Moving your pontoon boats is a delicate task. Trailer your pontoon boat wrongly, and you run the risk of damaging your boat’s exterior. For a sizable boat like the pontoon, you must have wondered what the experience of trailering pontoon trailers feels like. Is it challenging or easy?
Trailering a pontoon boat is not difficult, provided the weather conditions are right, and you have got the right trailer and accessories. For first-timers, your job gets more complicated when attempting to trailer a pontoon boat in high winds. It is also hard to trailer your pontoon boat if your trailer is immersed in deeper waters. Ensure to move it to shallower waters first. To make trailering pontoon boats easier, use trailers that are easy to load. Specifically, use trailers outfitted with rails and guides.
Many factors determine if trailering your pontoon boat would be seamless or challenging. What atmospheric conditions are ideal for trailering a pontoon? Are you using a trailer with the befitting towing capacity for your pontoon? How much should you budget for such a trailer? These are some of the exciting facts we will learn in this article.
What Towing Capacity Do I Need to Tow a Pontoon Boat?
The first step in simplifying your pontoon boat trailering experience is choosing a vehicle whose towing capacity befits your pontoon boat.
First, ascertain your pontoon boat’s weight. We are not referring to the dry weight here. Specifically, what is the weight of your pontoon boat when fully loaded?
To be on the safer side, go for a trailer whose towing capacity exceeds the sum of the weight of your fully-loaded pontoon trailer and the trailer’s weight itself by a minimum of 2,500 lbs.
Given that the average weight of pontoons in the market today spans 2,000-2,200 lbs, it is better to buy a truck with a towing capacity north of 5,000 lbs.
Can a Half-ton Truck Pull a Pontoon Boat?
Yes, a half-ton truck can conveniently tow most pontoon boats. Remember, pontoon boats rarely weigh more than 2,200 lbs.
Modern half-ton trucks can tow anywhere from 5,000 to 13,000 lbs. This is when you go for half-ton trucks – like the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500 –adapted for heavy towing.
Take the Ford F-150, for example. The 2019 model can tow as much as 13,200 lbs. A beast, isn’t it?
Is It Hard to Tow a Pontoon Boat?
Pontoon boats may be hard to tow at first, given their expansiveness. But if you get the setting right and the suitable equipment, your job could be easier. Let me tell you more about this.
Watch out for the weather!
As always, the weather condition should be right. Trailering your pontoon boat for the first time in high winds can be very frustrating.
This is because pontoons are designed in such a way that navigation gets messed up in windy terrains.
You are never getting your pontoon on your trailer on your own in such heavy winds. In fact, you need at least five kind-hearted souls to help you.
It is easier when your rear tires are ashore
This is one of the most famous errors people make when towing pontoon boats. Loading your pontoon boat on your trailer gets more challenging as your trailer becomes increasingly submerged.
I would advise you to get your rear tires off the water completely. If your rear tires get draped with moisture (typical of being submerged), the tires could fuse with the moss causing slipperiness.
Of course, slippery tires mean lesser traction, making it harder for your truck to pull your pontoon unless you are an exceptional driver.
Tow your boat when empty
Sounds like common sense? But not every pontoon boat owner knows this. The more the load on your pontoon boat, the more traction is needed from your trailer.
This explains why it is easier to tow your pontoon boat when unloaded. Ideally, have everyone on the pontoon step out. If they can’t disembark, then move them toward the rear of the pontoon boat. This lessens the load on the front, making the trailering easier.
What Kind of Trailer Do You Need for a Pontoon Boat?
The suitability (regarding its type and size) of a trailer for your pontoon boat is determined by the size of your boat and yes, its weight.
Let us examine this a bit more.
What is your boat’s size?
Your trailer should always be longer than your pontoon boat. Accordingly, a 24-foot pontoon boat would need a trailer length around 21-27.
Similarly, a 21-foot pontoon can be better pulled by a trailer around 24 foot while an 18-foot pontoon is best suited to trailer lengths of 20 feet.
How heavy is your pontoon boat?
Yes, your pontoon boat’s weight would decide the type of trailer you get. Knowing your pontoon’s weight helps you better choose the trailer with the proper axle count. The axle count here is how many axles the truck has.
For a pontoon boat with a length around 28-34 feet, you need a trailer with three axles. This type of trailer should have a towing capacity somewhere between 4,800 lbs and 6,000 lbs.
How about smaller pontoon boats?
If your pontoon is around 20-28 feet long, you need a dual axle trailer. Typically, this trailer should be able to pull a load of approximately 2,250-4,800 lbs.
A trailer with just one axle would do for even smaller pontoons – say around 14-20 feet. This trailer should be able to pull a load of 2,250 lbs.
How Much Does a New Pontoon Trailer Cost?
The axle count determines how much you would fork out for your pontoon trailer. A new dual-axle trailer can cost you anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Some even come at a steeper price.
Single axle trailers are way cheaper. You can get a single trailer that hauls a pontoon boat within 10’-14′ for as low as $700. This type of trailer barely cost more than $1500.
How to Choose Pontoon Boat Trailers?
We have discussed the importance of your boat’s weight (and how it suits your trailer’s towing capacity) when choosing pontoon trailers.
But there are other critical aspects of a pontoon trailer that you should inspect when choosing one. Let us talk about them.
What type of metal is the trailer’s frame made of?
The frame of your pontoon affects vital aspects like performance, durability, and even fuel economy. Aluminum, galvanized steel, and painted steel are the most typical metals pontoon frames are designed with.
Steel frames are heavier than aluminum frames. This gives aluminum trailers relatively enhanced fuel economy.
Also, aluminum has remarkable corrosion resistance. This means it can withstand salt waters.
Therefore, if your pontoon boat would be frequenting coastal waters, it suits you best to get aluminum trailers.
But for such enhanced qualities, aluminum trailers come at a premium cost. You wouldn’t have to cough out such a large amount for an aluminum trailer if your pontoon boat would only be riding fresh water.
What is the trailer’s suspension type?
If you would be navigating rough roads with a significant amount of potholes, you should prioritize your trailer’s suspension type. This is vital for a seamless riding experience.
Leaf spring is the most prevalently deployed suspension system in trailers. Although it is tougher to maintain leaf spring suspension trailers, they are way easier to fix when faulty compared to torsion axles.
Also, leaf spring suspension boasts superior absorbency, giving you a less “bouncing” riding experience on rough roads.
What type of tire does the trailer have?
The trailer tire is a critical consideration, given how significantly it affects your trailer’s grip. Bias-ply and radial tires are the two most popularly used tires in trailers.
While radial tires have superior grip and durability than bias-ply tires, the latter has a reduced footprint. This means minor damage to your pavement. So, it is left to you to make your pick.
How Tall is a Pontoon Noat on a Trailer?
Ideally, a pontoon boat should be anywhere from 2-2.5 feet taller than your trailer’s bridge clearance. The manufacturer commonly declares this clearance metric.