How to Choose a Boat Trailer?

Boat trailers can greatly enhance the boating experience, because once you have a boat trailer, you will not need to rent a slip, and you can travel long distances to new waters to row. When you decide to buy a boat trailer, the first thing you have to consider is the boat trailer size.

Tandem Axle Boat Trailer

Boat trailer size

The size includes two dimensions: length and weight.

The length of the trailer depends on the length of the boat. Generally speaking, the trailer needs to be 2-3 inches longer than the boat itself. The length is measured from the farthest point of the bow to the end of the hull’s running surface. When measuring the length of a boat, do not use LOA as an indicator of the length of the ship, because the trailer is only the surface that supports the hull’s running surface. LOA may include the length of the swimming platform and the bow pulpits.

Boat trailer length

Boat weight is another important indicator that affects the choice of boat trailer. The weight of the ship does not refer to the “dry” weight published by the manufacturer, but includes the weight of all equipment. You need to know the weight of your boat fully loaded with fuel, water, batteries, outboard engines, equipment, and T-top or hardtop (if applicable). Usually, the weight of fuel is 8.5 pounds per gallon and the weight of water is 6.5 pounds per gallon. For safety reasons, the gross weight rating (GVWR) of the trailer should preferably exceed 15% of the total weight of the boat.

Tongue weight

Tongue weight refers to the weight of the front of the boat trailer, which is also part of your consideration. The weight of tongue weight needs to account for 10% to 15% of the total weight of the boat and trailer. If its weight exceeds this range, the trailer is likely to sway back and forth when driving on the road, it is dangerous.

tongue weight

Single axis or dual axis

If the boat weight does not exceed 3,500 pounds, then a single-axle boat trailer can meet your needs. If it exceeds 3,500 pounds, it is best to use a tandem-axle model to carry it.

Single-axle boat trailers are cheaper, require less maintenance, and are easier to move around manually. Usually it can accommodate 22’ (6.7 m) or 23’ (7.01 m) ships.

Two-axle boat trailers are more expensive than single-axle boat trailers and are suitable for larger boats. It is more stable when driving on the road, and it will be safer if you accidentally blow a tire.

boat trailer
Single-axle boat trailer
boat trailer
Two-axle boat trailer


The frame materials of boat trailers are mainly divided into two types: steel and aluminum.

The steel frame has excellent strength, can protect the wires and brake lines, and can be painted according to the color of your boat. But the troublesome thing is that the steel will rust, which will affect the appearance of the trailer and even affect the structural integrity over time. The rusty frame can crack or darken the paint.

In recent years, there has also been a galvanized trailer, in which a steel frame is dipped into a bath of liquid zinc at 500degrees C. This will give the steel frame a silver zinc protective layer, which is a good choice if you are a saltwater boater.

Aluminum frames are much lighter than steel frames, but they are not as strong as steel.

steel frame
steel frame
galvanized frame
galvanized frame
Aluminum frame
Aluminum frame

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