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How Much Does a Boat Trailer Weigh? – A Boater’s Guideline

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

how much does a boat trailer weigh

Determining boat trailer weights is important before purchasing this piece of equipment as it relates deeply to your tow vehicle’s capacity to commute safely while pulling the vessel on the road. This has never been an easy task but to select the suitable trailer for your boat, researching its weight is a must!

Different types of trailers have varied weights, so there is no specific boat trailer weight, which makes many boaters confused while deciding the right trailer for their vessel. To buy the perfect boat trailer, it is essential to understand exactly what kinds of weights are available in a trailer.

If you are seeking answers for those problems, this article on how much does a boat trailer weigh is definitely made for you. In this post, I will provide detailed definitions and information related to boat trailer weight so you can have a better understanding.

This knowledge will definitely support you in selecting the best boat trailer for your cruising experience and transporting watercraft. Moreover, some further notices about boat trailers and tips to deal with boat trailers in real situations will be included throughout the discussion, so make sure to follow it until the end!


Definitions of Boat Trailers Weights and Sizes


Similar to a usual travel trailer, a boat trailer weight consists of different aspects, which contribute to the trailer’s total weight. Understanding these elements will help you to manage the trailer weight and guarantee safety while traveling with your craft.

These phrases may come up when you are looking at boats, and it is crucial to know them when estimating how much boat weight your car and trailer can tow. Manufacturers may differ slightly in what is included for these trailer weight estimates.

However, they all take into account essentially the same components, and none of them incorporate the weight of your boat’s gear. In a minute, we’ll get into more detail regarding adding gear weight, but first, let’s define some terms:

Dry weight

The dry weight of a boat is the actual weight of the boat alone, without any liquids or motor. The manufacturer provides the dry weight. When figuring out how much your boat weighs, start here—the base boat with nothing extra.

Wet weight

Your boat’s wet weight includes fuel and a standard-size motor. We suggest you examine this factor carefully to see whether this weight is within your trailer’s towing capability, especially for an angler who is likely to carry light cargo and no additional luggage.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

When your boats are completely full with engine, fuel, water, other gears and placed on a loaded trailer, this is the average boat weight with trailer. The gross trailer weight might vary depending on added features and the quantity of goods it can carry.

GVWR figure will be the maximum packed trailer weight you can carry. What you may legally tow varies by state, but anything wider than 8.5′ wide in most states requires a wide load permit. To maintain safety while trailering, it’s generally suggested to not exceed 85 percent of the trailer’s GVWR.

Tongue Weight

The static force produced on the hitch by the trailer tongue is known as tongue weight. For traditional trailers featuring ball-mounted hitches, the tongue weight should be about 10% to 15% of the total packed trailer weight. If a 1,000-pound cargo is put into a 2,000-pound standard trailer, the tongue weight of the filled trailer must be around 300 and 450 pounds.

The trailer tongue may sway from side-to-side when there isn’t enough weight and makes it challenging to drive. If you place too much pressure on the hitch ball, however, the force can overload the towing vehicle’s back tires and cause it to spin.

How to Weigh a Boat Trailer? – A Simple and Detailed Tutorial


As I have mentioned above, tongue weight plays an important role in your trip to the beach or river while transporting a vessel at the back. It is a common belief among boaters that the weight of the trailer tongue on the hitch is something that every trailer owner should be aware of. Therefore, in this part, we will discuss some methods to measure a boat trailer.

Truck scale – A simple option

For a nominal price, most commercial truck scales will weigh trailered boats. Pull the vehicle onto the scale with the trailer still attached, but with the trailer’s wheels removed while it is placed on the boat trailer weight calculator.

Let’s suppose your average boat trailer weight is 4,600 pounds. Drive off the scale, detach the trailer, and return to the scale to weigh the truck alone; let’s assume it weighs 4,200 pounds. The tongue weight is the difference (4,600-4,200=400). If you don’t have access to a truck scale, you may calculate tongue weight in your driveway.

