Picking the right boat trailer is essential for ensuring your boat’s safe and comfortable transportation. Knowing the dimensions of your boat, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer, and the type of trailer you need are all critical factors in choosing the right boat trailer. With the correct information, you can ensure your boat is transported safely and securely on the right trailer.
Considerations Before Buying a Boat Trailer
Knowing your boat’s exact dimensions is essential when buying a boat trailer, as you need to ensure that the trailer is big enough to comfortably but snugly fit your boat. Knowing the length and width of your boat will help you choose the right side of the trailer and also help to prevent any of the boats from hanging over the sides. Additionally, you will need to check the outside width of the trailer to ensure it can hold the weight of your boat. With the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating on the placard of the trailer, you can determine if the trailer can handle the wet weight of your boat, including the engine, equipment, and fuel. Overall, the width of the trailer should be between 6 and 8 feet to securely and safely transport your boat.
Vehicle Towing Capacity
Before buying a boat trailer, it is crucial to consider the vehicle’s towing capacity, as it is essential for the driver’s and passengers’ safety. The weight of the boat, trailer, engine, fuel, water, and gear should not exceed the tow vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The total weight should not exceed 80 percent of the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity to be safe. Additionally, the tongue weight should be between 10 to 15 percent of the boat and trailer’s total weight. Knowing the trailer weight can be determined by taking the boat and trailer to a truck scale and weighing it with the fuel tank full and all gear in the boat. Finally, verifying that the trailer and tires are rated to carry the load is essential by checking the VIN sticker.
Types of Boat Trailers
There are various types of boat trailers to choose from, including bunk trailers, roller trailers, and float-on trailers. Bunk trailers have a series of padded supports that cradle the boat’s hull, while roller trailers use a series of rollers to support the boat. Float-on trailers are designed to allow the boat to float onto the trailer, and hybrid trailers combine features of both bunk and roller trailers. Each type of trailer has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for you will depend on your boat’s characteristics and your personal preferences.
Boat trailers can vary in price depending on their size, weight capacity, and features. Before you start shopping, it is essential to set a budget to ensure that you choose a trailer that is within your means. Keep in mind that you may also need to budget for additional features such as brakes, lights, and tires. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option available, investing in a high-quality trailer can save you money in the long run by reducing maintenance costs and preventing damage to your boat.
Different states and countries have different regulations when it comes to boat trailers, so it is essential to research any local laws or requirements that may affect your choice of trailer. Some areas may have restrictions on the length or weight of trailers or require additional safety features such as brakes or reflectors. By understanding these regulations, you can ensure that you choose a trailer that is both safe and legal for use in your area.
Boat Trailer Dimensions
When choosing a boat trailer, it is crucial to consider its dimensions to ensure that it is the right size for your boat. Here are some of the critical dimensions to keep in mind:
Length: The length of the trailer should be long enough to accommodate the entire length of your boat. Make sure to measure your boat accurately, including any additional equipment, such as motors or swim platforms, to ensure that the trailer is long enough.
Width: The width of the trailer should be slightly wider than your boat’s beam to provide adequate support. It is also essential to consider any overhanging equipment, such as outriggers or antennas when choosing the width of your trailer.
Height: The height of the trailer should be high enough to clear any obstacles on the road, such as speed bumps or low bridges. It is also essential to consider the height of your boat and any additional equipment, such as antennas or T-tops when choosing the height of your trailer.
Wheel Size and Type: Your trailer’s size and type of wheels can affect its overall height and weight capacity. Larger wheels can provide better stability and weight distribution, while smaller wheels can be more maneuverable. It is also important to choose the right type of tires, such as radial or bias-ply, to ensure safe and reliable transportation.
Different Types of Boat Trailers
Bunk trailers are a popular choice for transporting boats, particularly for boats with flat or V-shaped hulls. These trailers have a series of padded supports, or bunks, that cradle the boat’s hull and provide stability during transport. Bunk trailers are relatively easy to load and unload and can provide excellent support for the boat. However, they may not be the best choice for boats with irregularly shaped hulls or for boats that need to be launched and retrieved frequently.
Roller trailers are another common type of boat trailer, particularly for boats with V-shaped or rounded hulls. These trailers use a series of rollers to support the boat’s hull, allowing it to be easily loaded and unloaded. Roller trailers can provide excellent support and stability for the boat, and they are often the preferred choice for frequent launching and retrieval. However, they can be more difficult to load and unload than bunk trailers, and they may not be the best choice for boats with flat or irregularly shaped hulls.
