You wouldn’t want to risk endangering yourself and others on the road, nor would you want to be cited for a towing infraction! Continue reading to learn the basic boat towing trailer laws in Indiana and its adjacent states.
Trailer Laws for Boats
There are three aspects to consider when it comes to boat trailer laws: 1) width, 2) brakes, and 3) weight. The laws surrounding these aspects vary among states, so it is best to review the particular state trailer laws for any borders you might cross on your trip.
⚓ Trailer Width
In virtually every state, there are no laws requiring drivers to have a wide-load permit if the trailer width is under 102 inches (8 feet 6 inches), including any guideposts. However, there are a few states that do require such permits even if the width is within these limits. For instance, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii restrict this limit to 96 inches, or 8 feet. While North Carolina only requires a wide-load permit for trailers exceeding 120 inches (10 feet) wide. Even if you are only traveling through one state that requires wide-load permits, you will need to acquire the permit to remain legal at all times on your trip.
⚓ Trailer Brakes
There are only 7 states that do not require trailer brakes when towing a boat. These include Kentucky, Oregon, Missouri, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Although these states do not require a braking system connected to your boat trailer, they do have restrictions. For instance, in Kansas, your vehicle and trailer must be able to come to a complete stop within 40 feet while driving at 20 miles per hour. If it cannot, then you would need to install a braking system. Similarly, in Oregon, if your trailer is carrying more than 8 tons, it would need to be able to come to a complete stop at 20 miles per hour, within 35 feet.
⚓ Trailer Weight
If a trailer weight exceeds a certain weight, state laws will require your trailer to have brakes. Although the weight limits vary among states, the average weight limit is 3,000 pounds. Trailers carrying more than 3 tons are required to have a legitimate braking system, including lights, set up with their towing vehicle. States with limits lower than 3,000 pounds include Georgia (2500 pounds), Mississippi and Ohio (2000 pounds), and Idaho (1500 pounds).