A boat trailer is a purchase that you have to think long and hard over before you make a final decision. It can save you a great deal of money by eliminating marina services, and adds the convenience that you may be able to yacht repairs and upgrades, especially during the winter from the comfort (almost) of your own home.
I did some pricing of typical trailers that you may consider purchasing. New boat trailers can cost between $900 to $6600 and previously owned have a range from $700 to $3800 depending upon a range of factors that you might require.
Are these really the prices you are going to have to pay though? There are a range of factors that might go into considering what you need from a trailer. These are, but not limited to boat size, shallow or deep keel, single, double or triple axle or carrying capacity. Do you require a braked trailer? What sort of loading winch do you need?
Additionally are you good at negotiating? Are there dealers nearby where you can price compare and play one dealer off another? Sometimes a new model trailer may be coming out and dealers may offer a small discount on the current model.
How Much Do New Yachts Trailers Cost?
Here is a small list of some of the trailers available today with some specifications.
2018 Venture – alum, double axle, braked, up to 27ft, deep keel, capacity of 7225lbs – $3847
2018 Yacht Club – alum, single axle, up to 18ft, shallow keel, capacity of 2550lbs – $1,895
2018 Bear Trailer SJ 48-15 – steel, single axle, 15ft, shallow keel – $875
2018 BTM Trailers S-20 – steel, single axle, for 16’-21’ boats, capacity of 2350lbs – $2,075
2018 Phoenix Trailer SB24-52TTB – alum, double axle, hydraulic brakes, deep keel, up to 24ft – $4,975
2018 Venture – alum, triple axle, braked, up from 29-32ft, deep keel, capacity of 12626lbs – $6625
How Much Do Used Yachts Trailers Cost?
Here’s another list of some of the trailers I found searching around.
2014 Karavan US-3100-DB (small fixes needed) – steel, braked, up to 18ft, shallow keel, capacity of 4000lbs – $700
2014 Triton – steel, braked, double axle, shallow keel, up to 20ft, capacity of 5000 llbs – $3750
2002 Float On – alum, single axle, shallow keel, up to 18ft capacity of 3500 llbs – $1950
2018 Shoreland – alum, double axle, braked, up to 25ft – $2880
2012 Boat Mate Malibu 247 – steel, tandem axle, braked, shallow keel, up to 25ft – $2500
As you can probably ascertain from the above lists, there appears to be little in the way of significant depreciation between makes and models as the years wear on. Year on year depreciation appears to have a very small impact on price. If you know you want a specific make and model, it would be a good idea to get an idea of the depreciation in order to bargain a little better if you have decided to go for a pre owned trailer.
New Or Pre-owned – What’s Your Preference With a Boat Trailer?
If you’ve done a little research on the internet, you will find that there are so many options for you when it comes to which trailer to choose. There are all sorts of brands with all sorts of prices. You can have the trailer you need for just a few hundreds dollars. It all depends on the materials, size, load capacity and other features that you may require.
It’s best to decide what works for you, what do you need most? You can be reasonably assured that even though you purchase new, in the years to come it will not have depreciated very much in value. As most people like to buy new new things rather than risk a second hand one this might be worth considering, but it is of course, up to you.
Is It a Good Idea To Rent a Trailer Before You Buy?
If you are unsure of what the exact requirement you might need, or what sort of things might not be necessary for your boating needs, then it’s worth considering renting a trailer for a day or two.
Currently speaking, an average rental cost for a single axle trailer with no assisted breaking for boats up to and around 15ft will be around $60 per day. If your boat is going to be a bit heavier then a trailer capable of hauling a 32ft yacht, with double axles and assisted braking will be around $140 per day and safely carry a heavy yacht of around 11,000lbs.
So make a list of your requirements, and rent a trailer for a day to see if that particular style suits your needs. Yes, it adds a little cost but it does have the added advantage of letting you know you will have a trailer that suits your needs before you go hunting for something that you may regret as a purchase. The rental company also might suggest things you haven’t thought of as they assess your needs also.
Speaking of what sort of things you might want from a trailer;
Things To Consider When Buying a Trailer
Determine Your Needs
Firstly, what vehicle do you have and what weight do you propose to pull with it? The heavier the boat load you have the more you want to opt for a double axle and assisted braking with the trailer. Pulling what amounts to a 15ft dinghy is a bit different than trailering a 28ft Moody yacht. You will be sturdier equipment.
The trailer itself is going to carry your precious boat. It needs to be secure and safe while under way. Some factors you will want to consider for your trailer are;
The keel depth of your yacht – will the trailer be designed for deep keel boats.
The load capacity – what is the weight of your yacht?
Single, double or triple axle yacht trailer.
