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4 Signs It’s Time To Sell and Upgrade Your Boat

6 Ways America’s Outdoor Recreation Act Could Improve Boating

What You Need to Know About Boat Trailers

Boat Trailers

When you buy a boat you look over every little detail. How much space does it have, how does it handle, and wow, isn’t she a beauty? It’s easy to get focused on the boat, but let’s not forget about the importance of boat trailers. In all honesty, you need to pay just as much attention to the trailer you choose for your boat as the boat itself. After all, without a functioning trailer, you cannot get your boat to the water in one piece. Here’s what you need to know about boat trailers.

Choosing the Right Trailer

The right boat trailer for you will largely be determined by where you’ll do the majority of your boating and how much maintenance you want to put into the trailer’s frame.

Ask any boater, and they will have an opinion on which is better: steel or aluminum. Consider the kind of water you’ll be boating in – fresh or saltwater – and how resistant the trailer needs to be to corrosion and rust. With proper maintenance and care, either can last the lifetime of your boat. 

You’ll also want to consider if you want rollers or bunks as the trailer’s support system. Each has its drawbacks: bunks aren’t as easy as rollers when it comes to loading and unloading but, unlike rollers, you likely won’t end up with “hooks” in the hull from rollers, due to long term storage.

Single or Dual Axle

Once again, there are pros and cons to both single and dual axle trailers. Single axle trailers are lighter and less expensive than dual axle trailers and have the benefit of requiring less maintenance. However, if you do a lot of highway driving or anticipate long trips, dual axle trailers provide more stability, and should you get a flat tire, are safer than single axle trailers.

Tire Care

When it comes to tires, never buy truck or passenger vehicle tires. Boat trailers require ST tires as they have thicker sidewalls and are more durable. From there you can choose either radial or bias-ply. Choosing between the two will depend on how far you plan to take long trips with the boat trailer and the weight of the boat and trailer. A trailering tool kit can be a lifesaver should you need to change out a tire or have another unforeseen problem. When it’s time to park the trailer, remember to bring the trailer chocks so your trailer doesn’t trail off when unhitched.

Boat trailer titles and registration

Not all states require a boat trailer to have a title, but some do. Make sure you’re in the clear with your local Department of Motor Vehicles; even if you think you don’t need a title, make the call anyway, as some boat trailers don’t require a title if they are under a specific weight. A caveat to this is that you cannot tow a boat if your trailer exceeds certain dimensions, and each state varies; so if you’re considering an interstate move, know the laws before you pack up and sell the house.

There are similar regulations in regards to trailer registrations and license plates, and some states’ regulations are quite extensive. It’s best to familiarize yourself with your state’s trailer laws. Many serious boaters will tell you, there is absolutely no harm in having a title and registration for your boat trailer; both can help protect you and prove ownership if anything happens to the trailer.

Size Does Matter

Boat trailers have a limit to how much weight they can carry. The gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR must take into consideration the weight of the boat including the engine, fuel, and any gear. Expect to estimate up to 20 percent additional weight just to be on the safe side. The hitch and tow vehicle must also have the same GVWR for the trailer. The width of the trailer also matters. The width of the boat should match up as evenly as possible with the trailer and there needs to be enough space (at least four inches) to properly secure the boat to the trailer.

Regardless of size, every boat trailer is required to have working indicators and brake lights. What’s more, each state has varying laws on whether or not your trailer needs to have brakes. Finally, boat trailers take up a lot of space – if you’re planning a road trip that will have you in and out of convenience stores, rest stops, diners, or hotels, plan ahead by calling some of the stops on your journey to make sure they have parking for boat trailers and have easy access in and out of the driveway and parking area.

Your mileage may vary

Speaking of road trips, leave your boat’s fuel tank near empty for the duration of any long road trip. Fuel can add up to six pounds per gallon, putting additional strain on the trailer and cutting into your gas mileage. You should be able to wait to fill up until you are closer to your destination.

Conclusion: Much of what you need to know about boat trailers will depend on the kind of boat you have or will have. You’ll take into consideration what you’ll use the boat for, how big it is, how often you’re going to use it, and how much wear and tear will be put on the boat trailer whenever you haul the boat or leave the boat on the trailer for extended periods of time. Knowing as much as you can about your boat, will be a helpful tool in deciding on the best trailer for your needs. We hope this information has helped you learn as much as you need to know about boat trailers. If you’re in the market for a new boat or boat trailer, take a look at all of the Boatline listings we have waiting for you!


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