Knowing the answer to “How much does a boat and trailer weigh?” can help you tow your vessel safely. You can find this information in the owner’s manual, but it contains many technical terms: dry weight, wet weight, package weight, GCWR, and GVWR.
The jargon sounds complicated and confusing, but they’re necessary to determine the total weight of boat and trailer and prepare the best towing option possible. This article will explain them all and provide examples of popular models’ weights.
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How Much Does a Boat and Trailer Weigh?
As mentioned above, the best way to learn how heavy your boat and trailer weigh is to examine their owner’s manuals and interpret the manufacturers’ messages.
Dry weight, wet weight, and package weight
The weight of a vehicle is unfixed. It fluctuates with fuel level, types of engines, and onboard objects. Thus, manufacturers develop different terms to dictate the watercraft’s weight in various circumstances. The three most popular are dry weight, wet weight, and package weight.
Dry weight is how heavy your boat is when it is on display, without engines and fuel. When you fuel it and equip it with a standard-size engine, the boat’s total weight becomes wet weight.
Then, if you add the boat’s wet weight to the standard boat trailer weight, you have a package weight. In other words, package weight is the total load your vehicle will have to tow.
Below is the weight chart of some popular boat models.
|Name of the Model||Dry Weight||Package Weight|
|Lowe 1810 Fishing Machine Pro WT||1850 lbs||3150 lbs|
|Lund 1775 Crossover XS||1450 lbs||2750 lbs|
|Bass Cat Puma FTD||1825 lbs||3325 lbs|
|Charger 210 Elite||1900 lbs||3450 lbs|
|Bayliner Element 18||2000 lbs||2750 lbs|
|Tracker Pro Team 190 TX||1048 lbs||2327 lbs|
|Cobia 201 Center Console||2745 lbs||3945 lbs|
|Xpress X19 Pro||1390 lbs||2640 lbs|
|WorldCat 230 Center Console||4000 lbs||5550 lbs|
|Grady-White 191 CE||2360 lbs||3560 lbs|
In addition, you may find information on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) in your vehicle owner’s manual. What do they mean?
GVWR is the highest weight your vehicle can tow. You must make sure the combined package weight of your vessel, trailer, towing tongue, and passengers does not exceed this number.
Meanwhile, GCWR refers to the maximum combined weights of the trailer and the towing vehicle. In other words, adding the GVWR of the vehicle and the trailer will give you the GVWR.
Depending on types and sizes of boats and trailers
In case you’ve lost the owner’s manual, you can estimate your boat’s dry and wet weight according to its type, size, and compatible motor. For example, a 21 foot boat weighs from 2,200 to 3,500 lbs, while a 19 foot vessel’s heft is only 2,000 to 2,700 lbs on average.
Small PWCs and Skiffs
Small PWCs and skiffs are usually under 20ft long. They are mainly used in calm lakes and shallow marshes.
While a PWC typically weighs 800 to 1,000 lbs, a skiff is only 300 to 1,000 lbs. The weight fluctuates with the motor, fuel, and boat’s materials, but most of these boat types never exceed triple digits in heft.
You only need single-axle trailers to tow these small boats. The weight of single axle boat trailer is around 200 to 600 lbs. Add this to the vessel’s weight, and you have a maximum package weight of 1,600 lbs. You can tow such load with most Sedans, trucks, and SUVs.
There are two types of sailboats: non-motorized day sailboats (or dinghies) and large sailboats.
Day sailboats do not come with lighting and are limited to use during the daytime. They are often small and lightweight—typically under 800 lbs. A single-axel trailer, such as the one mentioned above, is sufficient for these ships.
Their larger counterparts, on the other hand, can function as houseboats and comfortably accommodate a family of six people. This kind of sailboat might be up to 50ft long and reach a weight of 8,800 lbs. To tow these vessels, you’ll need a triple-axle trailer, which can be as heavy as 1,600 lbs.
Saltwater fishing boats
Fishing boats are categorized into aluminum and fiberglass boats. Aluminum boats are generally lighter than fiberglass ones due to the nature of the material. Though fiberglass boats are more difficult to tow, they outperform aluminum ones on the water due to their superior stability.
A 16ft aluminum fishing boat weighs 650 to 1,000 lbs. The measurement fluctuates with the engine you install for your vessel.
