Best Boat Trailer Guide For Beginners

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Buying a boat is a big deal. In fact, for many boaters in Southwest Florida, the investment comes with a whole new lifestyle. However, there are a handful of additional things you’ll need to truly enjoy your new boat. One thing you’ll likely need is the best boat trailer in your budget to safely transport your new vessel and morel.

The best boat trailer does more than give you a way to safely transport your boat from storage to sea. In fact, the best boat trailer will also help you save money on bottom repairs, blistering, and of course marina docking fees. Plan on spending between $500 and $5,000 on a boat trailer.

There are many considerations that are often associated with finding the best boat trailer within your budget. Let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind when looking for a boat trailer, the benefits of trailering your boat, boat trailer costs, and more.


Boat Trailers 101 What is a Boat Trailer

Boat Trailers 101: What is a Boat Trailer?

In the simplest terms, a boat trailer is a towable trailer that is used to launch, retrieve, transport, and even store your boat.

Types of Non-Commercial Boat Trailers

There are two most types of non-commercial boat trailers:

  • Roll-on
  • Glide path


A roll-on boat trailer uses rollers, often made of rubber or polyurethane, to let the boat move on and off the trailer when launching and retrieving the boat. A roll-on trailer is sometimes called a “roller style trailer.” Roller trailers are a great option for launching in shallow water, like during low tide or even from a beach.

A glide-path boat trailer is a little different. This kind of trailer lets the boat float off the trailer when launching and float onto the trailer when retrieving. You need to submerge about 3/4ths of the trailer to effectively let the boat float. A glide-path trailer is also sometimes called a “float-on style trailer.” It takes very little effort to launch and retrieve a boat using a float-on style trailer, as the glide path makes operation easy.

Other boat trailers on the market today include bunk trailers and keel rollers. Bunk trailers are commonly used for smaller boats and function similarly to glide-path trailers. Keel rollers are used with roller trailers to support the boat’s keel, which is essentially the backbone of the vessel.

Many boaters opt to use a glide path trailer with their vessel simply because it is easy and versatile. It might be the best boat trailer to use when launching from a marina’s facility.

There’s more to using a boat trailer than just launching and retrieving your boat. You can use your trailer to transport your vessel from storage to water or even use it to store your boat on dry land. Let’s explore some of the benefits of trailering your boat.


What Are the Benefits of Trailering My Boat?

What Are the Benefits of Trailering My Boat?

Let’s start with the obvious: a boat trailer makes it easy to access the water and transport your boat.

Without a trailer, your boat might be stuck at a marina facility. This means you can only boat in one body of water. This might not be a bad idea if you’re taking advantage of wet storage at a beautiful facility like Port Sanibel Marina. However, if you want to explore the other waters around Southwest Florida, you’ll likely need a boat trailer.

The best boat trailer does more than just move and launch your boat, though. Another great thing about owning a boat trailer is that it can help protect your investment. For example, in the case of a tropical storm or hurricane, your boat trailer can keep your vessel secure on dry land and lessen the chance of damage during inclement weather.

Additionally, trailering your boat when it is not in use can help protect it from other kinds of damage. For example, blistering and bottom damage are common when taking your boat out of water after each use. The best boat trailer will protect your boat and help you save money.

It all boils down to one simple fact. If you have a boat, you need the best boat trailer. It will help you get the most enjoyment and use out of your boat, as well as offer peace of mind and protection.


What Should I Look for in a Boat Trailer?

Knowing what to look for in a boat trailer is key to making the most of the benefits of trailering your boat. Let’s look at a few of the features you’ll find in the best boat trailers.

Boat Trailer Size

The best boat trailer for your vessel is one that fits. This means you’ll need to know your boat’s dimensions and weight before selecting a trailer.

Don’t know how big your boat is? It’s time to get out a tape measure and get to work. Measure your boat from the bow to the stern, all along the hull, do get the length of your boat.

Do use the LOA, or length overall, when measuring for a trailer. This measurement includes add-ons like swim platforms and other peripherals. These won’t impact the length needed for your trailer.

After you have your length measurement, in feet, simply add 2. Most boat trailers are 2 feet longer than the vessel they carry.


Boat Trailer Weight

Boat Trailer Weight

The best boat trailer for your vessel is one that can support the weight of your boat. This means you’ll need to know how much your boat weighs before selecting a trailer.

However, don’t use the weight on your boat’s manufacturer spec sheet when selecting a trailer. This is your boat’s empty weight. You’ll likely have extras on board. Things like fuel, modifications, holding tanks and bait wells, gear, and batteries can increase the weight of your boat. Your trailer needs to support the weight of your cargo, too.

Your boat’s weight determines the kind of support your trailer needs to offer. You’ll need a tandem axle boat trailer if the total weight of your boat with cargo and all the extras included exceeds 3,500 lbs. If the total weight is under 3,500 lbs, a single axle trailer will do just fine.


Boat Trailer Frame Material

The best boat trailer for your vessel has a sturdy frame that not only supports the weight of your boat, but also accommodates the water where you’ll launch.

There are two common types of boat trailer frame materials:

  1. Alumunium
  2. Steel

There are pros and cons to each material.

Aluminum is lightweight but has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It has more flex than steel, which means it might better handle bumps along the way. It isn’t prone to rust or corrosion like steel, but it offers less protection to important components like the wiring and brakes.

Steel is stronger and better protects important stuff like brake lines and wiring. Steel can also be painted to match your boat.


Saltwater Boat Trailer vs Freshwater Boat Trailer

Another important thing to think about when it comes to frame material is where you’ll be launching.

Looking for the best boat trailer for saltwater? If you’re launching and retrieving your boat from the saltwater in the Gulf of Mexico here in Southwest Florida, you’ll need either aluminum or galvanized steel trailer. These materials are more resistant to the corrosive effects of seawater.

If you’re only launching your boat in lakes and rivers, you might opt for either material based on your personal preference (or how much is in your wallet.)


How Much Does The Best Boat Trailer Cost?

Boat trailer costs can vary widely. You might find a bargain single-axle boat trailer for just $500, or you might spend $5,000 or more on a double-axle boat trailer.

The price of a boat trailer depends on frame materials, how much it can carry, and the overall design. Overall, aluminum trailers can be more expensive than steel trailers. However, remember that aluminum is more resistant to rust, has more flex, and is lighter in weight than steel. This might save you money over the long run.

If your boat is between 16- and 21-feet, you might expect to pay between $3,500 and $5,000 on a single-axle boat trailer made of steel or aluminum. The price rises for double axle trailers and more.


Boat Storage, Marina Docking, and More at Port Sanibel Marina

Boat Storage, Marina Docking, and More at Port Sanibel Marina

The best boat trailers make transporting and storing your boat easy. But what’s the best part of owning a boat? Enjoying it on the water.

Port Sanibel Marina, located in Fort Myers, is the perfect place to enjoy the waters of Southwest Florida. You’ll find that Port Sanibel Marina has everything you need for a great boating experience, from dry boat and trailer storage and wet slips to amazing amenities like waterfront dining.

Better yet, Port Sanibel Marina makes it easy to schedule a launch time and more right from the palm of your hand. The BoatCloud Launch App, available for both iPhone and Android, lets you book splash time or have your boat ready when you need it.

Ready to make the most of your new boat? Contact Port Sanibel Marina now and learn more about what we can offer you.