Obviously, as with any product, there are different offerings. Every trailer manufacturer builds a different product: some use the same material, some offer bunks, rollers or screwpads, some are custom built while others are pre-fabbed. The question is, how do you know which trailer will work for your boat’s hull?
Well, if you work with a company such as us, Loadmaster Trailer, you are working with the manufacturer directly to build you a trailer custom for your boat. This way you can ensure proper fit, axle placement etc. However, there are only a few trailer companies left truly building each boat trailer to order the way we do.
Most consumers are looking to purchase a trailer they can walk in and buy. Obviously, in this scenario, you can expect the trailer will need some adjustment to properly fit your boat’s hull, to eliminate the risk of causing damage.
Key items to know: GVWR vs Payload. Let’s say your boat weighs 4,000 lbs. dry and you walk into a marina or dealership, and they try to sell you a trailer with a “rating” of 5,000 lbs. What you need to ask is if that is GVWR or Payload. GVWR is the rating of axles, tires, tongue weight etc. From that GVWR you have to subtract the weight of the trailer itself to get actual Payload. So if the GVWR of the trailer, in this example, was 5,000 lbs. it would not be nearly enough trailer for your boat.
Weight: keep in mind the dry weight does not include fuel, water, batteries, gear, live wells etc. Oftentimes, if your boat has Outboard motors, it does not include that weight as well. Be sure to give yourself some cushion as you never want to run the trailer to its’ full capacity.
Fit: know your boat’s overall length from the transom to the further tip forward. Your trailer should be at least that length, idealy a couple feet longer. You can protect the transom of your boat but ensure that supports run all the way to it. Some pre fabbed trailers stop the bunking 3 or 4 feet short in the back, which can really mess with tongue weight/sway, and also possibly create boat damage.
If you are looking for a trailer that is already built, and want to go with bunks, be sure the bunks are fully adjustable and have full keel support down the center. This will prolong the life of the hull and make sure you don’t cause damage when loading and launching.
These are just a few pointers to help you when looking at a boat trailer for your ride. Good luck, and happy boating!