Using retractable straps to tie down jet ski.

How to use retractable straps to tie down your jet ski

A detailed guide to tie down your jet ski faster and smoother.

Before we delve into the details, here are the key steps.

Ratchet straps

Bolt-on retractable ratchet straps

3-point retractable straps

Retractable transom straps

Steps

1. Thread the strap manually

2. Tighten the strap

3. To release, grab the webbing and start pulling

1. Measure where to put the bolt, drill out a hole, and tighten the nut.

2. Press the button and lock the strap on the jet ski

3. Tighten your strap

4. To release, press the button and the strap auto retracts

1. Lock the three hooks on the trailer and the tow eye

2. Tighten the strap and lock it

3. To release, pull the strap slightly outward and the strap will automatically retract. 

1. Bring the ratchet handle to 90°


2. Hook both ends on the trailer and the jet ski

3. Tighten the strap and lock it

4. To release, press the button and the strap auto retracts

Why retractable straps?

There are different ways to tie down your jet ski, PWC and sea-doo. The choice depends on the type of strap you use. The three main types of tie down straps are lashing straps, cam buckle, and ratchet straps. 

  • Lashing straps are intended for light duty use
  • Cam buckle straps are perfect for medium-sized items
  • Ratchet straps are for anything from light to the heaviest loads. 

They are all affordable and easy to learn. Generally speaking, they’re all handy tools for strapping down anything. However, sometimes these straps can get a bit tangled if you don’t store them properly. Even worse, they can become a bit tricky to release over time. To make strapping easier and faster, there’s a new invention called “retractable tie-down straps”. Just like the name, these retractable straps automatically retract! You can tie down your jet ski using “bolt-on retractable ratchet straps”, “retractable transom straps” and “3-point retractable straps” . They are slightly heavier than other straps but, trust me, they make storing easier and the process smoother.

It’s around 50 bucks for a set of retractable straps, and it’s totally worth the price. If you’re thinking of upgrading from your old straps, I’d suggest trying the retractable ones. But if you’re on a budget, a regular ratchet strap can still get the job done. No matter which strap you choose, it’s important to know the exact steps to avoid any damage to your jet ski or potential safety risk. To help you navigate this process, here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide on tying down your jet ski with a ratchet strap, bolt-on retractable ratchet straps, and 3-point retractable straps. 

Differences between ratchet straps and retractable straps 

Ratchet strap

Retractable straps

Thread the strap manually

Yes

No

Tighten the strap

Pull up and down with the lever

Pull up and down with the lever

Tie off the strap after tightening

Yes

No

Release the strap

Grab the webbing and start pulling

Auto retract

Store the strap manually

Yes

No

Required time from setup to store

5-10 minutes

Less than 1 minute

The main difference between a ratchet strap and a retractable ratchet strap lies in the process. While a ratchet strap requires manual threading before securing anything, the retractable strap simplifies the entire process. From releasing, storing, to tying off, the retractable strap automatically retracts itself, and eliminates the need for manual effort.

How to use ratchet tie down straps

Step 1: Thread the strap manually

Push the release latch and fully open the lever to reveal the axle slot. Thread the strap by placing the webbing through the slot in the center of the ratchet and pull the webbing through and back toward you over the spindle to secure it. Keep it a bit loose as you’ll need to add more tension later.

Step 2: Tighten the strap

Raise and lower the handle to tighten the strap. Bring the ratchet to a fully closed position.

Step 3: Release the strap

You’d want to first pull and hold the release tab. Then, open the ratchet and grab the webbing from the non-fixed side andstart pulling. 

How to tie down your jet ski with bolt on retractable ratchet straps

Instructions are boring, here is a video to make reading easier.

“How to install Strapinno Ratchet Straps Plus Review.” Youtube, uploaded by Jun’s World, 8 April 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44I4_kYIsAg&t=301s

Step 1: Measure where to put the bolt on

Put the strap up against the trailer and measure where to put the bolt on. The handle is rubber-coated so don’t worry that it will leave any mark on your jet ski.

Measure where to put the retractable strap on the trailer.

Step 2: Drill out a hole for the bolt

Prepare a ½ inch drill bit for the bolt.

Drill out a hole for the bolt to mount the retractable strap
The hole is perfectly drilled for the bolt.

