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The Boat Trailering Guys

I am going to buy a new trailer for my boat. Do trailer manufacturers have a list of hull designs and boat models which can be used to find the right kind of trailer to use? I don't trust the dealer I've been talking to because he keeps pointing at a trailer in the showroom and says it will fit the hull. How do I know it will fit and what should I look for to make sure it fits?

D Tessler Clarksville TN

Answered on: 6/2005

MIKE: These are considerations to make when purchasing a new trailer for your boat: 1. Bunk style or Roller style trailer. When determining which you would prefer, keep in the mind the ramps that you most frequent. If you are using a steep ramp you may want to go with the bunk style trailer where it will be easy to "float" the boat off of the trailer. These trailers require lower maintenance and usually cost a little less. They also provide more continuous lateral support, which could minimize damage from going over severe road conditions. If you are in an area where ramps are not that steep, consider a roller style trailer where you can roll the boat off the trailer with little effort. Re-loading is also easier regardless of ramp grade. It is easier to roll the boat back on as opposed to dragging it across bunks. There are pads available to put on bunks that make for a slicker surface. When making your choice between these trailer types you should also consider hull shape. You will want to provide support to the reinforced areas of the hull. Examples of these areas are the keel, chines/strakes of the hull, bulkheads and transom. Typically on a bunk trailer there are two bunks that support the hull, and prevent side to side movement, along with rollers under the keel. 2. Choose the right size trailer in terms of length, width and capacity. Length is self explanatory. The trailer should be long enough so that the boat's entire length is supported. Width can vary depending on the distance between the fenders. It is best to have the boat's center of gravity as low as possible when sitting on the trailer. Not only is it safer while towing but will also make for easier launching. Ideally the boat would be between the fenders with little or no overhang. When figuring capacity, take into account a fully loaded boat. Add the weight of the boat/motor, gas, water, coolers filled with ice, additional gear and supplies, etc.... After you have done that you may want to add another 5-10% for a safety factor. Depending on the weight you may consider a multiple axle trailer vs. a single axle. Boats/motors are usually sold as a package with a trailer. You may want to contact the manufacturer of the boat to see what manufacturers of trailers they are using to set up the factory packages. GEORGE: In general terms, boat trailer manufacturers have every boat hull on a computer and can tell you what trailer best supports a particular model. If the salesman in the showroom insists a particular trailer will fit any 17-foot boat, tell him that Boston Whaler builds two different kinds of 17-foot boats and each requires a different design of trailer. I have always been of the opinion if a salesman says "it's no problem," then it has the potential of becoming a problem.

The Boat Trailering Guys: Mike and George