Pontoon Boat Trailers – A Comprehensive Guide 2023

Reviewed By Boatsbuilding Expert

Pontoon boat trailers are specialized trailers with shallow drafts that can be used for loading and unloading pontoon boats.

They are usually mounted on a separate frame to keep them out of the way when not used. The primary design considerations for a pontoon boat trailer are the tilt angle, length, and weight capacity.

A larger tilt angle and lighter weight reduce the hitch load, reducing the risk of failure.

The longer length helps protect the finish from scrapes from docks and trees, while higher weight capacity accommodates the heavier weight of a pontoon boat.

A trailer is a vehicle specifically designed to tow another vehicle known as an ‘ocean-going vessel’ or put ‘a boat.’

That said, different types of trailers are available depending on what you intend to use them for.

Other trailer models offer different features, so it is worth considering what you need before making your final purchase decision.

Why You Should Use A Pontoon Boat Trailer

First and foremost, if yo Install A Bimini Top on pontoon boat, you will know how it is difficult it can be to transport.

Pontoon boats are heavy, unwieldy vessels compared to conventional fiberglass or aluminum boats designed to navigate the water.

Why You Should Use A Pontoon Boat Trailer

This weight means they are not easy to move around and can be challenging to load onto a trailer. The sheer weight of the pontoon boat makes it extremely difficult to load.

The force needed to push it up a ramp is often enough to bend the ramp or even damage the trailer frame. Plus, the pontoon boat can also damage itself during the loading process.

All in all, it is not a good idea to attempt to load your entire boat alone.

How To Choose A Pontoon Boat Trailer?

When choosing a tow-behind trailer, there are a few different factors to consider. The most important of which is the length of the trailer.

How To Choose A Pontoon Boat Trailer?

Pontoon boat trailers are generally longer than conventional trailers to provide extra space for the boat.

However, finding a trailer with precisely the right length cannot be manageable. Because you don’t want the trailer to be shorter than the boat, you will need to find a trailer with more than enough length for your pontoon.

If you find the perfect trailer length but a few inches too wide, you can always opt for a custom-built option to get exactly what you need.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a trailer is the weight capacity.

How To Choose A Pontoon Boat Trailer?

Two Types Of Pontoon Trailers

Pontoon trailers come in two main types. There is one fixed-axle trailer. Variable-axle trailers are the other type.

A fixed-axle trailer has a single axle with a single-wheel center that has a fixed distance between the wheels. This style of the trailer is usually the less expensive option.
Variable-axle trailers are more expensive than fixed-axle trailers, but they offer some advantages. Each axle’s wheel spacing can be adjusted. This is useful for uneven terrain or loads, as it can help keep the trailer from tipping.
Two Types Of Pontoon Trailers

Read More about pontoon trailer types


What Size Do You Need?

There are different things to consider when considering what size of trailer you need for your pontoon boat.

What Size Do You Need?

The first is the width, measured from the outside edge of one wheel to the outer edge of the other.

The second is the length, measured from the first to the last wheel. However, it is essential to remember the trailer will be empty when it is estimated.

The third measurement is the tongue weight, supported by the trailer tongue.

The last measurement is the gross trailer weight, the combined weight of the trailer, and any cargo,o or passengers on the trailer. The gross trailer weight should always be less than the total weight of the pontoon boat.


How To Determine The Carrying Capacity Of A Trailer

The carrying capacity of a trailer refers to the maximum weight the trailer can safely carry. This is important because it can help prevent overloading the trailer, which can lead to accidents or damage to the trailer itself.

How To Determine The Carrying Capacity Of A Trailer

There are different ways to determine the carrying capacity of a trailer. One way is to look at the manufacturer’s specifications.

Another way to determine the carrying capacity of a trailer is to weigh the trailer empty and then weigh it again with the desired load. The difference between the two weights is the trailer’s carrying capacity.

It is also important to consider weight distribution when loading a trailer.

