All you need to know about Boatcatch

All you need to know about Boatcatch

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Boatcatch is a coupling device that modernizes the launch and retrieval process of trailer boats. It allows you to quickly remove and replace your boat to and from its trailer without setting foot on a boat ramp or beach.


This boat to trailer coupling was invented out of necessity by a commercial abalone diver and former mechanical engineer who has thirty years of industry experience. The device filled his need to allow safe fast launch and retrieval of his 3 tonne abalone boat. He does this many hundreds of times each year.


The coupling is a made from 100% marine grade stainless steel. It has very few moving parts and has an attractive polished finish.


How it works.


The boatcatch coupling comes in two sizes and is supplied complete with a universal mounting bracket and all components usually necessary for fitting and operating. A special eye is bolted to the bow of the vessel, and a coupling on its mount is attached to the trailers bow post. This boat latch device has a heavy duty pin that locates inside the eye and secures the boat upon the trailer until launch is required.


The trailer still requires its rubber bow stopper/”V”block to limit the boats forward most position.


The trailer still requires a winch for vessel recovery if engine failure occurs, and to hold the boat firm whilst travelling on roads.


The need for a bow safety chain or hold down brace is reduced.


The Boatcatch advantage.


Every aspect of modern trailer boating has been progressively modernized. Motors are highly efficient 4 strokes. Hull design now gives excellent stability and internal functionality. Electronics are compact and highly efficient. Before Boatcatch, people had to continue to launch and retrieve just as it was done over 50 years ago. Boatcatch modernizes this task. Your boat can now be taken off or locked on in seconds and no one needs to stand on a slippery boat ramp or risk having a hand or finger jammed as the boat moves on the trailer.




Boatcatch is an extremely heavy duty and well engineered product. This affords us the ability to give a 5 year warranty for the original purchaser. The warranty covers you against faulty workmanship and or failure of the coupling device due to wear or breakage of the internal latching system.


Boatcatch will supply individual replacement components to you via normal postal services all free of charge most places in the world.


Further, Boatcatch has been rigorously tested both in real life situations and with state of the art design and destroy software. Breakage without gross abuse or due to an accident is not normal. If a breakage occurs due to an accident, send an email or post a letter with proof of your purchase and a description of your problem and attach a picture. Boatcatch will consider your application. For your first claim, Boatcatch usually posts you a replacement part free of charge anywhere in the world.


Boatcatch will not pay for your postage or labour or any other cost you may incur due to a warranty problem. Boatcatch will also not be held liable for any wear or damage that may occur to any boat or trailer for any reason. Boatcatch will not replace components that have worn or broken as a result of 1. Incorrect fitting. 2. A boat not being held tight against its V block by a winching device. Refer fitting instructions.


Launch procedure.


Having arrived at the launch location and prepared for your boating activities.


  • Remove the winch strap.
  • Clip the release cord to the boatcatch release arm and place the other end of the cord upon the boat within reach of the boat driver.
  • Your boat driver may choose to enter the boat at the top of the ramp or when you have backed into the water.
  • The trailer can be reversed into the water to a depth that allows the rear of the boat to start to float.
  • The boat driver starts the vessel engine, then when safe and ready, can pull the release cord of the boatcatch. This frees the boat from the trailer.
  • The boat driver drops the cord overboard and reverses off the trailer.
  • The tow vehicle can now be driven away from the boat ramp. The cord is short enough that the trailer wheels will not run it over. When away from the ramp the cord is to be unclipped and stored for future use.


Retrieval procedure.


Before taking the empty trailer onto the ramp, be sure the boatcatch pin is in the open/withdrawn position.


  • Reverse the trailer into the water to a depth that would allow the boat bow to come onto the trailer, but not so far that the boat could float all the way forward to the boatcatch.
  • Drive the boat forward onto the trailer in a controlled manner. Remember the key to a central entry on the trailer is to move slowly and not have the trailer too deep. It is best if the boat enters the trailer and stops floating about two thirds of the way on. This allows the boat to stop and settle in the middle of the “v” of the trailer bed.
  • Once the boat has stopped and settled centrally about two thirds onto its trailer, throttle the vessel forward gently until the bow rests against the rubber bow stop. This forward movement will have moved the boatcatch eye past the boatcatch pin and would have automatically triggered the pin to the locked position.
  • Once the car driver is satisfied the coupling has activated he can tow the boat and trailer off the ramp. The tow vehicle driver can observe both the lever movement and the audible click of the coupling from the vehicle drivers seat.
  • Prior to towing the boat on a road, the winch strap needs to be secured to the boat thus secure the boat against the rubber bow stop, and also stopping the boatcatch eye banging against the boatcatch pin.

      Number 1 retrieval tip!!!!! Do not have your trailer to deep in the water. Use the “V” of the trailer bed to settle against the “V’ of the bottom of the boat.


      Number 2 retrieval tip!!!!! Once the boat has stopped and settled into the trailer bed. Turn around and look at your motor or rudder. Be sure it is pointing straight forward, then power slowly to the boatcatch.


