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Thinking About Buying a Small Boat Trailer?

Blog | October 22nd, 2022

Here’s what you need to know and look out for when purchasing a boat trailer.

Don’t think that all boat trailers are the same, they are all different and they are all design with a different purpose.

  • What kind of boating? – The very first question you should be asking yourself is ‘what kind of boating do I plan on doing?’. Will it be wake boarding? Speed boating? Or perhaps just making the most of the creeks and lakes in your local area? Answering this question is crucial in selecting the right boat trailer for you.
  • Steel or aluminium, which is best? – Both materials are great and do their job well, but depending on the answer you gave for your boating activities will depend on which is best for you.
  • Size – Not unlike your average box trailer, your boat trailer has a gross vehicle weight rating which determines the maximum amount of weight the boat trailer can carry. When doing your comparisons it is important that you include the weight of the boat with its engine. In addition to the fuel and the gear you typically carry on board, plus an extra 10-15% just to be on the safe side. It is extremely dangerous to overload your boat trailer, for not only you but for others as well.
  • Boat and trailer – The type of boat you purchase will determine what trailer you will need. If you opt for an aluminium boat with a Gross Trailer Mass of under 750kg, a small unbraked trailer with a single axle would be ideal. Single axle boat trailers generally require less maintenance and are cheaper than the dual axle trailers.
  • Using the trailer – Can you drive with a trailer? Reverse or park a small boat trailer? If you have opted to go with a single axle trailer, you are in luck because they are easier to manoeuvre around and into driveways as well backing down into the creek.

Here are a few more tips to consider or ask the team at Sales Trailers for guidance about your next boat trailer.

  1. What is the 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

2. Material Choice? Steel or aluminium trailer?

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. The difference between a trailer lasting 4-5 years or 8-12 years (depending on care and maintenance) *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.

3.Which tyres are best for your boat trailer? 

13inch or 14inch  tyres are the easiest and most cost-effective sizes to get hold of if you happen to get a flat tyre. Tyres over 13inches are also suitable for highway driving speeds. Boat trailers should have light truck tyres fitted which provide better grip and driving stability.

4. Do you want Skids or Rollers on the trailer?

Boats with Alloy hulls are generally put on skids to avoid the hull becoming indented by rollers. Boats with fibreglass hulls are generally put on trailers with rollers to assist with the launching and retrieving of the heavier boats..

5. All about stopping. Brakes.

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 breakaway brakes required i.e. hydraulic/electric e.g. AL-KO iQ7, Hydrastar etc…

6. Off the shelf – Ready Made or Custom Made trailer?

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.

9. Parts

Make sure you ask your trailer supplier about the origin and quality of the parts on the boat trailer. Japanese bearings are far superior to Chinese bearings and the cost is worth it. Some manufactures offer stainless steel parts and heavy duty parts as standard and/or optional extras on their trailers. And we all know there are ‘Chinese parts’ and ‘Chinese parts’. Some manufactures have their own factories and a high level of quality control. Some suppliers do not. Often the difference in price between trailers can come down to the quality of parts used.

4a Barry Avenue, Mortdale NSW 2223 Australia

Phone:  (02) 9533 3652