10 Quick Tips to Help with Trailering a Pontoon Boat
It’s important that you learn how to properly trailer your pontoon boat. Improper techniques can not only ding your boat’s exterior, you also run the risk of damaging your boat and trailer. Avoid costly repairs by learning how to safely trailer a pontoon boat in a way that minimizes risk.
Here are some tips that will help you learn how to load a pontoon boat onto a trailer:
1. Stay Away from Bad Weather
Heavy winds don’t only wreak havoc on your boating trip, they can also create serious problems when it becomes time to load up your boat. Avoid this by learning how to spot bad weather before it’s too late.
Don’t waste any time when you see a storm brewing – get to the dock immediately. Even if you know that you’ll be safe on the water, trailering your boat in wind creates a new set of hazards and challenges. The way in which pontoon boats are designed makes them harder to navigate in windy situations. This makes it virtually impossible to get the boat onto a trailer without the assistance of six or more people.
If the weather conditions are making it difficult to load your pontoon boat, try getting a little help from your friends. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of assistance with pushing and pulling your boat in the right direction.
2. Use the Wind to Your Advantage
If you have to load your pontoon boat in a windy situation, then try using the weather to your advantage. Try having your boat start upwind and parallel with your trailer. Use the wind to push you in line with your trailer.
This video does a great job of showing how to launch and trailer a pontoon boat. At the 3:07 mark, you can see how the captain uses the wind to push him in line with the trailer. Notice how he still has control of the steering and speed while doing so.
By knowing how to use the wind to help you trailer your boat, you’ll have a greater chance of successfully loading pontoon.
3. Use a Boat Hook
A telescopic boat hook is an excellent tool to have. If you are ever in a situation where you are unable to drive your boat onto its trailer, the boat hook is useful for helping straighten your boat up and get into a good position.
A boat hook is a versatile tool that is beneficial in a number of scenarios, including docking. Here are some good hooks:
4. Keep Your Trailer Shallow
When trailering your boat, you want to ensure that your trailer isn’t submerged too deep in the water. The purpose is to have your boat drive up onto the trailer, not float above it. Putting your trailer in too deep can make it more difficult to properly trailer your boat, especially when wind is involved.
Take a look at this video to see how to trailer your pontoon boat. Even if you’re using easy load pontoon trailers, you still need to keep your trailer on the surface of the water.
5. Keep Your Rear Tires Away from the Water
Remember, the deeper you submerge your trailer in the water, the more difficult it’ll be to load your pontoon boat. Part of successfully trailering and towing your pontoon boat depends on how you are as a driver.
To successfully trailer your pontoon boat, you need to know where your truck is at all times. Avoid backing so far back into the pond that your rear tires become wet. The wetness of the tires, combined with the moss that’s present on most ramps, increases the slipperiness of the surface. This can cause you to lose traction when trying to pull your boat out of the water.
The last thing that you want to do when you load or unload your boat is to get your truck stuck in the water. This embarrassing mistake can be easily avoided by using the proper boating ramps and keeping your tires dry. The same concept applies when learning how to load a pontoon boat onto a trailer. Launching and retrieving your pontoon boat require good driving skills and knowledge of where your back tires are.
6. Get a Trailer with Guide Rails
Loading your pontoon boat can be difficult and time-consuming, no matter how experienced you are. Fortunately, there are many trailers on the market designed to reduce the stress that comes with trailering your boat.
Easy-load boat trailers are equipped with guides and rails that help you get a perfect load every time. Many have guides that help you see the best depth to submerge your trailer too. They also have rails that help straighten up your boat so that it slides right onto the trailer.
As you can see in the video, even boats coming in at an angle are able to trailer easily. For this reason, improved docking trailers are a great way to ensure a successful load or launch every time. If you’re a beginner who’s intimidated by the process of trailering your boat, these trailers can make you look like a seasoned veteran.
If you don’t want to buy a new trailer, you can install guide rails on your current trailer. There are a number of different installation kits available on the market.
7. Have Everyone Leave the Boat
A heavy boat is much more difficult to trailer than a light one. It can affect the way that the vessel turns and will require much more engine power mount the trailer. If possible, have all of your passengers disembark before you start loading your boat. If unable, then at least have them move from the front to the back of the boat.
8. Switch to a Scissor Trailer
There are two types of trailers you can use for your pontoon boat: the scissor trailer and the bunk trailer. Both of these trailers have their strengths and weaknesses. While the bunk trailer can be more challenging to load onto, it’s easier to drive on the road. However, scissor trailers have been designed specifically for pontoon boats. Because of this, they are much easier to use to trailer your pontoon boat.
Learning how to load a pontoon on a scissor trailer is similar to loading a pontoon on a bunk trailer. The biggest differece between the two is that scissor trailers excel in shallow waters, which present problems for bunk-style trailers.
Overall, scissor trailers are excellent for launching and loading your pontoon boat. However, they are much more difficult to tow. Because of their short wheelbase, scissor-type trailers are prone to swaying and flipping over. Because of this, it’s important that your truck has proper towing capacity and you stay mindful of the driving conditions.
9. Set up for a Good Launch
Trailering isn’t just about loading your vessel, it’s also about learning how to launch a pontoon boat by yourself. While this may seem intimidating at first, solo launches are not at all hard. The most important thing to be is prepared. Before you go to the ramps, make sure that your straps are removed and your engines are titled up.
Wait until you reach the water’s edge before you unhook the bow of your boat. This will help keep your pontoon stable and can prevent accidents from happening.
Consider taking off your seatbelt and keeping the window rolled down as you slowly back your boat into the water. This will help you be able to listen out for anything unusual. It’ll also help you jump out quickly in the event of an accident with your trailer.
Continue backing slowly into the water until the boat starts to float. Then place your truck in park and give the boat a slight push along back. If you have to climb onto your trailer to push the boat, be careful not to fall in the water. Once you’ve given your pontoon boat a push, quickly hop inside and dock it. You can then hop out and park your automobile.
By looking at the video, you can clearly see that self-launching a boat isn’t difficult. Don’t let the thought of having to launch your pontoon boat by yourself limit you from spending some quality time on the water.
10. Get Enough Practice
If you’re new to boating, try and get some practice launching and loading your pontoon boat every week if you live near a body of water. This can help you get the feel of how to trailer your boat, as well as decrease your chances of making a mistake because of your nerves.
One popular technique that drivers do when backing their pontoon boat into the water is to use a two-hand steering technique. Place both of your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel as you back up your trailer. While doing so, turn the steering wheel in the direction that you want the boat to go. This should help you increase your chances of backing up evenly along the dock.
Go and Have Fun
There is no easy way to load pontoon boats that works every time. However, these tips can greatly increase your chances of success when you launch and load your boat. Don’t let yourself become intimated by the thought of trailering a pontoon boat anymore!