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Powerboat Trailer Purchasing Tips

 Make sure the Carry Capacity is greater than the loaded weight of the boat. Fuel is 6.2 lbs. per gallon, diesel is 7 lbs. per gallon, and water is 8 lbs. per gallon. Typically if your boat has outboard engine(s) the weight of the engine(s) are not included in the dry weight of the boat. If your boat has Inboard, I/O, Jet Drive etc. engines, their weight is sometimes not included, and/or if you upgrade to a larger engine, that weight difference is not taken into account in the dry weight.

 Make sure the trailer is a foot or two longer than the length of your boat from the transom/keel intersection to the furthest tip forward, including a bow pulpit/anchor. Some manufacturers will end the trailer frame 2-4’ shorter than the boat and just have one solid bunk hanging off the back. This is not recommended as these bunks are not adequately supported by the frame and can put excess pressure on other points of the frame or hull. Also, the tail lights should be within 2’ of the rear most part of the boat, so be sure you have a proper frame extension if necessary.

 Make sure the manufacturer of the trailer adjusts the axle placement according to your boat’s center of gravity, to ensure proper tongue weight. If your tongue weight is too light the trailer will sway and can potentially be very dangerous.

 Check the brake law in your state (they vary state by state) and make sure the trailer you are purchasing has the appropriate braking system. I definitely always recommend all wheel brakes on a trailer.

 Find out if the bunks/rollers are adjustable and if the manufacturer of the trailer sets them accordingly to your boat’s hull. You do not want a bunk or roller to hit a strake or intake on the bottom of the hull but you also want to ensure there is adequate keel support. It is recommended to have bunking outside of the keel as well as side bunking for lateral support and ease of loading. Also, most fiberglass manufacturers do not recommend rollers as they can weaken the hull. Many boat manufactures will void a gel coat warranty and sometimes a hull warranty if the boat is placed on a roller trailer as the rollers can create pressure points on the hull.

 Get verification that your trailer will come with a proper, DOT approved VIN number, DOT approved lighting and a legal certificate of origin for registering your boat trailer.

 * for trailers going into Canada, you will need a proper VIN number, lighting, braking and a No Recall letter, stating there are no recalls on the trailer components when importing it into Canada. For trailers going overseas, please make sure the trailer’s regulations match those of the country you will be registering the trailer in.

Tags: How To · Tips and Tricks