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Can a Ford Explorer Tow a Boat? (Read This First!)

A Ford Explorer has many impressive capabilities from technological to safety measures. It can handle any increased stress and fulfill all the necessities. For going on a trip or vacation with a lot of cargo, it can be the safest option. 

Can a ford explorer tow a boat?

A Ford Explorer has a convenient towing option with a distinctive design and capacity of towing. It has a powerful gearing with the ability of generating up to 300 horsepower. Any medium to large boat can easily fit into it as in recent 2019 and 2020 models it carries the capacity over 5600 pounds. 

All Ford Explorer models can tow small fishing boats, watercraft, or sailboats that weigh less than 2000 pounds, but boats that weigh more than 4,500 pounds are best towed by the more recent models. 

For instance, the 2019 and 2020 models are the safest to tow, while older models require some management because boat weights can vary. 

However, because all Ford Explorers have the same body frame as pickup trucks with powerful engines, they can generally tow boats of a medium size.

A 2011 Ford Explorer can tow up to 2000 lbs., which is preferable for towing small fishing boats or watercraft boats, as they typically weigh between 800 and 1700 lbs. As models changed, the towing capacity increased. 

The weight of the boat varies due to the aluminum body parts of the boat and its engine so the older models from 2010 or 2011 might not be able to do the same like 2027 to 2020 models. 

The towing capacities of newer models are up to 5000 to 5600 lbs., which can even tow a pontoon boat that weighs between 4000 and 4500 lbs.

2011 Ford Explorer: 

2011 Ford Explorer has a towing capacity of up to 2000 pounds, making it possible to pull small sailboats and fishing boats weighing under 1700 pounds.

2013 Ford Explorer:

2013 Ford Explorer can tow loads of up to 3000 pounds, so they can tow medium pontoon boats in addition to small fishing boats.

2015 Ford Explorer:

2015 Ford Explorer can pull medium-sized boats because they can tow boats weighing up to 3500 pounds.

2016 Ford Explorer:

The 2016 Ford Explorer’s high towing engine capacity of 4000 pounds enables it to pull pontoon boats or medium-sized sailboats.

2017 Ford Explorer:

This 2017 Ford Explorer is specially designed with a towing capacity of up to 5000 pounds and to tow large boats.

2020 Ford Explorer:

This is the recent model of the Ford Explorer having a greater towing capability of 5600 lbs., allowing it to haul sailboats as well the large pontoon boats.

Is a Ford Explorer good for towing? 

A Ford Explorer’s unique 300-horsepower engine can pull up to 5600 pounds, which is enough to tow anything from a medium-sized pontoon that can weigh 4000 to 4500 pounds to a large-sized fishing boat that typically weighs 1700 pounds or slightly more. 

It can tow sailboats and other watercraft, in addition to fishing boats.

In addition to having a pickup truck body frame, the Ford Explorer is considered to have good carrying quality in comparison to other cars. Watercraft boats, which typically weigh 850 pounds, fall under the maximum towing capacity of the Ford Explorer. 

A large weighted pontoon that weighs 4500 pounds can also be towed. All things considered, a Ford Explorer is a good towing vehicle. 

The 2020 model had a strong engine with a towing capacity of up to 5600 lbs., and the 2019 model has over 5000 lbs. of towing capacity for towing any medium-sized pontoon.

What boats can a ford explorer tow? 

The Ford Explorer features a 300-horsepower engine that makes it capable of towing anything from a small fishing boat to a medium-sized pontoon boat, and it typically has the same body frame as other pick-up trucks, making it an excellent towing vehicle.

As a Ford Explorer can tow up to 5600 lbs., it can tow all types of boats, with the heaviest pontoon boats weighing only 4500 lbs. and the lightest sailboats weighing 1700 lbs. 

Since they are below the Ford Explorer’s maximum towing capacity, it can be argued that, if the boats fall within these limits, the Ford Explorer can tow almost any type of boat.


Watercraft are light boats that can be easily towed by a Ford Explorer, which is capable of towing even heavy pontoons. Despite being light in comparison, these craft do not carry much weight. 

A Ford Explorer with a maximum towing capability of 5,600 lbs. can readily carry these boats, which weigh only 800 to 850 lbs.

Pontoon boats:

Despite the fact that pontoon boats typically weigh between 4000 and 4500 lbs (plus the weight of their parts or engines), they can still be towed by a Ford Explorer because they can pull loads up to 5600 lbs with the newer 2020 model. 

And up to 5000 lbs with the 2019 model, though these are still below the towing capacity of a Ford Explorer.


Sailboats weigh about 1700 pounds, which is less than a Ford Explorer’s towing capacity for both older and newer versions, so these boats are also listed.

What is the max weight a Ford Explorer can tow?

A Ford Explorer automobile is perfectly designed with a complete sturdy trunk frame and a powerful gear which makes it more advanced from the other pickup trucks. It can tow boats that do not exceed the weight of the car. 

It has a huge carrying capacity that can support a weight of up to 5100 to 5600 pounds. Its distinctive towing design and capacity can hold the weight of a medium to large sized boat depending on the engine model. 

The Ford Explorer has some impressive capabilities which initially helps it to carry a huge pressure. The powerful engine can generate 280 to 310 horsepower which is sufficient enough to carry almost 4000 pounds. 

In fact, if it is properly equipped with a powerful engine like the 2017 Ford Explorer or 2020 Ford Explorer, it has the ability to tow a maximum of 5,300 weight in it. 

How to tow a boat to a ford explorer?

The Ford Explorer is built with increased carrying capacity so it can easily pull any average or medium sized boat or other vehicle. In fact, towing a boat into it is quite simple and easy. 

However, installing the boat cautiously is necessary as it’s a matter of safety to others on the road. Also, the driver has to be experienced and skilled enough to make sure having perfect control over the vehicle.

Determine the capacity of the vehicle first:

A ford explorer normally has the capacity of almost 5000 pounds to pull well any average-sized boat or vehicle. But it can’t carry its full capacity due to some limitations. 

For a ford explorer, the maximum weighing ability is nearly 2000-2500 pounds though it depends on the model of engine. So, it’s wise to properly inspect your vehicle first and determine the maximum towing capacity.  

Set the boat:

Any average to middle sized boat can easily be fitted into the truck frame. Normally, the vehicle has a trailer hitch and wiring harness by which you can install the boat correctly. 

Place the boat in such a way that its heaviest part is set into the front part which eventually will help to suppress the fishtail. Though the hitch normally attached into the Ford Explorer, installing a weight suspension hitch will be more beneficial. 

Installing weight supporting hitch:

Weight supporting hitch is quite necessary for a vehicle if towing a huge weight. It primarily helps to support the load and suspense the weight that reduces the tire pressure from the vehicle. 

But choosing the right hitch and installing it in the right way is also necessary else, there’s a high possibility of detaching the boat from the trailer. 

Ready to go:

After installing the hitch and setting the boat, your car is ready to go. Check the car performance again before hitching up. 

Make sure the braking performance is okay, the tires are set to carry the huge pressure, the lights and also check the highway gradeability again. Also, confirm the hitch is perfectly attached to the boat once again. 

Final Thoughts 

A Ford Explorer can tow a boat as it is built with the increased capacity of almost 5300 pounds which can easily pull any medium to large sized boat weighing between 3000 to 4500 pounds. Its 300 horsepower engine supports this huge weight but it’s necessary to carefully install and tow the boat.