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Although it's a favorite pastime, boating can also mean a huge pain when you have to tow your boat to the water. See more truck pictures.

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If you're like most boating enthusiasts, you'll dedicate a lot of time and care to get your baby ready for the open water. Unfortunately, in their excitement, many boaters neglect to pay attention to boat towing regulations. Towing a boat complicates the driving experience and the rules you need to obey on the road. Your boating vacation can easily be spoiled by getting slapped with hefty fines and even causing an accident. Knowing the boat towing rules in your specific state -- and all the states you plan to drive through -- is essential before setting out on the open road.

In the U.S., no cool, out-of-this-world sensation affects you as you cross over a state line, as if crossing over to another dimension in a sci-fi movie. If you do happen to notice the welcome sign of the state you've just entered, you may not give a second thought about the corresponding boat towing laws. Drivers seldom stop to think that they might have to change they way they drive and adapt to the new rules that reign over the roads.

This can be a serious mistake. As transportation gets better and cheaper, more Americans are towing their boats across states. And, although standard speed limits are posted, there are other important laws like maximum towing speeds -- and they're not written on big signs with bold letters to remind you. Nevertheless, as a driver, you're responsible for knowing them and abiding by them. Sometimes these differences seem insignificant. At other times, they can make a big difference. These laws get especially prickly when it comes to towing regulations, which can vary significantly from state to state.

We'll go over some specific differences next.