Step 3: Tighten the nut and bolt

Insert the bolt into the retractable strap, securing it with the nut and washer. Ensure that the angle of the retractable strap allows the strap to be pulled out parallelly. If necessary, consider using a bracket to assist. Finally, make sure that the retractable strap is fully mounted.

Securing the retractable strap with the nut and washer.

Step 4: Pull the strap

Lower the ratchet handle completely (make sure to lower the handle all the way down), press the release button down and pull the strap up to your jet ski and lock in.

Press the button of the retractable strap and pull the strap up to the jet ski and lock in.
The strap is pulled out from the retractable strap and ready to lock in onto the jet ski.

Step 5: Tighten your strap

Pull up and down with the ratchet handle until it feels taut and secure.

Step 6: Release the strap

Bring the handle back to the release position. Press the button and the strap will auto retract.

How to use 3-point retractable straps

“Easy Way to Tie A Jet Ski – Strapinno Ratchet Straps.” Youtube, uploaded by CALAS WORLD, 2 Sep 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF-rUNKoShQ&t=361s

Step 1: Lock the hook on the bottom of the trailer

A retractable strap comes with three hooks- a fixed hook on both the non-retractable side and the retractable side, and a floating hook on the side that retracts. First, take the fixed hook on the non-retractable side, and clip it onto the trailer. 

Lock the fixed hook on the non-retractable on the trailer.

Step 2: Lock the hook on the tow eye

Take the floating hook and pull it up to the tow eye on the back of the ski.

Take the floating hook and lock it on the jet ski.

Step 3: Take the fixed hook and lock it on the other side

Take the fixed hook on the retractable side, and lock it on the other side of the trailer.

Take another hook and lock it on the other side of the trailer.

Step 4: Tighten the strap

Pull up and down with the handle until it feels tight. 

Step 5: Lock the strap

Push the handle down to the lock position.

Step 6: Release

First, unhook everything. Then, pull the strap slightly outward, and the strap will automatically retract. 

How to use retractable transom straps

Step 1: Bring the ratchet handle to 90°

Bring the retractable ratchet handle to 90 degrees.

Step 2: Hook both ends on the trailer and the jet ski

Hook both ends on the jet ski and the trailer.

Step 3: Tighten the strap and lock it

Pull up and down with the ratchet handle until it feels taut and secure.

Step 4: Release

To release, press the button and the strap auto retracts.

No matter if it’s a ratchet strap or a retractable tie down strap, they are all capable of tying down your jet ski safely on a trailer. If you happen to own a dirt bike and are interested in how to tie it down, here is an article that you might find helpful!

FAQ

Are retractable ratchet straps worth it?

Yes! Unlike ratchet straps that require threading before use, retractable tie down straps not only skip the threading step but also automatically retract the strap when you want to release it!

How to store ratchet tie down straps?

There are so many types of straps in the market. Here we will explain how to store the retractable ratchet tie down straps and a ratchet strap.

To ensure the longevity of retractable ratchet tie down straps, it’s advised to: 

1. Clean the straps after use

2. Lubricate the ratchet mechanism

3. Avoid overloading

If you own a ratchet strap, here are the steps to store it:

1. Close the handle.

2. Thread the longer part of the strap through the winding mechanism, leaving about 15 inches out.

3. Fold the strap over, creating a fold about 3 feet down. Roll up the strap tightly. 

4. Place the rolled-up strap on the ratcheting mechanism. 

5. Take the short end with the attached hook and tuck it as close as possible to the rolled strap.

6. With the roughly 15 inches of the longer strap, bring it over the top of the rolled strap. 

7. Hook or tuck it under the handle of the ratcheting mechanism. 

8. Adjust the length by letting out or tightening the strap until you have the right amount to secure the rolled strap.

What should I look for in a ratchet strap?

When tying down a jet ski on trailer, you’ll want to choose a retractable strap with a breaking limit that exceeds the weight of the jet ski. It’s recommended to choose a ratchet strap with a breaking limit at least 1.5 to 2 times the weight of your jet ski. A 3-point retractable straps with a breaking strength of 3000 lbs and a working load limit of 1000 lbs or a bolt-on retractable ratchet strap with a breaking strength of 1650 lbs and a working load limit of 550 lbs will be a good option for you!

What is the working load limit of a 1 inch ratchet strap?

With Strapinno’s retractable straps, the working load limit ranges from 500 lbs to 1000 lbs, and depending on the number of ratchet straps you use, it could ultimately increase the working load limit as a whole.

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