Tips for Trailering a Pontoon Boat

Tips for Trailering a Pontoon Boat

Do you want to master trailering your pontoon boat? While there are numerous admirable approaches, trailering a pontoon boat can be quite intimidating the first time you do it. 

If you don’t want your boat to have bends, you must learn some pontoon boat trailering tips to avoid rookie errors. 

Don’t Trailer in High Winds

It may be tempting to stay out on the waters for longer, but it is time to get out of the water if you notice high winds approaching. 

There are very few chances of trailering a pontoon boat if the winds are strong because pontoon boats catch the wind and easily get pushed around. 

If you experience strong winds and notice a storm approaching, you should never make the mistake of staying out on the lake before you head for the dock because pontoon boats are designed in a way that they’re highly susceptible to winds pushing them around.

Moreover, pontoon boats feature a large fence around them, making it challenging to navigate against the wind. 

Get a Dock Hook

Dock hooks are long rods with a hook. Boaters can use it to grab the dock cleats to pull the end of their boat in position when the wind pushes against the boat. 

Dock hooks are quite affordable, and you can easily purchase them to save yourself from trouble. 

Use the Wind to Your Advantage 

Counteracting the wind and waves can work in your favour. However, if you want to take advantage of the wind, you must get the downwind of the dock. 

Ask the driver to keep the trailer close and position it on the downwind side. This way, the dock breaks some of the waves that buffer your pontoon’s position.

Moreover, it’s difficult to keep the pontoon stable. So besides using the wind to your advantage, you can also combine this tip with getting a dock hook, as it will help you pull the pontoon boat’s back smoothly over to the docking area.  

Don’t Go Too Deep 

It is challenging for beginners to trail their pontoon boat because they make rookie mistakes, such as pulling their trailer a little too deep into the water.

If you pull the trailer too deep while your pontoon is still floating, the wind will push the back of your boat to the side because your boat is still afloat, and it can easily change its position. 

You must avoid pulling the trailer too deep. Instead, pull the trailer until the wheel wells get wet. Then bring the front of your pontoon boat. Next, have the driver of the truck drive off slightly deeper so you can drive the pontoon up on the trailer. 

Take Your Pontoon Boat Slowly 

One of the most common mistakes that boaters make is backing trailers quickly into the water. This results in your trailer going too deep.

In addition, backing the trailer into the water is challenging. Many boaters cannot master trailering with their first few experiences. 

If you want to perfectly back the trailer, you must do it very slowly. Remember that your pontoon boat is often floating, even if it’s on top of the trailer if you’re going deep. 

You must back up the trailer’s ramp and avoid going deep. The wheel tops should barely be underwater. Next, slowly pull the trailer and then bring the front of your pontoon boat forward.

Once you bring up the pontoon’s front, you can ask the driver to go a little deep so you can slowly drive the pontoon onto the trailer. 

Use the Dock as a Drift Break

Strong winds and waves push against the dock, making trailering tougher. You must have your vehicle’s driver put the trailer close on the downwind side to use the dock as a drift break. 

The dock breaks wind from pushing your boat away. Many pontoon boaters don’t use a dock hook, but we are iterating the importance of this accessory. 

A dock hook will efficiently let you hook onto the docking cleats. As a result, you’d be better able to pull your boat close to the trailer even if the wind and waves push you on the water. 

Buy a Scissor Trailer Instead

Scissor trailers are specially designed for pontoon boats. They come with a steep price tag, but they can make your trailering experience easier. 

Standard bunk trailers are difficult to load. But scissor trailers come with a low wheelbase. As a result, they work well in shallow waters. 

Scissor trailers will help you trail your pontoon boat easily when you’re trailering at the dock. However, bunk trailers are made for roads, so they are less likely to flip and sway at high winds, unlike scissor trailers.

If you decide to invest in a scissor trailer, you must transport your boat cautiously as it is prone to flipping and swaying.

Get the Passengers off the Boat

Suppose the front of the pontoon boat has more weight; it’s difficult to get it on the trailer. When you drive the pontoon onto the trailer, the additional weight of the passenger requires the engine to produce more thrust to get the boat up on the trailer.

Moreover, if you have passengers in the front of the boat, they will block your view, making trailering tougher. You must have a clear view of the trailer to drive your pontoon all the way up. Therefore you must get the passengers off the boat before trailing to avoid trailering problems. 

Use a Trailer with Guide Rails

Trailering is not only time-consuming but also very challenging, no matter how polished your boating skills are. Many trailers are specifically designed to reduce the challenges that come with trailering your pontoon boat. 

Easy-load trailers feature rails that help to straighten up your pontoon boat. Improved docking trailers also ensure smooth trailering and launch. 

Trailers with guide rails are suitable for beginners to help load their pontoon easily. If you don’t want to purchase a trailer with guide rails, you can install guide rails on the trailer you currently use. 

All you need is an installation kit that will help you fit rails on your existing trailer. 

Practice More

If you’re new to using a pontoon boat, you need to practice launching and loading more frequently. If you practice launching and loading properly, it will reduce the chances of making mistakes while trailering. 

When you practice loading and launching, place both of your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel when you back up your trailer. 

Then slowly turn the steering wheel toward where you want your pontoon boat to go. This will make launching more smooth. 

In addition to this, when you pull up your trailer after loading the pontoon boat, remember to apply brakes a little early. The weight of the pontoon boat and the trailer makes it difficult to make sudden stops, so you must use pre-braking to stop your trailer when you drive off. 

Final Words

These tips and tricks will help make trailering more convenient. But always remember that weather can play a significant role in loading and launching as it controls the waves and the wind.

Therefore, you must check the weather forecast prior to boating to avoid such challenges. Also, when you tow your pontoon, make sure that it is securely strapped to the trailer before you hit the road. 

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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