Relocating a boat onshore may seem like a lot of work, and it is. If you live away from the ocean, you’ll need to use a trailer to transport your craft, and strapping it down is essential for its safety. That’s why you need to find the best boat transom tie-down straps.
We recommend that you invest in a good quality product because this is a matter of safety for your vessel, but also for you and people who are on the road with you. Many boaters try to go with cheap alternatives because they have too much trust in their trailers. However, that is not enough, and that’s why we have prepared several boat transom tie-down straps reviews.
You don’t have to go through trial and error that may end up too costly. We have done the testing and product research for you. Keep reading, and by the end, you will know the essential features boat tie-down straps must-have.
Best Boat Tie Down Straps Comparison Chart
Seamander Tie-Down Straps
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Meili 2 Piece Boat Winch Strap Adjustable Boat Tie Down Straps
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BoatBuckle Kwik-Lok Tie-Down Straps
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BoatBuckle Retractable Tie-Downs
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AutoRetract Marine Strap Tie by DC Cargo Mall
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Fulton Retractable Ratchet Tie Down
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Boat Tie-Down Straps Reviews (Editors’ Picks)
Just a quick note before we begin. The following reviews are in no particular order or hierarchy. We’ve listed them in the sequence at which we tested them. So without further ado, here are the reviews on top-selling tie-down straps.
1. Seamander Tie-Down Straps
These tie-down straps from Seamander are fully adjustable and can get down to about 14 – 15 inches. They are two inches wide and four feet long. You can purchase a pack of two or four.
The buckles have padding, so they don’t scratch gel-coat surfaces or paint. What is more, the S-hooks are coated with vinyl, so they do not hurt smooth boat surfaces as well. The boat transom harness is made from heavy-duty materials, but you should check up on them regularly if they have loosened.
You should know that the safest working load for these tie-downs is 400 lbs. Their maximum endurance is for up to 1200 lbs.
- These straps are available in two colors – black or yellow.
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, so you can get a refund if you’re not pleased with the product.
- The Semander belts are resistant to chemicals and rotting.
- The buckles which tighten the straps are weaker than they should be.
2. Meili 2 Piece Boat Winch Strap Adjustable Boat Tie Down Straps
Logistics can be challenging, but that can’t stop you from taking the right safety measures and using a smart approach. The Meili straps will help you with both.
Highly adjustable and thoughtfully designed, these two-piece straps have a breaking strength of up to 1200lb and a working load limit of 400lb. Whether you need to use them to transport a boat of over a ton or a small scooter weighing just 200 pounds, it makes no difference because they will serve you perfectly for both.
Their maximum working length is 36 inches, and the minimum is 15 inches. Any excess length is neatly tucked away and secured with the Velcro retainer strip.
The hooks are coated with vinyl, and the buckles are padded, so you don’t have to worry about damage to whatever it is you are transporting.
- The straps are very adjustable so that you can use not only for boat transportation
- Unconditional 30-day refund if you are unsatisfied with the product
- The buckle mechanisms are optimized for easier use
- The buckles may occasionally fault in the locking
3. BoatBuckle Kwik-Lok Transom Tie-Down Straps
BoatBuckle is giving you the option to choose how long you want your harness to be. The options are two, four, or six-foot-long harness. The minimum you can shorten them to is about three inches without cutting the belt. Unlike traditional straps, you tighten these by pulling on by one hand and then clamping down the buckle.
When the straps arrive, they aren’t entirely assembled, so you need to spare a couple of minutes to get them ready. These belts can endure up to 1,200 lbs. but their safest load is 400 lbs.
- You don’t need two hands to strengthen the harness.
- The padding on the buckle and vinyl-coated hooks protect the paint or gel-coating on your boat.
- There is also a reflective closure patch that helps see the straps in the dark.
- The hinge pin is cheaply made and may deform if it’s too strained.
4. BoatBuckle Retractable Tie-Downs
In case you’re looking for retractable tie-down straps, you should consider these from BoatBuckle. They are available in two versions – from steel or stainless steel. These straps are made to use on a trailer as well. However, if yours doesn’t have a place to install the buckle, you can buy a mounting bracket separately.