Meanwhile, a 16-20ft fiberglass fishing boat might tip the scale at 1,700 to 2,900 pounds, making the average boat weight with trailer soar up to 5,000 pounds.
Pontoon boats are renowned for their spacious designs. The wide decks, however, add significant weight to the vessel. An average pontoon comes to 2,000 to 2,500 lbs, but larger models can weigh a lot more.
For instance, Godfrey AquaPatio 235 SDB—a 24 foot pontoon—weighs 4,502 pounds without fuel and engines. You will need a dual-axle (also known as tandem-axle) trailer to load a pontoon of this size. How much does a dual axle boat trailer weigh? About 1,000 lbs. That sums the total load behind your vehicle to over 5,500 lbs.
Remember that you can always opt for an aluminum boat trailer to reduce the total weight. This can come in handy if you don’t have heavy-duty trucks to tow such a hefty load.
Cabin cruisers are designed to sustain their residents for days and even weeks on the sea. So, they have remarkable sizes and weights, which range from 7,000 to 8,800 lbs.
Find the summary of the weight range, compatible trailer, and tow vehicle in the table below.
|Boat Dry Weight||Trailer Weight||Tow vehicle|
|PWCs, Skiffs, Day Sailboats
|200 – 400lbs||Compacts, Sedans, SUVs, Minivans, Trucks|
|Saltwater Fishing Boats and Mid-size Pontoons
|500 – 600lbs||Compacts, Sedans, SUVs, Minivans, Trucks|
|800 – 1000lbs||Large SUVs, heavy-duty trucks|
|Large Sailboats, Cabin Cruisers
|1,300-1,600lbs||Large SUVs, heavy-duty trucks|
How large of a boat can I trailer?
In general, you can legally tow a load under 8.5ft in width, 13.5ft in height, and 30ft in length. When your boat and trailer size exceeds these limits, you might have to obtain a permit.
The regulation varies by state. Some might ask you to hang a flag or banner; some might forbid towing large loads during the weekends. So, make sure you read the state laws for specific details.
Note that the load dimension limit is calculated on both the boat and trailer, whichever is larger.
Where can I weigh my boat trailer?
Owners can weigh their boat trailers at a weigh station with truck scales or CAT scales. Some stations charge a fee, though. You should call them before dropping by.
To get the package weight of your vessel and trailer, you first want to weigh your loaded vehicle and trailer together. Then, weigh your vehicle alone. Finally, apply the weight calculator formula and subtract the vehicle’s weight from the total weight.
Important considerations when towing?
Towing a fully loaded trailer behind a vehicle requires knowledge and experience. You don’t want to pose any risk to you, your passengers, and other vehicles on the road. Some safety precautions include:
- Never tow a package weight that exceeds the GVWR and GCWR.
- Be aware of your trailer’s height, width, and length. Always check the level crossing signs before attempting to cross a low bridge.
- Drive in the right lane of the highway so you can pull in more easily when something goes wrong with your setup.
- Keep a safe distance from other vehicles by following the 2-second rule, meaning there needs to be a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. For instance, if you’re traveling at 28m/s, maintain a 56-meter distance.
- The heaviness of the cargo will put weight on your brake system and make it less effective. Therefore, proper brake adjustments are necessary – the heavier the load is, the more force the brake requires.
How much does a 17 ft boat weigh?
A 17-foot vessel can weigh 1,100 to 2,300 lbs, depending on the boat’s design and material.
The Edgewater 170CC center console, for example, is 16’10’’ long and weighs 2,100 lbs. When you add a 115 HP motor, fishing gear, and fuel to it, the total weight ends up at approximately 2,750 lbs.
A lighter option is the Princecraft Vectra 17 pontoon. It is 17’8” long but only weighs 1312 lbs. When you add the motor, fuel, and gear to it, its total load raises to almost 2,000 lbs.
How much does a boat and trailer weigh? A small PWC and a compatible aluminum trailer might weigh as little as 500 lbs, while a mid-sized pontoon and trailer can tip the scales at up to 3,500 lbs. Learning your vessel’s design, material, and size should give you a clear idea of its weight range.
That sums up our article. We hope you’ve found the weight range that your vessel and trailer fall into and come up with the safest towing option. Thank you for reading!
Working to create content for Marine Talk has always been a fascinating experience. I get to travel, absorb knowledge about boating, and tackle all the issues when we sail into freedom!