge with my 98 lbs pedal boat, I don’t take it on freeways or drive faster than 50 mph.

Opt for a Shipping Service

If you want to avoid the hassle of moving your pedal boat from one place to another, pay for shipping services. A good boat shipping company will transport your pedal boat to your new home safely and in one piece. It can cost you some dollars, as the company will take away all your moving troubles.

Still, you have to prepare your pedal boat for transportation. It involves loading, unloading, and removing the motor or additional water accessories. Remember, if you opt for hiring services of a shipping company, then you have to register the pedal boat as it is necessary for many aspects such as for insurance purposes and also if you intend to rent out your pedal boat and earn some extra bucks.

Loading a Pedal Boat From a Car Roof

I wish I had a video of the time when Sam and I were loading the boat in our land cruiser. While these watercraft aren’t too heavy, they can be awkward and big for two people to winch up over their heads. Luckily, I have my family members along my side, and I recruit them for help. Here’s how to load a pedal boat on a car roof:

  • Lift the pedal boat to your SUV’s top and place it along with the roof rack or rail. Be sure to put it in the exact center of the top.
  • Attach the boat’s carrier or cradle to the roof rack. These carriers will hold the boat tightly throughout the entire journey. 
  • Use straps or ropes to secure the boat to the carrier. Ensure the boat is snugly attached and won’t shift during transport.

If you are unable to get the pedal boat in the air and don’t have people nearby for help, you should find an alternate method of transportation. Often, people who struggle with the loading process set up a pulley mechanism in their garage. It allows them to load or unload their boat easily. However, the idea wouldn’t work at the lake or sea though.

Unloading a Pedal Boat From a Car Roof

Unloading refers to packing out your watercraft from a car roof. While it is a difficult task compared to other transport methods, a bunch of two or three people can perform it easily. All you need is just a little technique and power. Here’s how to unload a pedal boat from a car roof:

  • Use a sturdy ladder to climb up the top of your car. Ensure the ladder is stable and strong enough to hold plenty of weight.
  • Remove any straps or ropes attached to the boat to secure it. Carefully unwind and remove them, being careful not to let the boat shift or tip.
  • With the help of a buddy, lift the pedal boat off the roof rack and slowly lower it to the ground. Make sure to keep the boat level and balanced as you lower it.

When unloading your pedalo onto a dock or pier, it is important to exercise caution and handle the boat with care. Even a minor slip-up in this process could result in unsightly surface damage.

Pedal Boat Vs Paddle Boat: Which One is Easy to Transport Over All Methods?

As mentioned earlier, a trailer is considered an ideal option to transport a paddle/pedal boat. If you don’t have easy access to a trailer, then you can choose your car’s roof as a transport option. However, this statement is true as long as your vehicle’s roof contains a stable rack and anchor points. These extra accessories will ensure the safety of your boat throughout the whole journey.

As paddle boats are lighter than pedal boats, you can lift them up on your vehicle without much effort. It means that transporting a paddle boat is easier than a pedal boat, whether on a trailer, truck bed, or car roof rack.

Pedal Boat Weight Limit for Different Ways of Transportation

Pedal boat weight and transportation have a deep relation. For instance, if you are carrying a boat in the truck bed, you need to know the weight of the boat and the capacity of the truck bed to ensure a safe journey. It’s like a high-wire act, but with a bit of preparation and caution, you can transport your boat with ease.

Generally speaking, a 4×8 trailer can hold a weight limit of up to 1600 lbs, and that’s enough for most pedal boat models. Even non-electric pedal boats, which are usually heavier than regular ones, can fit in easily. While a trailer should be your top priority to transport a boat, many other options are also available.

In general, a truck bed can easily hold the weight of a pedal boat. Here are some truck models considering sun dolphin pedal boat fit in truck bed:

  • Ford F-150
  • Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • GMC Canyon

All these models can hold the weight of a sun dolphin four or five-seater pedal boat easily. However, it heavily depends on the boat’s size and weight and the bed’s capacity.

Similarly, most cars or SUVs’ roof racks or rails have enough space and capacity to hold the averagely weighted pedal boats. Even I used the same route and didn’t face many issues, as Sam checked all the weight limits and compatibility.

4 Tips to Transport Your Pedal Boat Safely

Now that you know how you are going to move your pedalo, it’s time for a few safety measures to bounce in your head:

Remove the Cover

Never transport your pedal boat with a cover. The purpose of a cover is to protect your boat from harmful UVs and rainwater. These factors do not matter while you’re transporting your boat. Instead, the cover can fly off the car or trailer.

Be Careful About Fragile Parts

Sam was talking to his friend, who rents out his pedal boat on the basis of hours. He mentioned replacing the pedal system eight times in the past two years.

While pedal boat replacement parts aren’t hard to find, it doesn’t permit you to be inattentive toward your boat.

Ensure Your Boat is Secure

If your boat isn’t secure, it can pose a significant risk to your boat’s exterior and possibly your vehicle. The unsecured load can damage your and others’ property as well.

It’s a fact that all dads have probably pulled on a rope or tie-down that’s holding something in place and confidently said, “Yep, that’s secure.” This act is like a tradition or ceremonial ritual.

Check the Tires of Your Vehicle

If you want to ensure a smooth and safe trip with your pedal boat, don’t overlook the importance of checking your vehicle’s tires. This crucial step can make all the difference in preventing accidents and avoiding unexpected breakdowns on the road.

Before hitting the road, ensure your tires are in good condition with adequate tread and proper inflation. Also, be mindful of the weight capacity of your tires and avoid overloading them. 

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

What is required for transporting a boat on top of a truck?

It is possible to transport a pedal boat on your truck’s roof with the right equipment, such as roof racks or a specialized boat carrier. However, it’s vital to ensure that the boat is securely fastened and does not exceed the weight limit of your vehicle’s roof.

Can you put a paddle boat or pedal boat on top of a car?

If you have the proper equipment, you can transport a paddle boat or pedal boat on top of your car. You’ll need roof racks, anchor points, or a boat carrier specifically designed to carry boats. 

Will a pedal boat fit in a truck?

Yes, a pedalo is a boat that fits in a truck bed. However, you have to cross-check the weight limits to ensure safety.

Can you put a paddle boat or pedal boat in your truck bed?

You can put a pedal boat or paddle boat in a truck bed for transportation. You can use tie-down straps or bungee cords to keep the boat in place during transport. Removing any detachable parts, such as the seats or oars, is also recommended to prevent damage during transport.

Conclusion – How to Transport a Pedal boat Conveniently

I have provided clear insights on how to transport a pedal boat, as guided by my partner Sam. Transporting a pedal boat is not rocket science; it’s a fairly easy process if done correctly. You have to find a method that works best for you.

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