The length of the straps is about 43-inches and but the two models have different endurance. The standard ones can safely hold up to 833 pounds, while the stainless steel only 500 lbs. Their break strengths are also different. The standard model endures up to 2,500 lbs. while the stainless only 1,500 lbs.
- These are self-ratcheting but can also be reached by one hand.
- There’s a simple instructions video about how to install the tie-downs.
- Each buckle rotates in the range between -30 to +30 degrees.
- Installation hardware and bracket aren’t included in the package.
5. AutoRetract Marine Strap Tie by DC Cargo Mall
We present you the two-inch-wide, forty-three-inch long auto-retractable transom straps from DC Cargo Mall. Their safe capacity is 400 lbs. and their breaking strength is enough to endure about 1,200 pounds. All metal parts on the units are made from stainless steel. Only the S-hook has a vinyl coating that protects your boat from being scratched by it.
These tie-downs are very simple to use. You need to pull the hook out to extend the harness, and then push the red button to retract. Lastly, you manually tighten like traditional ratchet straps.
Overall, these are quite strong straps and are very handy to use. Plus, they are reasonably priced and worth considering to purchase for your boat’s safety.
- DC Cargo Mall products come with a 100% Happiness Guarantee.
- You can use the instructions video about how to install and use these straps quickly.
- The mounting hardware comes with the straps.
- These units need regular lubrication because the auto-retraction starts to block.
6. Fulton Transom Retractable Ratchet Tie Down
These retractable straps from Fulton may be the strongest on our list. They have a zinc-coated steel construction. These offer a heavy-duty holding capacity of 833 pounds. Plus, the maximum load they can endure is up to 2,500 pounds. Fulton’s ratchet tie-downs are two inches wide and forty-three inches long. The installation of this product is effortless, so you don’t need to worry about that.
What is more, the hooks on these straps are vinyl-coated, like most other products’. Thus, you can have peace of mind that they won’t graze your boat. With this product, you won’t have to deal with strap tangling. That’s the beauty of the retractable tie-downs, plus it is fast to rewind and easy to store them.
- The package includes zinc hardware, too.
- This product has a 5-year manufacturer warranty.
- You can mount these tie-downs horizontally.
- The springs which retract the straps aren’t the best quality.
What are Boat Tie Down Straps and Why Do You Need Them?
When you need to relocate any type of cargo, you need to secure it well. Your boat is the type of load that must be firmly fastened, so you can safely transport it. Here’s where tie-down straps come in. We know that some boat trailers offer a non-slippery surface that doesn’t allow your boat to slip away and fall. However, that’s not enough when the trailer hits a bump, or you stop abruptly.
Tie-down belts are designed to keep a light object to a heavier one. In other words, they hold your vessel safely on its trailer. The number of belts you need depends on the weight and size of your boat. Also, that means you should use straps with a break strength that exceeds the weight of your vessel. To put it in numbers, if your craft weighs about 3,000 lbs and the trailer about 1,500 lbs, you must use tie-down straps that can endure at least 1,500 pounds. However, you can always choose harnesses with greater break strength.
So, whether you need to transport your boat thousands of miles or only a dozen miles, you need to invest in good tie-down straps. There are various models and designs, which is great because everyone can find what they need. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming to go through all of the types, models, brands, and decide which ones suit your needs. Luckily, we are here to provide you with reviews on a range of marine products and accessories, and to help you out, so keep reading.
Importance of Quality Tie Down Straps
As we already mentioned, these straps are of grave importance when you need to move your boat on a trailer. When you’re traveling on a bumpy road, it is easy to lose control of the trailer and vessel. If nothing is holding the boat firmly on the trailer, you’re risking it slipping off, falling, and breaking in the middle of the road.
Here are the two essential things to consider for your tie-down straps:
- Break strength. We mentioned this already, but it is crucial to keeping your craft safe and sound on its trailer. Just like boats, straps are not equal and have different thicknesses, lengths, and endurance. When choosing the right ones, you need to buy belts with break strength more substantial than the weight of the trailer or boat.
