Florida State Boat Trailer Laws

By Kara Chance
Florida has several traffic safety laws that regulate boat trailering.

motorboat image by Dave from Fotolia.com

As a result of its many beautiful water features (such as lakes, bays, inlets, and beaches), many people in Florida enjoy boating and sailing. However, people who want haul their boats on a trailer must follow myriad Florida laws and regulations. Florida law has specific requirements for boat trailers to ensure safe road conditions. For drivers who wish to avoid traffic tickets, careful compliance with these regulations is necessary.

Lighting and Weight Requirements

Before going on a Florida road with a boat trailer, drivers must ensure that trailers have proper rear lighting. This rear lighting includes functioning turn signals, brake lights and tail lights. If a trailer weighs more than 3,000 lbs. (including the boat), the trailer must be equipped with brakes that can stop all wheels on the trailer. If a trailer weighs less than 2,000 lbs. (including the boat), the trailer needs only to be registered with the county tax collector, not with the local DMV office. However, trailers weighing 2,000 lbs. or more must be registered and titled by the DMV like any other vehicle.

Securing the Vehicle

When hauling a boat, all components of the vehicle must be securely fastened. The driver should make sure that safety chains are secured from the boat trailer to the towing vehicle. These chains should be crisscrossed so they can support the trailer's coupler if it is disconnected from the towing vehicle during travel. The safety chains must be strong enough to support the weight of the boat, its engine and the trailer. The boat must also be tied down to the trailer securely before towing starts. If a vehicle is stopped by police, the police can inspect these chains and tie-down straps to make sure that they are secure.


Florida has laws that regulate the maximum size of a boat trailer on a Florida road. These regulations ensure that other cars can safely pass a boat trailer and that there will be no obstruction of traffic. The maximum length that a boat trailer can be is 48 feet. The maximum length of the vehicle hauling the trailer plus the attached trailer is 60 feet. The maximum width of the trailer is 8 feet, 6 inches. The maximum height of the boat plus the trailer is 13 feet, 6 inches. The maximum distance that a boat can hang over the back of a boat trailer is 3 feet.

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Kara Chance is currently a researcher and legal assistant. She started writing professionally in 2002, and her articles have appeared in "Business Wire," "Ecology Law Quarterly" and the "Daily O'Collegian." She has a Master of Arts in English from University College-Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Oklahoma State University.

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