pontoon trailers - Accessories

Pontoon Trailer Accessories

New pontoon trailers come with a number of accessories as standard features on the trailer. Tongue jacks, winches, bunk carpet, sometimes load guides, and of course tires, which I’ve covered elsewhere.

If you think you’re buying a quality trailer, you may get marginal accessories. Many trailer manufacturers use the same tongue jacks, winches, and bunk carpeting for all the trailers they build. The requirements can be different from a 2000 lb. single axle pontoon trailer versus a 5000 lb. trailer for a triple tube pontoon with an I/O engine, but you may get the same jack, winch, and bunk carpet.
pontoon trailer tongue jacksTongue Jacks  Most pontoon trailers come standard with a single wheel “swing away” 1000-1200 lb. tongue jack. This item is a commodity in the marine industry and costs the trailer manufacturer about $20. Dealers can buy them for about $28 and you can buy them retail from Harbor Freight or Northern Tool for about $40. The jack is rated by the capacity it will lift. Few trailers have more than a couple hundred pounds of tongue weight so in theory the cheapest tongue jack will work on most pontoon trailers. A few manufacturers use a dual wheel tongue jack, usually with an increased capacity. Custom manufacturers may offer a high quality “expensive” tongue jack. The thing that destroys tongue jacks is not lifting the trailer onto the tow ball, it’s the tow vehicle backing into the trailer tongue and jarring the tongue jack. Single wheel jacks sink into the dirt and can bend when the top of the tow vehicle trailer ball hits it. You have less chance of damage with a dual wheel jack. The good news is tongue jacks are not very expensive to replace but if you have a chance to upgrade from a single wheel to a dual wheel at a price difference of less than $40 (the price of a replacement jack) it’s a good idea.
pontoon trailer winch
Front Loading Trailer Winches Like tongue jacks, most pontoon trailers come with a front loading winch and strap with a hook to pull your boat onto the trailer. Many winches are 1200 lb. capacity. They are a throw back to the days when pontoons weighed 1500 lbs. If you have a 1500 lb. boat partially floating, a winch with 1200 lb. capacity will probably pull it onto the trailer. If you have a 4000 lb. boat, the 1200 lb. winch will fail in a short time. Reputable manufacturers will replace the broken winch with a new one, often the same capacity. If you bought your trailer on e-Bay or Craig’s List, you’re probably going to get a 1200 lb. winch. Better manufacturers offer bigger winches (1500-1700 lb.) and if you have a big boat it’s important to know what you’re getting.
pontoon traialer load guides

Load Guides The benefits of load or wind guides are covered elsewhere. Some companies have them as standard equipment while others sell them as options. The important thing about load guides is that they should be sacrificial. That is, you want a load guide that is strong enough to nudge your pontoon tube onto the trailer, but weak enough that it will collapse or break should you hit too hard. Another benefit is if the load guide is angled back to prevent damage to pontoon spray fins. Spray fins are often just tack welded onto the pontoon tube. Load guides that are angled back help prevent contact with spray fins. A broken load guide might cost you $50. A hole in your pontoon tube from a strong load guide that didn’t break might cost you $2,000.
pontoon trailer bunk carpetingBunk Carpeting The wooden bunks on your pontoon trailer will be covered with “something” resembling carpet. The smaller the trailer manufacturer the better chance you have of getting “good” carpeting. If the pontoon trailer manufacturer makes fishing boat trailers you’ll probably get “felt” style bunk carpeting. It’s inexpensive and contours easily around the wood. It works well for 600 lb. fishing boats floating on and off the trailer. It shreds or tears easily with a 2000-4000 lb. pontoon sliding on and off the trailer. Some companies use marine grade carpet, with rubber backing, glued to the bunks. That’s what you want.
Replacment Parts
If you have an older pontoon trailer and need parts you may have difficulty locating what you need. A high percentage of manufacturers who have built pontoon trailers have gone out of business. Those that have remained usually only keep parts for a few years. The hub and bearings on a 10 year old trailer may no longer be available even from the manufacturer.

The good news is that because so many companies were small they didn’t develop proprietary parts (specially developed for their trailers). They used stock hubs, axles, fenders etc. from the same big trailer parts wholesalers. A search of the web will reveal excellent sources for replacement parts. Search “pontoon or trailer parts”. Easternmarine, etrailer, trailerpartsdepot, and trailerparts.com are just a few that will pop up. I have bought parts from a couple of these sites and was amazed at the variety they carried. I worked with Yacht Club Trailers for two weeks trying to get a fender for a twelve year old trailer. I finally bought one that worked from stock from Easternmarine.