Why is Tongue Weight important when Towing your Boat?

The tongue weight is one of the most important things to consider ​when towing your boat trailer. Maintaining the tongue weight is one of the most important things you can do to keep your family and yourself safe while towing a travel trailer. It’ll help to tow vehicles and hitch to handle the trailer you choose and will help to ensure you have full control of the trailer even on rough roads while stopping, and going downhill. So, let’s talk about tongue weight, what it is and why it is so important?

Read: How to Fix Boat Trailers with little Tongue Weight?

What is tongue weight?

Towing a boat with the trailer

The coupler’s downward pressure on the hitch ball is tongue weight. The trailer tongue weight varies based on the position of the load in connection to the trailer axle(s). In other words, it is the pressure produced on the hitch ball by the trailer tongue. 

A dangerous situation might occur if too much or too little weight is applied to the tongue of your boat trailer. Tongue weight cannot be too heavy or excessively low. It has to be just about right balanced like the weights of two people on a playground seesaw.

How to calculate tongue weight?

To calculate the tongue weight, use a commercial scale or a bathroom scale with the coupler at towing height to get the tongue weight, or find out what your Gross Towing Weight rating is and reduce 10% from that value. Most experts agree that a trailer’s tongue weight should be between 7-10 percent of the total gross towing weight. Trailer instability can occur if the tongue of the trailer does not exert enough downward force on the hitch ball of the towing vehicle. 

If my trailer hitch has a towing capacity of 6000 pounds, then the tongue weight will also have a separated tongue weight of around 420-600 pounds. 

If you add more weight to your trailer and put it in front of the axle, the tongue weight will increase as well. The tongue weight of your boat trailer carrying capacity or hitch might also vary based on the rise height of your trailer or hitch.

Read: Subaru Crosstrek Towing Capacity explained

Why is tongue weight important when towing your boat?

When it comes to towing your boat trailer, the tongue weight is very important because it might cause driving dangers. I also faced problems in my journey to Bakar beach in San Francisco because of my improper tongue weight. My tongue weight was a bit heavy, and I faced disbalance whenever my vehicle was at a good speed. Well, thank god I was able to manage it. A perfect tongue weight has many benefits and safe riding for its users. 

  • Too little tongue weight can tend to fishtail movement to your trailer. Because of this, turning on the road can create a very dangerous accident.  
  • If the tongue carries too much weight, it will overload the rear suspension and influence the tow vehicle’s steering, which creates a disbalance to your boat trailer and vehicle’s total weight.  
  • A drooping coupler link is a dangerous thing to drive around with. If the driver uses the brakes, the connection may dip low enough to strike the ground, or it may force the tow vehicle’s rare tires to clear the ground briefly. To prevent this issue, a proper tongue weight measurement is very important. 

How to Check the Tongue Weight?

To check tongue weight, you can perform it using one of two tools: a tongue weight scale designed specifically for this purpose, or you can go to a commercial weighing station.

Tongue weight scale: At first, make sure your vehicle is fully loaded with all of the items you normally bring camping and park your vehicle and trailer on a level, hard surfaces, such as a parking lot or driveway. Place a tongue weight scale under the tongue jack and lower it until the scale is pressed against it, without pushing the trailer higher than it normally sits while towed.

Commercial weighing station: For this, connect your truck to your fully loaded trailer. Drive the truck’s four wheels onto the scale, leaving the trailer connected but ensuring no trailer tires are on the scale.

Unhitch the trailer after that, making sure there’s no weight on the hitch and that the trailer jack isn’t on the scale. Weigh the truck again, this time excluding the trailer’s weight. To calculate your tongue weight, subtract the second weight from the first.

Here’s some more advice that might be useful:

It’s usually a good idea to set the height of your hitch ball so that your tow vehicle can tow your trailer as level as feasible. If you’re ever in a dispute about whether a setting is a little higher than level or a little lower than the level when the trailer is set on the trailer’s ball, I recommend going with the one that is a little lower than level.

Read: How to Remove Rusted Trailer Hitch Ball? (4 Ways)

How to Reduce your Tongue Weight?

To reduce as much weight on the tongue of your travel trailer, you should adjust or redistribute the load on the trailer so that more weight is behind the axle. If there is too much weight on the trailer tongue, your vehicle will sag, causing your travel trailer to ride nose down due to too much weight in front of the trailer axles.

The simplest way to reduce tongue weight is to redistribute the load’s weight. You can reduce tongue weight while carrying the same gross trailer weight by positioning some of the weight just over or behind the trailer axle. Another way to reduce the tongue is to reduce the amount of cargo carried in the trailer. You can either load some of them into the tow vehicle or leave them behind.

For detailed guidelines read: How to reduce tongue weight on a trailer?


For towing your boat trailer, understanding the perfect tongue measurement is very important to prevent serious accidents and turnings. It also helps to have a smooth and well-controlled drive with your trailer. So, maintain the weight carefully to drive safely and enjoy your journey!

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