Trailering down to the Keys? Ever done it?

Not sure if this is the right place to post so please let me know if not!

I am considering trailering the boat down to Key Largo in middle of July as the place I’m staying has docks available.

The boat is a 21ft Sportsman CC and trailered is double axle.

Anyone in the area ever made that trek? Think its worth it?

We have done it at least 10 times. I’m sure others will ultimately chime in but, here is my .02. Pull your trailer hubs and repack the bearings (replace if they’re very old). Check all the nuts/bolts on your trailer as well as the lights. I carry a spare hub/bearings/seal as well as a grease gun and the tools necessary for changing out a hub (I’ve had to do it once). Of course a good spare, jack, etc. Oh, you’ll need a strap/straps on your stern, the Monroe Co. LEOs will stop you if they don’t see them. I use them all the time anyway.

We usually stay in Tavernier or Islamorada. The reefs are not very far off shore and the yellowtail fishing can be really good as can the bottom fishing. For yellowtail, you must chum, chum, chum and chum some more.

We have a Sunpass (you can buy one at any CVS in FL) and take the FL Turnpike down. We get on at Ft. Pierce and take it all the way down to FL City. I went through Miami once dragging a boat…………………never again. You can check out the Sunpass website for more info.

Having your own boat down there is definitely worth it. We always rent a place with dockage so you can just walk out and go anytime you want. The ramps down there are interesting in some places so you may want to check out the closest one to where you are staying. I would also recommend tow insurance if you don’t have it. Towboat US is everywhere down there and I have had to use them once. The franchise there in Tavernier was super fast (I ran out of gas when my fuel gauge malfunctioned).

Like I said, I’m sure others will come along with info. Let me know if you have any questions.

Live bait is usually around but some days it can get tricky catching you own. We buy our bait and chum at Key Largo Fisheries.

“Apathy is the Glove into Which Evil Slips It’s Hand”, but really, who cares?

+1 on 100% Everything DF said.

You could also mount your spare hub to your spare tire to save room and a few minutes on the road.

We did the trip for the first time this Spring towing our boat and will certainly do it again. I did everything that DF mentioned minus the pass, but certainly took the turnpike nearly all the way. It will be the best $40 you spend on you trip down. There is a calculator for tolls on the FLDOT website so you can estimate how much tolls are. Having a boat in that part of the country is absolutely a necessity imo.

I would never go to the keys without my boat! Planed a trip one time and tried to rent a boat when I got there but you can almost buy one for what they rented for!

Did it several years ago, would not go to Keys without my boat

However it does slow you down a good bit but not that big of a deal , also just food for thought there are a several companies down there that rent nice CC’s fully equipped

Sea Pro 210cc
Yamaha 200 4 Stroke
Dodge 1500 4x4 HEMI
2008 Corvette 3LT

Dang, we have to do that!!!

Great info, Doug.


We’ve done it as well. Take all the tools you’ll need to change a flat or hub. Take a good bottle jack & a board cause you might be doing it in sand or dirt on the side of the road. Every time you stop check your hubs with a heat gun. If you stay in a hotel on the way don’t leave anything in the boat or it will be gone in the morning. We took a flats boat down & cut over at Stewart/Indian River & went through the rolls & they said they’d send the bill in the mail for them, never got one & I checked.

21 Contender

Been doing it every year for the past 40+ years. Just got back yesterday from Islamorada. Like everyone else said, have good tires and at least one spare, extra bearing, seals and a pre-greased hub would be quicker. Rags and the tools needed as well. If you don’t have the expertise to do it, go to Corbins and let them get your trailer ready for the trip. It took me 13 hours yesterday with an hour lunch break and several pee stops. Some minor traffic slow downs, but not much. I drive 60 miles an hour the whole way. (I get passed a lot) I’m 50/50 on using the turnpike. I always use it from Boca Raton on down. I got on I-95 yesterday in Hollywood and never had any problems. One more bit of advice: Get a trailer tag. In Largo early, the cops look for that. Remember, it’s toll by plate on most of the turnpike and if the camera can’t read your plate because the boat trailer tongue is blocking its view, Florida cant collect their money. I know you don’t need a tag in SC, but believe me, it’s worth not getting pulled and trying to explain it.

2019 Hewes 18 Redfisher, 150 SHO

Calculate 9 miles / gallon… gas gonna be $500 r/t? Lost an axle on a Sunday morning, was able to get it towed on a rollback to the tower’s yard, catch a ride to Tractor Supply near Sebastian to get a new axle, grind off spring guides and reweld them in right place, paint it, get boat/trailer back on the road by 2pm… 25 knot winds every single day while in the water… we ended up going to a cheap Charleston motel and having a blast here in SC. I’d do it again but… well… be prepared.

Capt. Garry Coats
Folly Beach & CHS

Not sure you saw this but the best advice I could give you is leave at like 2 PM and drive through S Fla…laaaate.

Dilly…ha ha…Had the same experience there more than once.

Just did it with a 28’ Cobia…rented a F250. 9MPG is about right. I would say it depends on how long you plan to stay. 1 week, maybe rent a boat…2 weeks, take your boat. I’ve also done here to Ft. Lauderdale with a Tundra pulling a 23’ Sea Hunt…averaged about 8MPG.

Cobia 277 twin Yamaha 200s
Sea Hunt Ultra 234 Yamaha F250 (sold)
Sea Pro 190CC Yamaha F150 (sold)