What to look for in a good boat trailer

When it comes to launching a boat, you have two options –anchor it at a marina or use a boat trailer. Marina fees in Brisbane can be exorbitant but aside from that, boats that are kept in water tend to deteriorate more quickly. It makes a lot more sense to use a trailer with any boat that is light enough to be trailered. This makes owning a trailer an essential part of owning a boat, and you should put almost as much time and care into finding the right trailer as you put into the boat sales process.

Types of trailers

Roller trailer

These are popular with boat owners as they allow you to launch a boat without submerging the trailer. They can be harder to maintain and, as they are frequently in the water, you should consider spending a little extra for a frame and rollers made from galvanised or stainless steel or another less corrosive material.

Bunk trailer

This is a heavier, tractor-trailer type with stakes on either side that cradle the boat. The bunks should be covered in carpet or material to protect your boat’s underside from damage. The weight of the boat rests on the rollers that run down the bottom centre of the trailer; when the lower parts of the trailer are immersed in water, the boat will float from the bunks.

Some considerations

Single or tandem axle?

The number of axles on your boat trailer will be determined by the boats weight – anything heavier than 3000lbs (roughly 1500kgs) will require a dual axle trailer. Dual axle trailers tend to fare better than single axle trailers on road surfaces, so you might prefer a dual axle even if your boat isn’t very heavy.


Trailers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 3000lbs or more are required to have brakes on all wheels in many states. Electric braking is the most common on trailers. This system connects the braking system on the vehicle towing the trailer to the braking system on the trailer. Some trailers have a breakaway system, which automatically applies a brake if the trailer disengages with the vehicle.

Buying second hand?

Rust is the biggest problem when buying a second hand trailer so if you’re unable to buy brand new, stick to aluminium or galvanised steel and perform a thorough inspection – you don’t want to end up with a trailer that’s so rusty that it can’t support the weight of your boat!

Second hand trailer sales are no different to boat sales. You’ll get the best results by being a cautious and informed buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You can also ask for a safety certificate – depending on the GWV, this might be a legal requirement.

For more information on boat trailers, contact Holt Marine, Brisbane’s marine specialists, on (07) 3353 1928.


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