- Points of contact. When tying down your boat onto the trailer, you need to make sure there are at least three points of contact. These are the two sides of the stern and one point in the bow.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Boat Tie Down Straps
So, when you’re researching and considering different options for strapping your boat to a trailer, there are a few key things to consider. We’ve compiled a list of the essential features for reliable boat straps.
- Water resistance. This type of harness won’t be in touch with water, often like anchor rope does. However, on rare occasions, the boat may be wet, or it may rain while you’re on the road, etc. The harness you use to secure your boat must be resistant to water and mildew. Water can quickly cause damage to the webbing, even to high-quality anchor ropes and chains which are designed to stay underwater. That’s why it’s crucial to invest in water-resistant products.
- UV protection. The Sun’s rays are quite powerful and can damage various materials, including tie-down straps. How quickly this happens depends on how often you leave them in direct sunlight but also on the material of the harness.
- This is important for two reasons. One is that the more stretchable the harness is, the more unsafe they are. The second is that this can also lead to quicker loosening or damage to the belts. If the straps are the right amount of stretchable, they will hold the load without breaking.
- Materials that resist abrasion are worth the investment because they will last you a long time. The nature of these items doesn’t allow them to have even the slightest damage. That can result in breakage under the weight of the boat. You need to find abrasion-resistant straps, especially if you will use them often.
Types of Boat Tie Down Straps
Aside from being different in terms of material, these products have different types of hooks and differ in strapping technology.
Types of Hooking Up to a Ramp
- Ratchet straps are one of the widely spread types because of their convenience and ease of work. These are named so because of their locking method, which is with an easy ratcheting system. This method allows them to be one of the most robust and most reliable types of straps. They can have a load capacity of up to 15,000 pounds.
- Cam buckle straps are rarely used for boats. These are suitable for lightweight and medium-sized loads and breakable strength up to 1500 pounds. You should consider these if you need them for a small boat. Their strapping and releasing mechanism is quicker than that of ratchet straps, but their downside is they are not suitable for heavy loads.
- Lashing straps are for even smaller loads and almost never used for boats. These only have breakable strength of 220 pounds. They have an easy to use gator clip, but it isn’t very reliable for towing a boat on a trailer.
Hook Ends Types
There are three common types of the hook ends to use in boat transom tie-down straps, and we will talk only about them.
- S-hooks are the most used type since their S shape is secure and provides stability.
- J-hooks are used predominantly on the end of the strap that latches onto the trailer. These are also known as wire hooks.
- Snap hooks are almost identical to S-hooks but with a smaller latch that closes the circle. You may find this type to be more secure than the other two.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boat Straps
Why Do My Tie Downs Become Loose When Traveling?
Since boats, even the smallest or inflatable ones, weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds, they produce a lot of tension to the tie downs. It is natural that while traveling, the vessel moves a little bit around and causes the harness to loosen. That’s why the instruction on each product usually says to test the straps before you go on your journey. Then, you should also check up on them every 20 or 30 miles. If you’re a serious boater, you should invest in good harness as well as in good inflatable fishing boats.
Other reasons they become loose can be the springs inside of the buckles which, when the trailer hits potholes or bumps, can cause it to loosen the straps. Furthermore, if your harness is old and has seen many usages, the material it is made of could loosen easily. That also means it’s time to change the straps.
What Types of Materials are used for Tie Down Straps?
Even though most products look similar or almost identical, they are not. There are three primary materials used in their making – nylon, polypropylene, or polyester. As you can guess, they have different properties, and their costs vary. For example, polyester is the most expensive one, but it’s also the right level of stretchable. So, the bottom line is that it’s up to your budget and preferences.
How Many Straps Do I Need to Use?
It depends on the weight and size of your vessel. You can never be too safe, so you can use as many as you want. You can also use many if yours aren’t high-quality and you don’t trust them. But if the straps you have are reliable, you will need two or three placed strategically to hold your boat in its places.
You now know the most important features to look for when choosing the best boat transom tie-down straps for your craft. With all of this information, you should be faster in finding the product that will best suit your needs. We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about these products. Plus, we collected and summed up the most essential things you need to know when before you make a decision.
We hope that our boat transom tie-down straps reviews and our guide cleared your mind. Now, we have to put an end to our post, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments section below.