View Full Version : Correct trailer position for Boat Buddy Latch

08-26-2004, 02:43 PM
I've heard different opinions and can't seem to get the correct info from the trailer manual, but for the 2004 trailer with the Boat Buddy Latch system, what is the correct way to trailer tow?

Should the pin be through the latch or in the safety position extended out of the latch.

I've been told by one dealer that if you tow the trailer with the pin in the latch then the pin will be bent, but it doesn't seem very safe with only the back straps and front winch strap during towing.

Comments and what others do please.



east tx skier
08-26-2004, 03:08 PM
You'll get opinions on both sides here. The MC manual says leave it engaged as an extra measure of protection. I was told by my dealer to disengage it so it wouldn't get bent by the stresses placed upon it during towing.

My advice would be to disengage it and have an extra strap or chain connecting your bow eye to the trailer. I'd also recommend a strap over the top of the boat just behind the engine box connecting to the eyes on the trailer. My $.02.

08-26-2004, 03:17 PM
I leave mine engaged all the time. I have had 2 MC PS 190's, both with Boat Buddies, since 1991, and I have never had any problems with the pin getting bent. Perhaps it's luck, but I don't think so. I have a fairly steep ramp, and have had some inexperienced drivers in the tow vehicle pull me out of the water pretty agressively. I would think that would be the most extreme pressure on the pin that could happen (other than an accident). Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't there only be excessive pressure on the pin during agressive forward acceleration (or hard stop while in reverse), or while pulling the boat out of the water.

I often wonder how many of the stories about bent pins are a result of improperyly engaged pins during loading. in other words, leaving the pin closed and coming into it with the boat eye. That could certainly bend it.

08-26-2004, 03:32 PM
I leave mine engaged all the time as well. I agree with Chris on the bent pins theory... :eek:

08-26-2004, 03:57 PM
I have always towed with it engaged. The wench strap should take enough pressure off the pin.

east tx skier
08-26-2004, 03:58 PM
Chris, I think you're right on most bent pins. My father-in-law bent his that way.

Even so, were I still using the boat buddy, I'd be disengaging it and using something else as a backup. If things get truly hairy on the highway, that little pin isn't going to save the boat. There is zero chance of bending it while underway if it's not engaged. Not to say that your theory about the possibility of it being bent isn't perfectly plausible. No matter which side of the aisle you're on on this issue, I think everyone can agree that the winch isn't enough by itself and the more fail safe devices employed, the better.

Like I said, this question will continue to draw responses on both sides of the issue.

08-26-2004, 08:39 PM
When I bought my '95 Prostar 190, the salesman told me to leave the pin in, so I did, and the bow eye literally wore through the pin in one season. When I took the Boat Buddy back to the dealer, the (new) salesperson said that the proper protocol was to only use it to pull the boat out of the water. They replaced it, and I've had no more problems until this month, when it ceased working. I think some of the recovery evolutions were kind of aggressive, since the pin is now bent, and won't trip the slider catch. I guess 10 years is pretty good working life for a slam-bang mechanical device. I'm going to replace it.

08-26-2004, 08:49 PM
I have always left mine engaged and never had a problem. I try to make sure it is in the middle of the eye. I pull up with the strap, never been able to make the boat buddy work like it should. I think I'm just afraid to drive the boat while on the trailer (story of boat through the back window :eek: )

08-26-2004, 08:52 PM
I do the same thing Leroy. Well after I drive on.

08-26-2004, 09:31 PM
I leave the pin engaged. Also, I cannot say enough superlatives about the boat buddy. I changed from that ridiculous bar contraption on the 1980's trailer to the boat buddy. It's like going from dial-up to cable internet!

Michael Epp
08-26-2004, 11:32 PM
I also leave mine engaged and have not had a problem (lots of towing; launching / loading). Before I give the command to pull the boat out of the water I always lean over the bow and attach the strap hook and crank it tight. I don't think the pin ever rests against the bow hook after I've snugged up the hook.

08-26-2004, 11:40 PM
I too leave the pin in while towing and have not had a problem yet. I usually take the boat in and out of the water 5 times a week...when the weather's nice :D

08-27-2004, 04:06 PM
A little WD-40 on the mechinisms a couple of times a year do wonders for ease of operation.

River Rat
08-27-2004, 05:00 PM
I just got my MC but have been a boat owner for a long time. My pin stays disengaged any time my boat is on the highway (my boat ramp is only 100 yards from home). I use a ratchet strap on the front eye and one across the transom. Some people have told me this is overkill butt years ago taking me new Ski Brendella home I happened to look in the rearview just as I hit a bump and saw my boat come 2" or better off the trailer. :eek: (The dealer told me I didn't need a transom strap) If for some reason the winch strap comes loose that pin will bend or worse. There is no such thing as to much protection for my boat. Just my 2 cents.

east tx skier
08-27-2004, 05:06 PM
Couldn't agree more. Tie 'er down!

lakes Rick
08-27-2004, 09:40 PM
Is every one talking about a rear strap that goes clear over the top of the boat to tie on each side??

Can you get one that is REAL SOFT on one side to prevent any chafing on the glass or upholstery??

east tx skier
08-28-2004, 01:41 PM
Rick, that's what I'm talking about. If you look at the picture in my gallery of my boat from the rear, you can see the red strap across the back just behind the motor box. I cut some tube socks (take your shot Andre) and slid them over the strap so they wouldn't rub the boat. Those sheepskin seat belt pads would work nicely, too, I suspect.

08-28-2004, 05:26 PM
I'm curious to know how the pin would bend when the span across the opening is as small as it is. Anything that would bend or break that pin would definitely be a problem for the strap, especially if it's old and has often been in direct sunlight. I had customers get run off the road and have never seen one bend or break. The chance of the boat moving very far with the strap tight is small enough. If the pin is engaged too, it's not going anywhere.

08-28-2004, 10:04 PM
Wow, I've been lurking for a few weeks and haven't been inspired to jump on a thread until now. I can't explain it, but my boat buddy bent last year and I am still flustered with it. My dealer has tried to 'fix' it a couple of times, but with no luck. Now it doesn't match up with the hole on the far side and it makes me nervous to go too far relying only on the strap. You guys are just making me more nervous. :(

08-28-2004, 10:49 PM
I leave the pin in, it secures the boat kinda like the old bar design that all of us hated. Even with the bar, the hook secured the bar to the boat. I believe the buddy was designed to leave the pin in. I will NOT even think about disengaging it before launching. If you travel without it, you are relying on the winch to secure the boat. No thanks. You should be able to get a new pin. I don't see the need for a strap with this type of boat but the added protection can't hurt.

08-29-2004, 12:48 AM
The main reasons I like trailers with bunks is that they distribute the load over a greater area whether the boat is resting or on the road and there's not much chance the boat is going to slide backward. If the trailer has rollers and the strap or winch breaks, kiss it goodbye. If the pin bent, it may have been rusty(not accusing anyone here, but it happens) and it was binding enough to not slide closed completely, then bent after a series of hard bumps on the road. If it looks like it bent up and toward the rear of the boat with the bolt in the trailering position, this sounds logical. If it bent toward the tongue, it was in the trailering position, but not closed completely when the bow eye hit it.

If the Boat Buddy is well lubrcated and slides freely in and out of position, any force that's not truly excessive won't have much effect on it. I think parts are available for these, too. If not, you may know of a mechanic with a hydraulic press who can straighten it for you.

I feel a lot safer with a boat on bunks than on rollers as long as the strap is OK whether it has a Boat Buddy on it or not.

08-29-2004, 09:14 PM
I leave mine unlatched during tow......I had heard about them bending but my biggest reason was that its a pain in the butt to get the pin out if the boat slides back. At least when the bunks are wet you can crank the boat forward some. When dry its a pain in the butt to move the boat forward to unlatch.


08-30-2004, 10:13 AM
While the trailer is still backed into the water - after the buddy has latched, I hook up the strap & pull the boat forward so it's not resting on the pin of the buddy anymore. Leave the buddy engaged as a "safety" & pull out.

As far as the boat's not moving around much - I followed a buddy to the ramp one day. 10 mph (It's a 10 mph zone & I did look at my speedo in my tow vehicle), going around turns both ways, his boat slid from one current rail to the other. I always knew these boats slide, but didn't realize how easy it was to make them slide!

Point being - always have a safety!

08-30-2004, 11:08 AM
I leave my Boat Buddy pin engaged -- not really a conscious thing - it snaps in when the boat is nice and snug, so I just leave it that way. As long as winch strap and your tie downs are nice and tight, it's not going to get bent.

east tx skier
08-30-2004, 11:35 AM
Whether you leave the pin engaged or not, a strap over the back is far from a bad idea. I'm not worried so much with the boat sliding around, but rather vertical motion for those large, unexpected bumps in the road. I, too, have followed a MC down the highway and have seen some air between boat and bunk.

08-30-2004, 12:06 PM
I was one who mentioned I knew two people who bent their boat buddy pins.

Well...... after further inquiry, I got less than difinitive answers. :confused: One guy has a 23 foot Malibu and the SBT trailer flexes all over the place. It has several recalls, tongue jack too weak/small, torsion suspension. This trailer was not designed for a boat that big. He may have bent his like JimN said, the pin not fully engaged. The other guy that told me he bent his pin probably didn't, he just gave some lame comments about bad design, sticking and not working, so he took the pin out. :rolleyes:

08-30-2004, 02:57 PM
If vertical movement is an issue, transom straps are good, too. Much better than a single long strap over the back, resting on and potentially damaging the upholstery.

east tx skier
08-30-2004, 03:16 PM
I haven't employed transom ties to date as they're a pain to get in between the platform and the boat (and I don't want to put stress on the platform by going around it). The strap I use is rated for 8,000 lbs and runs behind the motor box. It doesn't touch any upholstery. Where it touches the gel coat, I have thick cotton socks with the toes cut out (ha ha) that I run the strap through (although I've often considered using sheepskin seat belt pads for this.