Float-on trailers are designed to allow the boat to float onto the trailer, making them a popular choice for larger boats or boats with deep-V hulls. These trailers typically have a flat, shallow hull that guides the boat onto the trailer, and they can be easily launched and retrieved from the water. Float-on trailers can provide excellent support and stability for the boat, and they are often the preferred choice for boats that need to be launched and retrieved frequently. However, they may not be the best choice for boats with flat or irregularly shaped hulls.
Hybrid trailers combine the features of both bunk and roller trailers, providing a versatile option for a variety of boats. These trailers typically have a series of padded bunks to support the boat’s hull and a set of rollers to help guide the boat onto the trailer. Hybrid trailers can provide excellent support and stability for the boat, and they are often the preferred choice for boats with irregularly shaped hulls or for boats that need to be launched and retrieved frequently. However, they can be more difficult to load and unload than a bunk or roller trailers, and they may be more expensive than other types of trailers.
Choosing the Right Boat Trailer
Choosing the right boat trailer can make all the difference in ensuring your boat’s safe and reliable transportation. Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind when selecting a trailer:
Weight Capacity: Choosing a trailer that can safely support the weight of your boat and any additional equipment is important. Make sure to consider the weight of the fuel, water, and other supplies you will be carrying on board.
Material: Boat trailers are typically made from either aluminum or galvanized steel. Aluminum trailers are lightweight and corrosion-resistant but can be more expensive than steel trailers. Galvanized steel trailers are durable and more affordable but can be prone to rust and corrosion over time.
Brakes: Depending on the weight of your boat and your local regulations, you may need to choose a trailer with brakes. There are two main types of brakes: surge brakes and electric brakes. Surge brakes are hydraulic and activated by the trailer’s weight pushing against the tow vehicle. A brake controller in the tow vehicle controls electric brakes.
Lights: All trailers are required to have lights for safety on the road. Ensure your chosen trailer has working brake lights, turn signals, and running lights.
Tie-Downs: Choosing a trailer with adequate tie-downs is important to secure your boat during transport. Look for trailers with multiple tie-down points that are easy to access and use.
By taking the time to consider these factors when selecting a boat trailer, you can ensure that you choose the right one for your needs. A high-quality boat trailer can provide years of safe and reliable transportation for your boat, so it is worth investing in the right one for your specific situation.
How wide are most boat trailers?
The width of most boat trailers can vary depending on the specific trailer and boat being transported. However, in the United States, the legal maximum width for a boat trailer is 8 feet 6 inches (102 inches). This includes the width of the boat and any additional equipment that may be attached to the trailer. Always check local regulations before purchasing a trailer, and make sure to choose one that is wide enough to support your boat’s size and weight while staying within legal width limits.
How long is a 20-foot pontoon boat on a trailer?
A 20-foot pontoon boat trailer is usually 22 to 25 feet long, while the width can range from 8 to 12 feet. The standard width of pontoon boats is 7 feet, so most trailers can also fit them in width. However, a deck boat may be anywhere from 8 to 10 feet wide, so the trailer should have at least an 8-foot width to accommodate it.
How much length does a trailer add to a boat?
Boat trailers can vary in size, but the general rule is to add about 10 feet to the boat’s length. So, for example, a 20-foot boat will look 30 feet long on the trailer.
The length of the boat trailer is also significant because it can affect your ability to maneuver in tight parking spaces. The average boat trailer is 20 feet long and has a width of 8 feet, but you can find trailers as small as 16 feet and up to 30 feet long.
What is the maximum weight a boat trailer can carry?
The maximum weight a boat trailer can carry depends on the specific trailer and its weight capacity. It is important to choose a trailer with a weight capacity that is higher than the weight of your boat, including any additional equipment and supplies. Make sure to check the trailer’s specifications and follow all local regulations for safe and legal transportation.
What size boat trailer do I need?
The size of the boat trailer you need will depend on the dimensions and weight of your boat, as well as any additional equipment and supplies you plan to transport. Make sure to choose a trailer with a weight capacity that is higher than the weight of your boat and a length that is sufficient to support the length of your boat.
Do I need a special license to tow a boat trailer?
In most cases, you do not need a special license to tow a boat trailer. However, some states may have specific requirements for towing trailers, such as weight restrictions or additional licensing requirements. Make sure to check local regulations before towing your boat trailer.
Can I use any trailer for my boat?
No, not all trailers are suitable for all types of boats. You should choose a trailer that is specifically designed for your type of boat, taking into account the weight, length, and shape of your vessel.