Choosing A Pontoon Trailer for Spring
Michigan is in part known for the number of large natural lakes. Whether you are a native Michigander, you have a vacation home, or just enjoy visiting, you will be spending some time on a lake. As you search for your perfect pontoon boat, you know you are going to need the right trailer to pair with it.
But how do you determine the right pontoon trailer to meet the needs of your boat? Sure, you need to find a quality manufacturer, like Hoosier Trailers, but you also need to know how to match the model to your needs. This guide will help you ensure you have the right match so you can enjoy your boating experience with less risk.
Length of Your Boat
The very first consideration is the overall length of your boat. Keep in mind that matching the length of your pontoon trailer to your boat will actually leave you a bit short. This is because the length of the trailer is from the tongue to the rear bumper. However, your boat should not go all the way to the tongue.
If your trailer is too short, you run the risk of either damaging your tow vehicle in a tight turn or damaging your boat. Ideally, you want to look for a trailer that is 4’ to 6’ longer than your boat. Your pontoons should extend about 3’ beyond the bunk on the bow of the boat. This area slopes up, and so cannot be supported.
Likewise, you only want your pontoons to extend about 2’ beyond the bunk on the stern. Any more than this, and you run the risk of not providing enough support for the weight of the motors.
If you have a three-pontoon boat, you need to also consider a trailer equipped to support all three pontoons properly, such as the Hoosier Trailers Tri-Toon. Failing to properly support the third pontoon risks significant damage to your boat and risk causing an accident while in transit.
Gross Weight of Your Pontoon
The gross weight of your pontoon boat is extremely important when shopping for a trailer. There are actually two considerations with regard to weight. First is the towing capacity of your tow vehicle. If you exceed that capacity, you risk damage to your vehicle’s mechanics but also having a failure that can damage your boat or other vehicles on the road.
The second consideration is the design of the trailer itself, specifically with regard to a single or tandem axle. A single axle rig, with two tires, usually has a maximum capacity of around 2,000 lbs.
The gross weight of your boat should include anything you plan to have aboard while towing it. This should include any furniture, and most certainly the motors. The weight provided by the sales office may not include the motor weight, so be sure to inquire. These can range from 200-600 lbs, so you can easily calculate a close estimate.
What About Brakes?
Once you know the towing capacity the next thing to think through is whether you should equip your trailer with brakes. Aside from being a good investment to protect your boat while traveling with it, there are more specific aspects that will help you make this choice.
First, you need to consider the stopping power of your tow vehicle with the size of your boat. If your trailer and boat together weight more than about 20,000 and you’re driving a 3/4 ton pickup or something smaller, you may not have enough stopping power when you need it. Our team here at USA Trailer can help you weigh the specifics of your tow vehicle and the trailer you want to pull.
Also consider the legal aspects of where you wish to pull your trailer. Michigan law requires any trailer with a gross weight of 15,001 lbs or more to be equipped with brakes. So even if you drive a one-ton pickup, you may still need brakes to haul your trailer legally.
How Will You Use the Pontoon Trailer?
Are you going to leave your pontoon boat in a marina all season, and then only use your trailer for winter storage? Maybe you’re going to haul your boat to various lakes throughout the season. Does the marina handle pulling your boat and storing it for the winter, or will you need to deal with that? If you are only using your trailer for basic storage, you may be able to reduce your cost because you don’t have to worry about hauling it legally.