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Author Topic:   State Highway Width Restrictions
dcritch posted 06-04-2005 12:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for dcritch   Send Email to dcritch  
Are special permits required if [the width of your highway vehicle] exceeds 8-feet 6-inches? Do the [highway regulations] change from state to state?

A friend told me that if you trailer frequently it's a good idea not to exceed 8-foot 6-inch width. The question came up as we were looking at the Conquest 235 (beam 8-foot 6-inch) and the Conquest 255 (8-foot 9-inch). In Washington State and Vancouver, British Columbia, I use the ferries. I know length is a major factor in ticket cost, but what about width? With my 170 MONTAUK, width has not been a concern.

fishgutz posted 06-04-2005 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishgutz  Send Email to fishgutz     
In most, if not all states the max width is 8'6". It went up from 8' several year ago. Boats 8'6" and under are considered "trailerable". Those over must get a permit and are generally not said to be "trailerable". Hope this helps.

8'6" is the magic number.

dcritch posted 06-04-2005 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for dcritch  Send Email to dcritch     
Thanks for the information.I guess if one wants twin engines on a trailerable boat new Conquests are out of the equation.I don't think twin engines are an option on the 235 conquest. If this is true it helps explain part of reason why there are so many Gradys on Puget Sound. It appears they have three cuddy cabin fishing boats in the 23 to 27 foot length with an 8'6" beam and twins as an option. I don't know if twins are a big issue in this size range but seems like a popular setup.
Chuck Tribolet posted 06-04-2005 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
A buddy of mine with a Montauk 170 has two-footitis (actually
more like five-footitis) and is looking for a boat with a
cuddy and twins. Nothing for him in the current whaler line.


Sheila posted 06-04-2005 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
I believe that if you search Google for Trailer Boat magazine, you can find a listing of each state's trailering regulations.
dcritch posted 06-05-2005 01:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for dcritch  Send Email to dcritch     
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check out Trailer boat magazine.
jimh posted 06-05-2005 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you want to discover the toll rate for a particular ferry and how it varies by width, contact the operator of the ferry. In general, over-wide vehicles are charged a premium. Height is also an important factor in determining cost of transportation on a ferry. A large boat like a CONQUEST is likely to be considered over-height on a ferry.

As for highway regulations and maximum width:

I do not know this for a fact, and I cannot cite any particular evidence, but I have been told the following account. Historically there was a highway limit on trailer width that was about 8-feet. For this reason, most trailerable boats tended to have a beam that was 8-feet or less. If you look at the classic Boston Whaler boat hulls which were designed c.1970-1980, you see that the maximum beam was generally less than 8-feet.

At some point, presumably around c.1990, there was a move to unify state regulations and to increase the width to 8-feet 6-inches. As a result, many boat designs grew in width. They still tend to be designed to a maximum beam of 8-feet 6-inches if the boat is considered to be likely to be used as a trailerable boat.

This may all be bunk. Anyone know more about this history?

kglinz posted 06-05-2005 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     
I guess you're not going to get a Washington member response. Washington max width is 8'6". You can permit for $10 a trip or $20 for thirty days. You are required all the signs and flags if you permit. You legally need county permits if you leave the state roads. All states are different as far a rules and permit fees. If you're just going from your house or a storage in Everett to the ramp you should just permit, flag and go. There are some curfew restrictions that extend as far north as Everett. Basically if you go south you can't tow during rush hours if over 10'. There's a charge for overwidth on a ferry, which is explained on the Washington Ferry website. I've never towed in BC but it could be a problem. A trailer manufacture in Richmond says trailer surge brakes do not comply with Canadian requirments. I'm told that a private individual can't tow a wide load in Canada, but I'm not sure that's true. The Washington permits are a minor thing. Don't let the width keep you from buying the boat you want.

Kemp Lindsey/Boise,Idaho

6992WHALER posted 06-05-2005 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I owned a boat transport company for 10 years. No one will ever be able to tell that your boat is 3 inches over width. (1.5 inches on each side)
We never worried about permits on any boat under 9 feet. As a private person you usually do not have to stop at weigh stations, and no cop on the road will be able to tell you are 3 inches to wide.
The widest part of most boats is about 1/4 of the way back from the bow. So even if you were pulled over the cop will most likely measure the stern and send you on your way.

Good luck with your boat hunt.

(Legal height is 13’6”, Legal width 8’ 6”)

kingfish posted 06-05-2005 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I did a lot of research on this when I was preparing to trailer our new Parker (28' O.A. x 9'-6") back to Battle Creek MI from Beaufort SC, and then up into Ontario in the Spring of 2001. The 8"-6" width is generally the point beyond which you are legally required to get a permit and take some kind of precautions in transit such as flags on the rear corners, not travelling on some roads and not travelling during some hours.

Each state has its own regulations and can be contacted through the respective Secretary of State, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc. The regulations up to 10' wide are pretty easy to deal with and the permits are pretty inexpensive. Above 10' in width is a whole 'nother matter.

I concure that 3" over the standard is very difficult for anyone to spot; it's more a matter of what your general philosophy is regarding those kinds of things.

There are commercial agencies out there which are in the business of getting permits for truckers and other interested individuals, and who are used to dealing in a very efficient way with the various bureaucracies involved in interstate hauling; you send the agency your route and schedule and for a very modest fee they will procure your permits and fax them to you along with any and all regulations for each state through which you pass.

As JimH said, you would need to contact the ferry company to find out what their regulations and fees are.


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