Often when people are considering importing a boat, they realise that the smaller you can make the total m3, the lower the cost is going to be when shipping roll on roll off. One of these considerations is the drawbar, and the ways in which it can be reduced for shipping so you're not paying for essentially "fresh air". There are a couple of different methods as below.

Swing Tongues

These have a hinged assembly on the drawbar which allows a portion of the drawbar and tongue to swing back on itself, thereby having no excess sticking out the front of the boat. This is great for storage, but is NO advantage for shipping. The reason being is that in order to be towed on and off the ship the tongue must be in the tow position. So this is the position the measurement are taken on the wharf to calculate the total volume. The shipping line will NOT swing it back once on the ship as they want no liability for tampering with your trailer.

Retractable Tongues

Retractable tongues are ideal for both storage and shipping. In most cases the tongue can retract and lock in the storage position, but because the tow ball is still accessible, the boat can be towed on and off the ship in the retracted position. This can save you easily a thousand dollars. Just make sure that when the trucker delivers to port that he puts the tongue in the retracted position. If left out, the port will measure as delivered.


If you can get a trailer with a retractable tongue, then you will benefit in shipping reductions and convenient storage. As always and questions please feel free to contact us.

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