Boat Winch Strap Over Or Under: Things To Know

Adding a winch to your trailer can give you so many benefits. But, often when this installation is done it is common to wonder, which way should you spool the boat winch strap over or under? You probably heard about these two different methods and want to know which one is better for you. This article will discuss which of these option you need to consider during installation of the winch,

Boat Winch Strap Over Or Under

Does it matter how your boat trailer winch strap is oriented? The answer is yes. It’s important that your winch strap drum is spooled in the right direction because winding the strap on your winch in the wrong orientation will cause its ratchet or braking system to not function properly and it will not hold your load. 

But how do you know if the strap should come off from the top or the bottom of the winch drum? There is no definite answer because this setting can vary depending on the winch model you own.

A winch strap can be installed in two configurations.

  1. Overwound: When the strap comes off from the top of the winch drum
  2. Underwound: When the strap comes off from the bottom of the winch drum

While installing your winch strap it’s important to check the directions given in the manual. As the process will vary from model to model, be sure to wind it in the correct direction.

The wrong orientation of your winch strap will put unnecessary stress on the mounting hardware. It can increase the apparent load on the mounting hardware by approximately three times.

Again, winding your strap in the wrong direction can cause the breaking system of the winch to malfunction. The winch will draw more power and cause it to overheat effecting the longevity of your winch.

Furthermore, there is risk of poor alignment of the winch strap with the fairlead and will wear and tear the strap much faster if you configure the strap in the wrong direction.

No matter what type or model of winch you have, be sure you correctly orient the cable or

strap on its reel to ensure safe operation of the winch.


Boat winch straps are used to secure the boat and pull it onto the trailer or off the trailer. The choice between over-wind and under-wind confuses a lot of us when it comes to winching. In this case, it’s important to know the right way to properly wind the winch strap.

Hope this article has helped you figure out whether you should wrap your boat winch strap over or under the spool.

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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