For example, suppose a trailer carries a load concentrated in the front. In that case, it will have a lower carrying capacity than if the load is evenly distributed throughout the trailer.

This is because the tongue weight of the trailer must be taken into account, and the tongue weight is the portion of the trailer’s weight borne by the hitch. If the tongue weight is too high, it can cause problems with steering and braking.

Finally, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution when determining the carrying capacity of a trailer.

It is better to overestimate the trailer’s weight than to underestimate it. This will help ensure that the trailer is not overloaded, which can lead to accidents or damage to the trailer.


Price Ranges

The cost of a pontoon boat trailer will vary depending on the model, the manufacturer, and the size. Basic, non-towable models can be found in the $1,000-$1,500 range.

Price Ranges

Towable models ready to use can be found in the $1,500-$2,000 range. For towable models but not ready-to-use, you can expect to spend $2,000-$3,000.

Finally, for a custom-built trailer, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,500-$10,000. If you plan on spending this much on a trailer, you should look at used models to save money.


Upgradable Features

There are a few features on a pontoon boat trailer that can be upgraded to improve their performance.

Upgradable Features

The first is tires. While it may seem like a minor detail, a good set of tires can help increase your trailer’s longevity.

Next, consider the axle design. While most axles are designed to be reliable, some have designs that are more efficient than others.

Finally, you can add a winch to your trailer to make loading your boat easier.


Brakes On The Trailer

Many trailers are equipped with hydraulic brakes, but some are not. While they are a great safety feature, they add to the trailer’s cost.

Brakes On The Trailer

If you opt for a model with a hydraulic brake system, you will have to pay a little extra for installation.

If your trailer does not have a hydraulic brake system, you may be able to add them.

However, you will have to hire a professional to install them.

If you want to add a hydraulic brake system that can be used with your existing trailer, you will need to purchase a breakaway kit.


Saltwater Do’s And Dont’s

Pontoon boat trailers can be used for many different applications, including hauling boats in both fresh and saltwater. However, if you plan on using your trailer in saltwater, you will want to make a few adjustments.

First and foremost, you will need to clean the trailer regularly. This will help prevent corrosion and make cleaning up any saltwater on the trailer easier. Next, you should consider adding a liner to the floor of the trailer’s floor

A liner will help keep any water on the trailer’s floor from being absorbed. Finally, you should ensure all nuts and bolts are correctly sealed to prevent corrosion.

This is especially important near the wheels where the most saltwater build-up occurs.

Final Considerations

When cost is a significant concern, you will want to take advantage of used trailers. It is essential to inspect a used trailer before you buy it.

Please look for any damage or corrosion signs and ensure the trailer is the right weight for your boat. You should also ensure the trailer has the necessary permits to be driven on public roads.

Pontoon boats are not hard to trailer. They are pretty easy to trailer, especially compared to other ships.

They are typically very lightweight, which makes them easy to tow behind most vehicles. Additionally, they have a relatively low profile, making it easy to maneuver on the road.

You will have to keep it off the road if it does not. Finally, could you make sure the trailer is compatible with your truck?


How heavy is a pontoon boat with trailer?

Most pontoon boats weigh between 2,000 and 7,000 pounds and can be about 20 feet to 40 feet long. A pontoon boat and trailer combo is around 20 feet long and weighs about 3,000 pounds.

Does a pontoon boat need a special trailer?

No, a pontoon boat does not need a special trailer. As long as the weight of your boat and trailer do not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), you can tow it with any standard trailer.
If the weight does exceed the GVWR, however, you may need to purchase a special heavy-duty trailer.

Fred Apstein
Fred Apstein is a man of many talents. He studied at Sustainable Community Development and Royal Roads University, but what he loves to do is sailing, building boats, cooking seafood, and picking up the pieces when things go wrong! He's been in business for over 40 years with no refrigeration on his sailboats - that means food drying and pickling became necessary skills