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Pontoon Trailers 101

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I’ve used and sold pontoon boat trailers for thirty five years. I’ve probably sold 30,000 trailers and even though I’ve always tried to handle the finest brands, I’ve seen and warrantied almost anything that could go wrong with a pontoon trailer. On this web site I’ve gone to great lengths to provide accurate information and tell you all that I know about pontoon trailers. Many pontoon trailer manufacturers don’t have sales brochures. Others have a page devoted to pontoon trailers mixed in with features of their PWC, fishing boat, or fiberglass boat trailers. Trailer manufacturers that have web sites don’t have anything but specifications. It’s difficult to find pertinent information about their trailers. There are companies building pontoon trailers that just don’t understand pontoon trailer construction. They get by with poor, weak designs because many people don’t tow. But with some pontoons pushing 5,000 lb., the buyer who isn’t paying attention can get themselves into trouble.

I don’t have much sympathy for the person looking for a trailer on Craig's List, e- Bay, or at the used car dealer who sells trailers. This buyer wants a cheap trailer and there are plenty of sellers who’ll help them. I do have sympathy for the new boat buyer who is depending on a marine industry professional to recommend a trailer. When you buy a boat and trailer package, you’d expect that the dealer would select a trailer that would meet your needs. Many dealers try to talk you out of buying a trailer so they can get your winter storage business. They sometimes sell you a trailer only grudgingly. Often trailers recommended by some dealers are selected solely on price (and their profit potential) or selected from a vendor who sells fishing boat or PWC trailers. One brand is popular with dealers because it’s easy to adjust. The dealer saves half an hour setting up the trailer but you have to check and re-adjust it every trip. Boat salesmen know all the features and benefits of pontoon boats but they usually know little about pontoon trailers. Don’t believe me? Ask one about carrying capacity or differences in tires. The new boat buyer may compound the problem by spending all his money on the boat. Little consideration is given to the question if you can safely transport your boat and family to the lake.

Since most dealers don’t stock pontoon trailers and most manufacturers don’t have literature or competent web sites, your first chance to see what you bought may be when you take delivery of your boat and trailer. It may be financed and you will own it when you arrive at the dealership. In this web site I’ve made one basic assumption that most people do not make. I assume that you will tow your pontoon trailer. I’ve heard salesmen ask, do you tow a lot? The answer is usually NO and you’re sold a storage trailer. The question should be where do you tow?

Pontoon Trailer gone wrongThe answer can range from about four miles from the ramp to a storage building or only two hundred miles to the city (at highway speeds) once a year. Neither trip would constitute “a lot” but you’d want a different trailer for a crowded highway at 70 mph than a short mile trip on quiet rural roads. If they decide to take their boat to another lake, or miles away for service they may get an unpleasant surprise.

The point of this web site is to help you make informed decisions about pontoon trailers. If you have an older 18’ pontoon with a 25 HP engine, you probably can’t go wrong with any trailer. If you have a modern 22’ pontoon with a 115 HP engine you really need to pay attention, otherwise you’ll be the one with your family in the SUV sitting on the side of the road with a problem.
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