      Commonly asked questions.


      Q1. Will the Boatcatch fit my boat and trailer?


      A2. The device comes in two sizes of the same design. The small size may be fitted to aluminium boats up to 6 meters long, and light duty fibreglass boats up to 5.5 meters. The large unit will accommodate a vessel as small as 5 meters and a boat any length and having a maximum weight of 8 tonne. All boat bows and trailer bow posts vary in size and angle, so a universal mounting bracket comes with the device. The bracket has an adjustable head that can be set to match many angled trailer bow post. The special polished eye that bolts simply to you boat bow, is made for a boat bow with a angle that measures between 37 degrees to 43 degrees in from the verticle ( refer sketch gallery figure 5). If your bow is beyond this range, a special 5 degree spacer is also included in the kit. This if used will then allow for a vessel that has a bow angle between 32 degrees and 48 degrees in from the verticle, to be fitted with a boatcatch.


      Q 2. Who can fit my boatcatch?


      A.2. Most handymen who owns a drill and some basic spanners can fit the Boatcatch. The device is clamped simply and directly to the trailer bow post with “u” bolts and nuts. The most technical job is cutting the metal universal mounting kit “tube” to length with a hand saw or similar tool. The drill is needed for two things. 1. To make holes to locate the bolts in the trimmed tube. And 2. To drill the holes in the boat bow for the eye. Because boats come in many shapes and sizes, exact locating instructions can are not given. A small amount of your own judgment may be needed with exactly where you fit the 2 components. Many pictures will be posted on our website and can be a helpful guide when fitting.


      If you do not feel up to the job yourself, your local boat yard or car mechanic or trailer repairer could do it for you. The device does come with thorough instructions and diagrams and pictures can be seen on the web site. Templates for drilling are also included.


      Q 3. Is my trailer bed suitable for drive on and drive off?


      A 3. All trailer beds are suitable for drive off and so the boatcatch will be a wonderful addition to your boating experience with the launch feature alone. Most boat trailers, especially modern designs are excellent for drive on boats. The thing to remember is. Your boat has a “v” shape underneath. This matches the “v” shape in your trailer bed. Your boat will try to settle into the “v” and therefore automatically centre you on your trailer, providing that you do not have the trailer too deep in the water, and, if you drive on slowly to let the boat settle centrally by its self. As a extra assistance, several boatcatch users add a final pair of rollers or Teflon skids in a sharp “v”shape, towards the front of the trailer, in the location where the lower boat bow takes its shape just under the water. This can be very inexpensive and assures a central entry onto the trailer even in rough weather. Over 90% of trailers in the USA have “guide on posts” on the rear corners thus guaranteeing central entry and location of the boat. See our gallery for images.


      Q 4. How many people do I need to use the Boatcatch?


      A4. One or two people can be used to launch and retrieve with a boatcatch. The two person method chosen by most operators is where you have a operator for the boat and a driver the car and trailer. When well practiced this makes for a speedy ramp work.The one person method has a single person operating both car and boat and moving between them as needed. Be sure to look at our gallery for pictures of simple front trailer steps.


      Q 5. Does the boatcatch fit ski boats?


      A5. Ski boats often have very shallow bow angles as high as 60 degrees. They can also have a more blunt bow width. While the Boatcatch could certainly be fitted. These two thing could make the job a little more complicated and a more highly skilled handy man would be needed to adapt the supplied stainless bow eye to the front of the vessel. You would need to make or adapt a spacer to take up the gap because a standard bow eye is for a 45 to 55 degree bow. In future we will fit boatcatch to ski boats and pictures will be posted on our gallery.


      Q6. Does the boatcatch fit Twin and tri Hull vessels?


      A6. Multi hull boats have three small issues to work with when fitting a boatcatch. Because of these it is not a simple fast fit up. Some of the mounting components supplied will not suit or will need to be adapted. We will be fitting devices to cats soon so check our gallery for pictures then. The first issue is adapting the bow eye to the front shape of a cat. The second issue is adapting or attaching the coupling to the trailer. The third is relevant if you mount the device in the centre of the bow, and that is, that pulling the release lever in the correct direction can be difficult. We will update this text when we have cats fitted up.


      Q 7. What happens if I break something on my boatcatch?


      A7. Boatcatch has been rigorously tested both in real life situations and with state of the art design and destroy software. Breakage without gross abuse or due to an accident is not normal. If a breakage occurs, send an email or post a letter with proof of purchase and a description of your problem and attach a picture. Boatcatch will consider your application. For your first claim, Boatcatch usually posts you a replacement part free of charge anywhere in the world. Also refer warranty.


      Q 8. What components come with my Boatcatch?


      A8. Because every boat and trailer combination is different, Boatcatch supplies bolts and brackets that can be adjusted or inserted or shortened to adapt to most peoples needs. It would be wastful and uneconomical and not possible to provide every combination of parts for every boat in existence. We do however do our best. (Refer both sketch gallery and photo gallery for more detail.)