Bathroom scale – A DIY option

With this method, you will scale the trailer tongue by yourself. To do so, you will need to prepare some necessary items:

  • Bathroom Scale
  • Yardstick
  • 4 X 4 beam and scraps
  • Concrete Paver
  • 2 Pieces of Pipe

After preparing all these tools, follow the instructions below to calculate the boat trailer weight:

Step 1:

To begin, secure the trailer tires using chocks. Setting up your beam in a simple 3-to-1 ratio, or 4-to-1 if it’s a hefty trailer, will allow you to precisely estimate the tongue weight. You should have at least a 4-foot-long beam for a 4 to 1 ratio.

Place one end of the scale on the paver and the other on another paver. To function as a pivot, install one piece of pipe transverse to the beam on top of the paver. Carry on with the other item on the scale in the same technique.

Step 2:

Place the beam one foot away from the pipe and closest to the paver where it sits. This is where you’ll lay the trailer’s tongue on a second block of wood. The aim is to get the tongue level like it would be on a trailer hitch.

Step 3:

In this step, measure three feet over from the previous mark and position the other piece of pipe crosswise beneath the beam. Place the trailer’s tongue on the first mark. You’ve now evenly divided the weight so that the paver weighs more than the scale.

In reality, the paver bears three times the weight of the scale, therefore increasing the scale’s value by four to get an accurate reading. There’s also the tongue’s weight to consider.

Specifications of Boat Trailers With Examples

Selecting the suitable boat trailer for your craft is considered one of the most vital yet difficult missions for any boat owner. From calculating the vessel’s average weight to scaling the total weight of the trailer, there are many small tasks to perform to find the perfect trailer with an exact weight fitting the boat.

Since it is very easy for you to be confused with the variety of boat and trailer in the market, I will provide to you a boat and trailer weight chart which concludes specifications of each boat and their trailers as well as break these figures down for a better understanding, so make sure to keep up till the end!

Group 1: PWCs and Jon boats trailers, canoe trailers, kayak trailers

This group consists of boats with dry weight lying between 800 and 1000 lbs, which are quite lightweight compared to other kinds of vessels. Therefore, a small trailer whose trailer weights are around 200 to 400 lbs will be an appropriate choice.

In particular, single axle boat trailer weight is the most suitable weight and single axle trailer has the specification that fits the average weights of crafts like canoes or kayaks.

Group 2: Fishing boats including: bass boats, pontoon boat, ski boats

This group of vessels is usually purchased for the fishing purpose. Hence, they have bigger designs and greater weight capacity. Nevertheless, each of these heavier boats can still be carried by a trailer that obtains a small boat trailer weight, and single axle is one of them.

Moreover, in terms of tow vehicles, transportations like SUVs, trucks, or minivans are potential selections that you can always take into consideration.

Group 3: Ski boats and bay boats

These two types of boat are often categorized as ships because of their sizes. As a result, a trailer with a large structure and impressive carrying capacity should be chosen in this case. I highly recommend tandem axle trailers or the Karavan tandem axle aluminum trailer for its amazing weight which varies from 800 to 1000 lbs.

Group 4: Speed boats and cabin cruisers

As this is the biggest type of boats in the chart, not only do they need to be towed by massive vehicles, such as heavy duty trucks or large SUVs but triple axle trailers should also be utilized to carry these watercrafts on the road.

Since the combined weight of boats and trailers of this type can reach the figure of 15,000 lbs, it is necessary for boaters to connect safety chains for better safe towing. In this case, Chervolet Tahoe, an enormous American muscle SUVs may be a great choice.


When determining the weight of boat trailers, it’s critical to go beyond the overall dry weight. After all, other elements like boat size, capacity, and vehicle ratings will be linked to the weight of a boat trailer.

We hope that the above information and suggestions can help you determine your boat trailer weight. You should have no trouble getting beyond weight issues with your trailer if you understand the basic weight physics and how they are connected. Besides, if you care about the weight of a bass boat, you can check it out on boat trailer accessories.

Did you enjoy the article on how much does a boat trailer weigh? Do you want to add anything else? Please let me know and leave a comment below.

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