When you think of towing a boat, a Ford Explorer may not be your first choice as the vehicle to tow with. But, if you own a Ford Explorer, you should know that it can tow a boat.
This article is here to inform you about your Explorer’s towing capacity and to provide you with some options to make a choice about which boat is best for you.
How Much Weight Can a Ford Explorer Tow?
The first order of business is to know just how much weight your Ford Explorer can handle. There are three powertrains available for the Ford Explorer and each has its own towing capacity. So, it’s important to know which one you have. It should also be noted that the Class III trailer tow package increases the engine capability.
2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-Cylinder
This is the standard engine. It produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque for a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds. With the Class III towing package mentioned above, the towing capacity increases to 5,300 pounds.
3.0-Liter EcoBoost V6
With up to 400 horsepower and up to 415 pound-feet of torque, this engine comes with the Class III tow package giving you 5,600 pounds of towing capacity.
Not only does this engine allow you to drive 500 miles on a tank of gas, but it gives you 5,000 pounds of towing power when equipped with the Class III tow package.
Never exceed the weight limit given for your Explorer. Doing so could cause significant damage to your vehicle. It can also be very unsafe for you and anyone else in the vehicle. By putting stress on your Ford Explorer, it can cause erratic steering, acceleration, and braking.
So be sure to check the capacity of your Ford Explorer before towing a boat. If your model doesn’t have the limit you need, consider upgrading your engine to suit your towing purposes.
If you can stay under the weight limit, this is advised. Take into consideration the weight of your boat trailer, too, as well as any equipment and other people in the car that will add weight to the load. A Boat trailer can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
If you were looking to tow a large boat with your Ford Explorer, you are out of luck. But don’t let this discourage you. There are plenty of smaller boat options that could fit your needs and fit within your Explorer’s towing capacity. Read on to see some suggestions.
Types of Boats That a Jeep Cherokee Can Tow
Although there is a limit to what your Ford Explorer can tow, your options are many when it comes to which boats fit within those limits. Look at this table to get an overview of some of your options.
|Type of Boat||Average Dry Weight|
|Center Console||5,000 pounds|
|Ski Boat||3,500 pounds|
|Pontoon Boat||3,100 pounds|
|Cuddy Cabin||3,750 pounds|
|Fishing Boat||3,500 pounds|
Don’t be alarmed if the average weight is over the limit. Don’t forget this is just an average estimate. There will be specific options within these types that will be perfect for your Ford Explorer’s towing capacity.
Even though these options fall within the factory range of towing capacity, you should still take into consideration that each boat will be different, and you will have to factor in the weight of the trailer.
Since they are most often used by fishermen, center console boats have a deck area that is great for standing to cast off and reel in, something that bass boats may not be able to offer.
The average center console boat weighs 5,000 pounds, so a few options in this category are suited for towing behind your Ford Explorer.
- 2020 Bayliner Element F21 – 2,000 pounds
- 2019 Boston Whaler 150 Montauk – 1,049 pounds
- 2019 Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless – 1,680 pounds
Appropriately named for its seating area located in the bow, or front area, of the boat, this option is used mostly for recreational purposes. Water skiing, wakeboarding, and water tubing are a few of the things you could do with it.
Or, if you just want to go day cruising, they normally can seat four to 10 people. So, many use it as a family boat. However, there are no rules about what you can use it for, so if fishing is more to your liking, you could certainly do that.
Bowriders have an average weight of around 4,500 pounds. With the trailer, this could put it over the recommended towing capacity for your Ford Explorer. Some bowriders weigh much less than average. So, you could consider one as a good option for towing behind your Explorer.
Some good options of bowriders that would fit within the towing limit include:
- 2018 Bayliner Element E16
- 2020 Bayliner 160 OB
- 2020 Bayliner VR4 Bowrider
- 2014 Baja 247 Islander
Ski boats get their name from there common use in water recreation. Because of their speed, they are perfect for skiing, water tubing, and wakeboarding. With a ski boat, you could enjoy a nice day on the water with family and friends. If this is the kind of boat you’re looking to tow behind your Ford Explorer, here are a few options for you.
- 2020 Campion WS 18 – 2,685 pounds
- Boston Whaler 170 Montauk – 1,700 to 2,254 pounds
- 2015 Centurion Enzo sv233 – 4,601 pounds
- Tige 2017 RZR 20 – 3,100 pounds
- Mastercraft Prostar 2017 20 – 3,000 pounds
Because of the large size of pontoon boats, you may be surprised to know that there are a few options that could easily be towed with your Ford Explorer. You will just need to take the size into consideration while towing. Because they can be bulky, you will need to drive slower and exercise caution when taking corners.
But, if you are willing to do that, a pontoon boat is another good option for a family and/or friend day on the water. Skiing, waterboarding, and tubing are all options. They are also equipped with a ladder on the side that makes getting in and out of the water easy.
A pontoon boat could also be used for fishing. Its wide base makes it steady on the water which could help you not scare all the fish away.
The seating capacity is another reason many people are attracted to them, as they can seat up to 10 people. Some will seat less, depending on the model.
Some of the better models for towing behind your Ford Explorer include:
- 2018 Larson Escape CRUZE – 1,700 pounds
- 2016 Cypress Cay 160 / FS – 1,585 pounds
- NauticStar Angler 193 SC – 2,100 pounds
- Lowe SS210 – 1,900 pounds
A cuddy cabin boat is another good option for a fun day on the water. If you’re looking to relax, this boat comes with a small cabin equipped with a bed, toilet, and sink. Some even have a small shower.
Cuddy cabin boats are made for getting out on the water to swim, open-water cruising, and lounging. Here are three worth mentioning.
- 2013 Beneteau Flyer 650 Cabrio – 3,329
- 2015 Regal 2250 Cuddie – 3,900
- 2016 Bayliner 642 Overnighter – 3,084 pounds
Your Ford Explorer may be able to handle one of these, depending on the engine.
One of the most common reasons to own a boat is to go fishing. So, if that is your wish, you are lucky to have several options to choose from as fishing boats tend to be one of the lighter options. There are several fishing boats, commonly called bass boats, that fall within the weight ranges you are looking for to tow with your Ford Explorer.
- Tracker Pro Team 2017 175 TF – 1,010 pounds
- Charger Elite 210 – 1,900 pounds
- Tracker Pro 2017 170 – 878 pounds
- 2019 Boston Whaler 110 Tender – 425 pounds
- 2020 Campion EX16 OB CC – 2,800 pounds
- Bass Cat Jaguar – 2,150 pounds
A Few Things You May Want to Know
There are tons of things to take into consideration if you plan to tow a boat. Even if your Ford Explorer may be able to tow some of these boats when it comes to weight, you will also want to consider trailer length. Towing something that is too long could be dangerous and difficult.
Having the proper towing equipment is essential. Before you tow your boat, you should consult your local dealer for the hitch, chains, and lighting you will need.
If you own a Ford Explorer, your towing options may be limited. But there are still plenty of boats that you can tow for a good time on the water. The options given in this article are a good place to start.
But, keep in mind that these are only a few of the suggestions that will work well with the towing capacity of your Ford Explorer. Others are available, too. You just need to shop around and ask the right questions.