Boat Hooks

A boat winch hook, (located on the end of the trailer winch rope), attaches to the boat's bow. It is integral to securing the boat to the trailer needing attention, as it can be a significant safety issue.

These hooks come in many shapes and sizes and the main ones used today are the basic bent S-Hook, Stainless steel clip, and the Cast steel safety hook. We see a lot of variation on these come through the shop, in all sorts of conditions.

The basic Bent S Hook made from stainless steel round bar is only suitable for the lightest of boats like dinghies and small motorboats- generally not exceeding 400kg. These hooks deform due to overload. They then have a nasty habit of suddenly releasing, firing at your head, which is enough force to injure or kill. (more than one eye in WA has been lost to this)

Stainless Steel Clips can be purchased in any hardware shop and come in varying grades of stainless steel. Marine Grade Stainless Steel is 316. However, this is one of the softest forms of stainless steel and bends easily. 316 Stainless Steel Clips generally have a low rating. This rating only applies if it is still in its original shape and condition.

Cast Steel Safety Hooks have a latch that when working, prevents the hook from falling out of the bow eye of your boat. Cast steel is many times stronger than other forms of hooks and will resist deformation to a high degree. The only downside to a steel hook is that they can rust and damage your ropes – so always check for wear and tear to ropes and straps at the attaching point.

These Cast Steel hooks are generally very cost-effective ranging between $7-$30


When choosing a hook for your boat, here are some critical factors to consider are:

Your hook should be rated. When you check the hook's rating, you want SWL Hook rating (safe weight to lift) or a Pull rating (kg). When you purchase a new winch rope, or straps look for the rating listed on the packaging.

Confirm with your retailer that the rating is for the hook, not the strap/rope/webbing/cable (many packaged retrieval systems rate the material and not the hook)

Your hook must not be stretched or have lost its original shape- If it has changed shape in any way, stop using it immediately.

In choosing which hook to use, if your bow eye is too small to accept a cast steel hook, the simple addition of a rated shackle usually allows for the fitment of a bigger hook. Don't forget to use your bow safety chains and ensure your load (boat) is securely attached to your trailer.