How To Repair TheStory And Photo By Tom Neale
Published: Fall 2013
Your tow eye takes a lot of stress. Inspect it, and if you need to replace it or beef it up, here's how.
Some boats aren't built heavily enough in the bow stem area where the towing eye is located. Stress from pulling the boat up on the trailer, securing for trips with the strap, and towing in the water can weaken the attachment over time, sometimes resulting in the eye pulling out. If your boat has this issue, it's easier to repair before the eye pulls through.
Remove the nut(s) from the eye bolt(s) that goes through the stem. Remove the eye fitting and check carefully for signs of crevice corrosion (especially where it goes through the hull and under the nut). If there's any question, buy a new eye — the stronger the better. It'll have to fit in the existing flattened base in the stem unless you want to carefully enlarge that with a file or power tools.
Beef up the area behind the stem by thoroughly sanding, cleaning with solvent, and epoxying on heavy layers of woven fiberglass cloth according to product instructions. Within reason, the more layers and the more area covered, the better. While the new fiberglass is still soft, flatten the area around the bolt hole(s) to provide a base for nut and backing. With a drill, extend the hole(s) through added layers. Install the eye and as large a backup plate as possible. Depending on circumstances, backing could be a heavy, large-diameter stainless washer or, preferably, a 316 stainless plate that will fit in the V area.
Got enough power to pull the boat? A little bit of math will show if you can do this safely.
Find out what your boat trailer is capable of carrying. If you're unfamiliar with your trailer capacity plate, take a moment to find it.
Many of us will be using our old reliable vehicle to tow, but if you're thinking of buying new, you might want to consider a factory tow package.