No brakes or assisted braking.
Boat length – Trailers come with suggested boat length: up to12ft or 29 – 32ft for example.
What type of winch?
Centre of gravity – is it over a strong part of the trailer.
Is there support for the bulkheads of your boat?
What kind of sailing are you doing? Is it a local lake where you can reverse the trailer into the slipway and into the water and float your boat off or is it a marina where you might need to get it hoisted into the water. Floating a boat into the water a trailer with bunk guides (a rail the hull rests on) would make this really easier, although more applicable to smaller yachts and boats. The heavier your boat the more having the bunk guides angled to the hull curvature makes sense. On some trailers the bunk guides are self pivoting and angle themselves to the yachts hull.
If you are planning on using the marina crane to load and move your boat a screwpad support trailer might be the better option, although make sure there is adequate support for the keel.
Determine Most Common Usage of the Trailer
If your most common usage will be in seawater then you will most certainly want a galvanised chassis, which means steel or aluminium. If however you will be sailing on a freshwater lake then painted aluminium will be just fine.
Be wary of a tubular chassis for seawater it’s unlikely the inside of the tube will be fully galvanized or painted. There can be a lot of rust rot on an older trailer and you WONT be able to see it. You will only know when the frame buckles while you are doing 50mph down the freeway.
If you have a deep keel yacht that is on the heavy side then you may want to prefer to look for a steel trailer. Steel is 3x stronger than aluminium. Heavier to tow for sure, but there will be less bending and flexing of the frame while under load.
If the trailer is going to be reversed into the sea or lake in order for you to float your pride and joy atop the wet stuff, it might, just might be a good idea to check your trailer has ‘marine grade’ lighting. I am sure that electrifying the water won’t make you popular.
Buying the Boat Trailer – Some Quick Tips
It is always a good idea to thoroughly check the tyres and brakes are in good working order. Its imperative they have good traction with the ground to prevent jack-knifing or other disasters. Bad brakes with a heavy yacht is just asking for disaster.
Check more thoroughly for rust than you might normally. Go over the entire frame, paying particular attention to the areas where there will be a heavy load like the axle points and where the bulkheads of your boat will be.
Whether you are buying a new trailer or a pre-owned one, ask around for people who have bought similar trailers and ask for their experiences with it. There are plenty of boat forums or local sailors that mght be able to guide you with your preferred purchase.
With springs and axles, these are normally some of the first components to buckle and fail. It will be an expensive day and a long conversation with the insurance company if that happens. Go over this area with a fine toothcomb and check for rusting. Get a friend to come along and see if he can spot anything, check underneath. If this is a pre-owned trailer this will be even more important. If in doubt, with any load bearing component, get it replaced before use, preferably before purchase.
If you have the skills, it might be worth buying one that needs attention and fixing one up. Might be a simple welding or brake refurbishment, especially if the trailer hasn’t been used in a while. You can save many hundreds of dollars doing it this way. Assess your own abilities or what’ it would cost to fix and you have a large bargaining chip with the trailer owner.
Sailboat Trailers: What You Need to Know Before Purchasing
It should be noted that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) operates a trailer certification program to help out the prospective owners of boat trailers and helps a purchaser identify a manufacturer adhering to government rules for safety and compliance. The trailers need to comply with braking requirements, VIN plates, capacity ratings, couplings, safety chains, lighting, winches and registration procedures.
The best yacht in the world, if it sits atop a bad trailer is a risk most owners could do without. It’s as important as the sails in many ways, so don’t skimp or rush through the process. The trailer supports the boat in some important and deforming areas if it’s poorly designed or fitted. The last place you want to find that out is when you are having an issue at sea.
It’s worth asking around to see if others have had issues or postive results from a certain trailer. Trailers have come on a long way as designers and manufacturing processes have improved so it’s worth hunting around to get the information. Buying the trailer separately therefore might be the smart move rather than the ‘one the boat comes with if you want it’. Somebody nearby might have a better setup that would work better for you.
You have to remember that buying a yacht trailer is a crucial part for your yachting experience. There may be warranties that give you a sense of security, but you have to put into consideration the time and money the whole operation costs. Going to the manufacturer’s or seller’s location and picking up the trailer is not as easy as walking in the park.
You certainly don’t want to find out in the end that it has all been an utter waste just because you chose the wrong one. You should always inspect the item first before agreeing to anything. One important tip is always look out for metals that stick out of the trailer. You don’t want that to damage your yacht. Don’t forget to do your research. If you already have a prospect, try to find out more about the seller. Do they have a good reputation? Do they have excellent reviews from their previous customers? These are the things you need to find out before making your final decision. Yacht trailers are not cheap; you always have to make sure that you get your money’s worth.