      Q9. How long does it take to fit my Boatcatch?


      A9. Some combinations of boat and trailer are extremely simple and ready for Boatcatch fit up. In the perfect case like this where you only have to add the Boatcatch in above your front V and winch, expect to take an hour or two to fit the Boatcatch. However not every job is that simple. You may need to tweak the position of the V or the winch or move a cable eye or even adapt a supplied spacer post to your bow post. These jobs can add hours and if you have a “not so simple” set up, it is recommended you allow enough time to think and work the job through. Remember extra thought and planning before you start will pay dividends.


      Cleaning and Lubrication.


      Occasional washing is recommended to remove salt or dust or road grime build up. Boatcatch is made 100% from marine grade stainless steel. It may be hosed or pressure cleaned with fresh water. If a detergent is used be sure to force any residual out from inside the unit with fresh water under pressure. Water inside the device will have no effect.


      Internal spraying with lubricant.


      Occasional lubrication of Boatcatch internally with a spray pack is recommend .You do this more easily from the outside whilst the boat is off the trailer.You may travel in an area where dust and road grime attracts to the lubricant. If this occurs a pressure wash followed by further lubrication should solve the problem.


      External spraying with a lubricant.


      Trailers and boats can be constructed from unlike metals such as carbon steel, galvanized steel, aluminium and stainless steel. A combination of these can occasionally cause minor surface corrosion. External spraying of the device and mountings with a de-watering or lubricating product like Penatrine or RP7 or WD40 is acceptable as a means of reducing this. It is recommended you wipe all excess moisture away with a cloth to avoid dirt attaching to the surfaces.


      Tips on using Boatcatch.


      When using the chord to operate Boatcatch, never place your finger through a loop or wrap the chord around your hand. Both these acts could cause the chord to tangle the operator as the boat leaves the trailer and cause injury.


      Some boats can slip back against the pin of Boatcatch as you reverse down the ramp. Other times they can float back against it. Then If you try to pull the release chord you may find it does not come back easily. Simply drive the boat forward a few millimetres and the weight will come off the pin and the chord will pull freely.


      If you are on a steep boat ramp, keep in mind the back of the boat can sometimes float up from the trailer even if you reverse to far into the water. A boat floating excessively can change your entry angle into the Boatcatch coupling and make for a missed coupling entry. If this occurs it should be obvious to the operator. Simply drive the trailer a little shallower to correct the floating problem.


      Familiarize your self with boatcatch if you are the vehicle driver. Understand your Boatcatch and its two lever positions prior to use. The vehicle operator needs to be sure Boatcatch has locked into the boat prior to attempting the removal of the boat from the water. This may be done by looking in the vehicles rear view mirror and observing the position of the boatcatch lever and the position of the boat within the boatcatch. Never drive away guessing your boat is safely locked in. You must be sure. Being very familiar prior to using your Boatcatch will aid this endeavour. If you want to be doubly sure you are locked on, another way of checking, is to place the boat in reverse and try backing back. If it will not move, then the boat driver can give the car driver the thumbs up to pull away.


      As mentioned previosly. Your boat needs to be held forward by a tight winch for highway travelling. Be sure to occasionally re check the winch tension if travelling longer distances. A loose winch strap can allow the boat to bounce at the nose and cause premature wear on your Boatcatch.


      The best tip you were ever given for trailer boats.


      We seem to never have enough time to remove our hubs and check our wheel bearings. The best way to avoid having a wheel bearing failure before you next grease those bearings is as follows.


      Every hour or so, or when you stop for fuel or bait, place the back of your fingers against the bearing hub or near the wheel studs. If the temperature is just warm or cool you can rest assured your bearing is not about to fail. If it is hot you may have a bearing about to give trouble or your trailer brakes are getting warm. You need to determine which it is. Familiarity with your rig and regular checking will help you understand this.


      Further, while you are at it. Look at your wheel nuts to see they look like they have not moved. Loose wheel nuts can easily be seen, and can leave other signs like metal dust on the rim. Also touch your tyres to check there temperature. A single hot tyre can let you know a blow out is on its way.


      Tips on installing winches, the cable bow eye, and the bow post “V” block.


      It is often forgotten that these three things work together as one. This applies weather you have a Boatcatch or not.




      The winch on the trailer and the cable bow eye on the vessel, should always be positioned in line so the cable pulls them exactly horizontal to each other. Winches have 2 functions. The first is to be a recovery aid if the boat engine fails, and the other is to hold the boat firmly against the trailer front V block. Your winch cable should not pull up or pull down at all, it should pull directly forward.


      Bow Eye. (for the winch cable)


      The bow eye for the winch cable, is best located at the point that will place it against the underside of the “V” block. This will guarentee the exact positioning of your vessel on the trailer every time. It has the other critical benefit of preventing your boat from sliding higher up the bow post when under emergency highway braking and when retrieving into the Boatcatch.