How Much Does a Boat Trailer Weigh?

How Much Does a Boat Trailer Weigh Featured Photo

Boat trailers are a major investment. But spending a fortune on a rental trailer from a towing service will cost a lot more in the long run, especially if you move your boat to different locations all the time. And this is why many boat owners prefer to have their own trailer. 

Since it’s a big purchase, it is necessary that you know how much a boat trailer weighs and whether you have a suitable vehicle to tow it.

Make sure that your boat trailer configuration meets the required weight class. This means that your vessel cannot exceed the capacity of your trailer. The weight of your boat and trailer must not also exceed the capacity of your vehicle.

Each type comes in varying weights. And it’s one of the things that puzzle many boat owners when it comes to choosing the right trailer as there is no exact trailer weight.

The first thing you must do is gather all the specs of your boat, this includes its weight and size. You must also know how much weight your vehicle can tow. Doing so will help you stay within your weight limits.

In this article, I’ll go over some of the average weights for common boat and trailer setups. This should give you an idea of where your setup would stand on the scales. I’ll also talk about how to determine the weight of a boat trailer ​​to get the numbers as accurate as possible.

Average Trailer Weights and Sizes

Each trailer serves a specific function, so their weights vary. Boat trailers also come in varying lengths, capacities, and construction.

Boat trailer weight increases with the length of the boat it can tow. But the added weight doesn’t really increase linearly. This is due to the fact that larger and heavier vessels require more axles and stronger construction materials.

I’ve prepared a chart below to show you the average boat trailer weights.

Trailer BoatAverage Empty WeightGVWRAverage Capacity
Canoe / kayak trailer200 lbs200 to 800 lbs200 lbs
Jet ski trailer300 lbs800 to 3,000 lbs1,500 lbs
Fishing boat trailer600 lbs900 to 6,000 lbs2,700 lbs
Small open utility trailer700 lbs1,000 to 3,000 lbs1,800 lbs
Large boat trailer2,200 lbs5,400 to 34,400 lbs11,400 lbs
Large enclosed trailer2,700 lbs3,000 to 10,000 lbs4,400 lbs
Large flatbed trailer3,000 lbs2,900 to 26,000 lbs7,400 lbs

Keep in mind these numbers only serve as a general reference. How much your boat trailer actually weighs will still vary.

The Basics of Boat Trailer Weight and Size

The Basics of Boat Trailer Weight and Size

When determining a boat trailer weight, you’ll come across some basic terms. These are necessary to understand when it comes to finding out how big of a boat your vehicle and trailer can carry. Whatever is included in given weight figures varies a bit depending on the brand.

Empty/Dry Weight – also known as unloaded weight, the dry weight is the trailer’s weight without cargo or fluids.

Wet Weight – this is the actual weight of your boat, together with a standard size motor and any fuel in the tank. Check that this weight works with the capacity of your trailer.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – gross vehicle weight rating is the weight capacity that a trailer is allowed to carry, including cargo, fuel, fishing gear, and so on. This is the maximum loaded trailer weight you can transport.

Whichever type of boat you can legally load differs by state. In most states, though, anything above 8.5′ long needs a loading permit. To ensure safety during towing, it’s always best not to go beyond 85% of the trailer’s gross combined weight rating.

Tongue Weight – the static force put on the trailer hitch by the tongue. This should be 10 to 15 percent of the overall weight of a loaded traditional trailer with ball-mounted hitches.

When there is insufficient weight, the trailer tongue could swing back and forth, making steering difficult. But, putting too much stress on the ball of the hitch might overwhelm your towing vehicle’s back tires, causing it (and you) to spin.

Package Weight – This includes the weight of the boat, fuel, standard-size motor, and trailer. Ensure that your tow vehicle can handle not only the dry weight of your boat but also the package weight.

Load Capacity – this is the overall weight of the cargo that a trailer can handle. You must take into consideration the weight of everything you’ll have onboard. Consider items like fuel, fishing gear, life vests, and paddles.

Knowing How Much Does a Boat Trailer Weigh

It starts with knowing your boat trailer’s tongue weight. This weight plays an important role because it gives you the confidence that your towing vehicle can take all that weight.

In this section, I’ll show you two ways you can weight your boat trailer.

At-Home Method with a Bathroom Scale 

Another way you can way your boat trailer is by doing a bathroom scale. It’s a great DIY option if you can’t find a weighing station nearby.

Follow this step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Level your boat trailer. It’s vital to be level while weighing. You need to make sure that the trailer’s wheels are chocked up so it doesn’t move.

Step 2: Prepare the ground. Place a sturdy 2×4 board firmly beneath the trailer’s tongue. The board must be at least 3.5 ft. long. Then, put the bathroom scale approximately 2 feet from the trailer’s tongue on either side and a block (about 1 ft) from the trailer’s tongue on the other end of the scale.

On top of the bathroom scale, place a tiny piece of plywood to cover it. Next, place two horizontal pipes between the 2×4 and the scale/brick. Put one in the middle of the bathroom scale and the other in the center of the brick.

Step 3: Weigh. Lower the trailer jack until the coupler is completely supported by the pipe placed vertically. And finally, check the scale and multiply the number you read by 3. An average bathroom scale cannot handle the whole weight, which is why the multiplier.

Find a Truck Scale Near You

​​This is the simplest way to determine your trailer’s weight, as many commercial truck scales will weigh trailered boats for a small fee. By using the trailer weight calculator, you can move the tow vehicle onto the scale with the trailer still connected without its wheels.

You may weigh your vehicle and boat trailer with the CAT scale. Many other locations in the US can weigh your trailer. Make sure to inform them beforehand to check their availability.

Size of the Boat You Can Put on Your Trailer

There are several factors to consider here.

You must think about how big of a boat you can tow with and without a permit. How about a half-ton truck a one-ton dually?

Let’s start with those that you can physically tow. You’ll still be restricted by your lowest-rated gear, be it your ball mount, hitch, or tow vehicle. And it won’t matter whether you’re towing a boat trailer or a camper.

To determine your towing capacity, you can refer to your vehicle’s handbook. Keep in mind that the larger your boat trailer, the bigger the towing vehicle. Your trailer’s user manual should specify your trailer’s towing capacity.

FAQs

How many pounds is a boat and trailer?

Tandem-axle boat trailers typically weigh approximately 1,000 lbs. Certain tandem-axle trailers can tow boats weighing up to 8,000 lbs. But, you’ll get the most out of your trailer if you opt for a triple-axle trailer with a higher weight capacity.

Triple-axle trailers typically weigh between 1,000 and 1,600 lbs. Such trailers are intended for heavy-duty boats weighing between 8,000 and 10,000 lbs. Single-axle boat trailers, however, generally weigh up to 600 pounds with a capacity of up to 3,300 lbs.

Can I tow a boat with my car?

Sure. You can pull fishing boats up to 30ft long and three tonnes displacement with your own car, depending on the weight and beam. But, even with a small dinghy, it’s simple to break the law.

Conclusion

As you can probably tell by now, there’s a lot that goes into determining your boat trailer weight. You need to consider your boat’s size, capacity, as well as your vehicle rating. If you understand the basics of weight mechanics and how they’re linked, you should be fine.

I hope you find this information and guide helpful. Good luck!

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