Since the pandemic began in 2020, boat sales in the US have skyrocketed. For example, more than 300,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, a level of sales not seen since before 2008.
Many new people are discovering the joy of spending time on the water. But if you’re new to recreational boating, you may forget that you also need to buy a trailer if you ever want to use your new boat.
And there are a few different types of boat trailers to consider, depending on the type of boat you plan to buy. You just need to make sure you have your trailer in place, ready to go, at the time you buy your boat.
So what are boat trailers and what are the main types you should know about? Read on for our boat trailer guide below to find out now.
What is a boat trailer?
Before getting into the details of boat trailers, it helps to know what they are and how they work.
Here are some tips on boat trailers. At a very basic level, a boat trailer is a method you use to tow your boat from its storage area, such as your home, to the body of water you plan to use. Boat trailers should be able to transport your boat safely on local roads and highways, depending on the size of your boat.
When your boat is on the trailer, you are supposed to back the entire trailer up in the water until the boat can float on its own. You can then drive the boat away from the trailer, park your vehicle and boat trailer, and enjoy a day on the water.
They are unique trailers that are only designed for boats. A standard storage trailer will not transport a boat, nor will it perform well if you completely submerge it in water.
The only time you may not need a boat trailer is if you store your boat at a marina or shipyard with access to your favorite body of water. If you only plan to use it in that particular body of water, then a trailer would be unnecessary.
This is often the case for those who live near the ocean. Shipyards often have man-made waterways leading from their property to the main body of water.
Types of boat trailers
However, for everyone else who needs a boat trailer, like us freshwater addicts who are always exploring new lakes, there are a few to choose from.
- bunk bed trailer
Sleeper trailers are some of the simplest, most affordable and smallest boat trailers on the market. Their small size and simple design make them more suitable for smaller boats, such as those under 20 feet in length.
The boats keel rests on board which runs along the trailer. These boards are covered with a soft fabric and are more commonly called bunk beds. The addition of the fabric helps the boat slide in and out of the trailer with ease, without causing any damage to the boat or trailer.
There are virtually no moving parts, which means these trailers are inexpensive and require very little maintenance or cleaning. The only problem is that you have to completely submerge the trailer, which means it could get dirt on the wheels and axles and might need some cleaning to prevent unnecessary corrosion.
- scooter trailer
While a sleeper trailer requires a boat to get on or off the trailer in the water, a scooter trailer allows the boat to roll off the trailer and into the water.
The boat rolls thanks to cylindrical plastic parts, which makes the experience smoother. Thanks to this process, you do not need to back the entire trailer into the water to release the boat. This means you can leave your boat on shallower boat ramps with ease.
Roller trailers offer more flexibility in where you can unload your boat. But they are more expensive than your standard sleeper trailer. And you need to keep your roller trailer clean and in good working order to ensure proper rolling functionality over time.
- floating trailer
If you have a larger boat, such as a pontoon or saltwater boat, you will most likely need a floating trailer. These are the trailers capable of handling larger loads.
However, you will need to use them in deeper loading zones. To unload the boat, you must back the trailer deep into the water so that the boat floats away. To reload it, simply navigate the boat or guide it with a rope until it’s floating just above the trailer.
You can then slowly back the boat and trailer out of the water, allowing it to rest gently on the trailer as it pulls out of the water.
They offer simple operation and fewer moving parts like a sleeper trailer, making maintenance easy as long as you wash them regularly after submerging.
- keel trailer
If you already have a trailer that is used for other purposes and would also like to tow your boat with that trailer, you can add a keel trailer. These are designed to attach your boat to an existing trailer. Therefore, they are an additional piece of equipment.
Keel trailers help distribute weight throughout the trailer and absorb shock during transport. The main purpose of the keel trailer is to protect the keel, which is extremely sensitive during transport.
This may be the most affordable option for those who already have a trailer for work or towing other toys like dirt bikes or snowmobiles.
Find the right trailer
Choosing between the different types of boat trailers depends on the type of boat you have, how big it is, and what the water conditions are in the places where you plan to load and unload your boat.
If you still don’t know which one to buy, talk to a few friends who own boats and see what types of trailers they prefer based on their experience.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism