1. Know Your Boats Weight – Fully Loaded
Your trailer must have the right GVM to carry your fully loaded boat. This includes not only the weight of the boat but also the motor, full tank of fuel, water, food and toys e.g. fishing gear / water skis etc…
The GVM of your trailer must be more than the total weight of the trailer and a fully loaded boat combined. Ideally you want to have 10%-20% ‘spare’ weight on your GVM so that you are covered if you want to add anything else to your boat in the future.
2. Steel Choices
You need to make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Australian made trailers manufactured from Australian steel generally have a steel wall of 3mm – 4mm in thickness. Many imported trailers only have a steel wall of 2mm. What does this really mean? It’s the difference between a trailer lasting 4 years or 12 years – The thicker the steel the longer it will take for rust to eat through the metal.
Besides steel thickness; galvanising and steel quality are important factors. Australian galvanising processes provide better rust protection than Chinese galvanising. Also, if you require structural repairs to an imported trailer in the future it is not always possible to weld Chinese steel effectively.
Hate rust? Choosing a trailer made from ‘C’ Channel allows you to wash down all parts of the trailer frame which can prolong its lifespan.
Trying to keep the weight lower for your big boat? Alloy trailers provide a strong frame with reduced weight which can help you keep your boat and trailer within a GVM limit.
13” or 14” tyres are the easiest and most cost-effective sizes to get hold of if you happen to get a flat tyre and tyres over 13” are also suitable for highway driving speeds. Boat trailers should have light truck tyres fitted which provide better grip and driving stability.
4. Skids or Rollers?
Boats with Alloy hulls are generally put on skids and boats with fibreglass hulls are put on rollers.
Australian legal braking requirements for boat trailers:
GVM less than 749kg – no brakes required
GVM 750kg – 1999kg – mechanical or hydraulic override brakes required
GVM 2000kg and over – operator assisted brakes required i.e. hyaraulic/electric.
6. Ready Made or Custom Made?
Standard Range trailers are trailers that can be adjusted to fit many different boat brands and hull shapes whist a custom made trailer is made specifically to suit the measurements of your boat – leaving nothing to chance.
7. Boat Fit Up
No matter your trailer choice you need to have your boat ‘fitted;’ to the trailer. This is where the trailer componentry is adjusted to cradle your boat making it easy to use. This is also essential to successfully drive on and drive off your trailer.
There are many boat trailer accessories that can make using your boat trailer easier and hassle free. Consider accessories such as walkways, stronger winches and jockey wheels, guide posts and launch and retrieval systems as an investment in hassle free and enjoyable time at the boat ramp.