Should You Invest in a Boat Trailer?
You've taken the leap and purchased your dream boat. If you don't live near a body of water though, you'll need to start considering how to store and transport it. Are you storing your boat in a nearby dock or at home? Will you store it outdoors during the off season, or put it in dry storage? Most importantly, if you want to take your boat on the road, how do you transport it and what are rules? Let us help walk you through some of the decisions surrounding boat transportation.
Should You Buy A Boat Trailer?
There are plenty of pros and cons to purchasing a boat trailer. Depending on your situation though, the pros likely far outweigh the cons, especially when it comes to cost and convenience.
One of the most important pros includes the freedom and flexibility to take your boat wherever you'd like. Most boats can be used in freshwater and saltwater (with proper care), so whether you're visiting the lake next weekend or taking your boat to the beach on vacation, a trailer can accommodate all your travels with ease.
You'll also be able to store your boat at home, avoiding the storage charges of local marinas/ dry storage options. While prices vary in the US, a good rule of thumb for estimating your cost is about $50 per foot of boat per season. Of course, if space is an issue in your home, marina storage may be the best option for you. But if you do have the space, you'll be able to save plenty of money with trailer storage just by taking the proper outdoor storage precautions.
Having a trailer can also help you out when it comes to boat servicing and maintenance. You'll be able to haul your own boat in for work. You'll also be able to avoid some of the issues that arise when storing your boat in the water all year round. You'll need to make sure to take proper care of your trailer though; exposure to salt water can lead to erosion, and faulty wiring if not properly maintained.
What Kind of Trailer Should You Get?
If you decide to buy a trailer, you'll need to consider your boat and your vehicle alike when making your purchase. Boats are heavier than they look, and not all cars will be able to pull the load.
Some common trailer options include:
Single Axle Trailers: A small-sized trailer that can haul smaller boats; a single axle trailer can usually carry up to 3,000 lbs.
Tandem Trailers: A larger trailer capable of hauling larger family-sized boats; more expensive than a single axle trailer, a new tandem axle boat trailer can cost anywhere between $1500 and $5000, or more.
Bunk Trailers: A simple trailer design that can be submerged for launching the boat into the water. Bunk trailers have less moving parts which means they are much cheaper compared to roll-off trailers. Bunk trailers are easy to maintain, and "drive on" loading is possible.
Roll-off Trailers: More expensive than a bunk trailer, a roll-off/roller trailer makes it easier to launch a boat into the water (just a push of a button!). Due to the many moving parts of a roll-off trailer, they are more expensive to maintain, but cause less damage to the hull of your boat. A wench is required for loading the boat onto a roll-off trailer.
Rules of the Road: Boat Edition
Driving with your trailer may seem intimidating at first: remember to take your time and get used to driving while pulling the extra weight. Taking your trailer and boat out for a short test run will go a long way to getting your "road legs".
It's going to take you longer to accelerate and stop when pulling your trailer. Make sure to give yourself and others on the road plenty of space. When turning, you'll need to avoid having the trailer jump curbs or worse by widening your turn. Position your vehicle on the outside of the lane, and don't cut your steering wheel until the rear wheels of your vehicle have passed the inside curb.