Boat Trailer Beach Launching Wheel: What You Need To Know

If you’re launching your boat from the beach then you should definitely consider a drop-down beach launch wheel.

beach launching wheel dropped down

What is a beach launch wheel?

A beach launching wheel is a third wheel that is fitted at the front of your trailer, allowing you to launch and retrieve your boat without driving your car into the water.

A great video demonstrating how to launch and retrieve a boat with the third wheel

When purchasing a drop wheel you will need the bracket, a hub suited to your trailer, bearings and some decent marine grease. Below is a photo of mine before I installed it.

Beach launching bracket hub and bearings
The bracket, hub and bearings ready to be installed

When should you use one?

Ideally, you should consider using a beach launching wheel when the water is too shallow to launch in or if the bank of the beach or river is too steep and you have the possibility of getting your car bogged.

Personally, I’ve used mine on a number of occasions which include launching into some of the shallow dams and waterways of the southwest region, or on the beach where there is no concrete boat ramp to launch from.

How to use a beach launching wheel?

Depending on the type of wheel and the mount you have, these instructions will vary.

  1. First, you want to back your boat trailer close to the water’s edge;
  2. Drop your jockey wheel down and undo the trailer connection.  Note, if on a slope ensure you have the main trailer wheels chocked so your boat and trailer do not run away from you!
  3. Wind up your jockey wheel until there is enough clearance to drop down the beach launching wheel;
  4. Once high enough, proceed to unlock the pin for the beach launcher wheel bracket and lower the wheel into position and re-lock the pin;
  5. You can then begin to roll back your trailer into the water.  Note, best to have a snatch strap or a strong rope connected to the trailer so once you’ve launched the boat you can tow the trailer out with the car.

Other benefits of a third wheel

The other great benefit of carrying a drop-down beach wheel is that as the wheel has to rotate you have a fully functional hub with bearings mounted onto a spindle.

What this means is that you essentially have a spare tyre, hub with bearings packed and ready to go should your bearings on one of your main tyres go when traveling.

With this in mind, just make sure you get the right hub to match the ones on your trailer, which if you’re in Australia, are usually your standard Holden or Ford hubs.

Where can you buy a drop-down beach launcher?

You’ll be able to pick up a drop-down beach bracket and wheel from most of your boat trailer supply shops.  

I’m located in Western Australia so I was able to get mine from Martins Trailer Parts in Wangara (Perth) and all up with the bearings it cost me $280.

What alternate beach launching systems are there?

Over the years I’ve seen a few different alternate setups, however, I’d have to say the most common one would be a boat trailer extension pole by which a pole that has another tow ball connection folds out from the side of the trailer to increase the distance between your car and the boat trailer.

These are pretty good and help when the only issue is shallow water, though on occasions (such as launching at 14-mile beach) they still don’t provide enough distance.

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