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CostHelper > Cars  > Boat Trailer

Boat Trailer Cost


How Much Does a Boat Trailer Cost?

 
low costPersonal Watercraft Trailer: $600-$2,800+average costSingle-Axle Boat Trailer: $700-$3,000high costTandem-Axle Boat Trailer: $1,800-$5,000+

Trailers are generally used to transport boats 14'-25' long. Typically, a boat and trailer are bought as a pre-assembled package. Some buyers or boat owners trade up for a sturdier, more durable trailer with a heavier maximum weight capacity. The lightest and least expensive boat trailers are single axle -- these have a tight turning radius and are easy to maneuver by hand, but less stable when towed and hard to control if a tire goes flat. Dual (tandem) or tri-axle trailers typically cost more but can pull heavier weights, tow more smoothly (less sway), have better traction on uneven surfaces and are easier to control with a flat tire. BoatUS.org offers an overview of boat trailers.

Typical costs:

  • A lightweight or economy-model single-axle boat trailer 14' long or shorter can cost $700-$1,100 or more, depending on size, weight capacity and materials (aluminum, galvanized or steel), for use with lightweight craft. For example, DirectBoats.com offers an Economy Fishing Boat Trailer[1] for $720-$800.
  • A basic single-axle boat trailer 15'-20' long can cost $700-$3,000, depending on size, weight capacity and materials. The aluminum 15'-17' Magic Tilt Xpress XP1728[2] sells for $1,600-$2,000.
  • Tandem axle boat trailers 18'-25' long typically cost $1,800-$5,000 or more, for use with larger and heavier fishing boats, sailboats or power boats. For example, the 18'-20' tandem-axle Bear LTV 72-20TG[3] for aluminum or fiberglass bass boats sells for about $2,000. Tri-axle trailers start at $5,000-$7,000.
  • Trailers for personal watercraft start at $600-$800 for do-it-yourself kits for a lightweight single-axle trailer, and can cost $1,000-$2,800 or more depending on whether the trailer is single or tandem axle, if it's galvanized and whether it holds one to three personal watercraft. For example, Northern Tool + Equipment offers a Northern Industrial Personal Watercraft Trailer Kit[4] with a 610-pound capacity for $600, while DirectBoats.com sells a 15' Double Jet Ski/PWC Tandem-Axle Trailer Kit[5] with a 600-pound winch for $1,740-$2,200.
  • Canoe or kayak trailers cost $600-$1,500 for a single-boat trailer and can cost $2,000-$5,000 or more for a trailer with racks to hold six or up to 20 canoes or kayaks. For example, the aluminum Trailex UT-1000-6-04 canoe trailer[6] can hold six 18' canoes, has a 1,000-pound capacity and lists for $2,529.
  • New trailers typically depreciate 15%-20% when they leave the dealer's lot and roughly 10% each additional year, according to traileroutlet.com.
Related articles: Trailer Hitch, Towing Equipment

What should be included:
  • Many new trailer packages include brakes, legally required lighting, an electric breakaway kit and safety chains. GoFishn.com provides a detailed overview [7] .
  • HitchInfo.com explains how to calculate total towing capacity[8] .
  • In most states, trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 1,500 pounds or more must have brakes on all wheels. These can be surge brakes (illegal in some states), which are activated after the tow vehicle's brakes have slowed the trailer, or electric brakes that are connected to the tow vehicle's brakes. The American Boating Association charts towing laws by state[9] .
  • The Boat Trailer Manufacturers Association presents boat trailer travel tips[10] .
Additional costs:
  • Extended side view mirrors may be required, at $4-$50 for models that clamp onto the existing side mirrors, or $150-$450 for permanently installed towing mirrors.
  • Installing a standard ball trailer hitch can cost $200-$500 or more. A spare tire typically costs $20-$200 or more, and a bolt-on spare tire carrier can cost $15-$100 or more. Tie-down or winch straps can cost $8-$95.
  • An electronic trailer brake controller typically costs $40-$200 from auto parts stores, trailer dealers or online retailers like Amazon[11] . If the tow vehicle is prewired, the controller can be plugged in and used immediately. If not, installation/wiring can add $100-$200 or more.
  • A breakaway system ($10-$40) to stop a towed trailer or vehicle if it gets loose typically includes a battery, switch and wiring, and is available from trailer or boat dealers, or from online retailers like Amazon[12] .
  • Towing a boat and trailer will reduce the tow vehicle's fuel efficiency by at least a couple miles per gallon, and could cut it by half or more.
  • Boats and trailers are typically insured as a package, and premium costs vary significantly. BoatShows.com provides boat insurance tips[13] .
Shopping for a boat trailer:
  • Boat shows[14] offer different makes and models of boats and trailers; admission can be free or $5-$20.
  • If a trailer is bought with a boat, the price for both is negotiated as a package. BoatUS.com lists tips[15] for selecting a boat trailer.
  • For used boat trailers, Nada Guides provides a pricing tool[16] . Watch prices on eBay[17] and craigslist.org[18] . Suite101.com provides guidelines for buying a used boat trailer.
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External Resources:
  1.  directboats.com/ecfibotr.html
  2.  www.magictilt.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&Itemid=96
  3.  www.beartrailer.com/ltvseries.htm
  4.  www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200365329_200365329?cm_ven=Aggregates&cm_c...
  5.  directboats.com/15dojetrwita.html
  6.  www.trailex.com/UT-1000-6-04.cfm
  7.  www.gofishn.com/gofishn/trailer-big-appetite-small-mouth/
  8.  www.hitchinfo.com/index.cfm?event=viewpage&contentpieceid=5146
  9.  www.americanboating.org/towing.asp
  10.  www.trailermanufacturersassociation.org/regulations/regulations.html
  11.  www.amazon.com/gp/search/rh=n:15737671,k:electronic+trailer+brake+controller&keywo...
  12.  www.amazon.com/s/url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=trailer+breakaway+kit&x=0&y=0
  13.  www.boatshows.com/insuranceandfinance.aspx
  14.  www.boatshows.com/
  15.  www.boatus.com/foundation/guide/trip_16.html
  16.  www.nadaguides.com/Boats/2010/Trailers
  17.  www.ebay.com/sch/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1311&_nkw=used+boat+trailers&_saca...
  18.  www.craigslist.org/about/sites/
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