Boat Trailers and Towbars
Boat Trailers come in varying sizes and shapes depending on what type of boat you are going to tow. There are often optional extras which enable different types of boat, e.g. Bilge Keel, Fin Keel and Boats with a lift Keel. Make sure you inform the trailer company of exactly which boat you have purchased and what you will be carrying in it, (e.g. fishing gear, water, fuel etc) as weight can affect the size and type of trailer you will require. Note, all trailers that have a G.V.W. of over 750kgs must have brakes by law. Never overload your trailer - it is your responsbility as the person driving the towing vehicle that the weight is lower than the G.V.W. (gross vehicle weight) of the trailer.
An excellent range of trailers and information can be found on the Ocean Trail website (www.oceantrail.co.uk).
How much will a boat trailer cost?
Boat Trailers vary in size and therefore in price. A small dinghy trailer could cost as little as £450 including delivery, but powerboat trailers can cost £1500 or more. Make sure you get the right trailer for your vessel - don't compromise on the size or weight capacity, as you may find you are towing illegally. Multi-roller trailers have rollers to make launching and recovery of powerboats and RIBs easier, but can start from £1000.
Flight Deck Bunk Trailers are designed for deep 'V' and cathedral hulled boats, large powerboats and cruisers. Prices for good quality FD Trailers can start from £1500. Super heavy weight powerboat and cruiser trailers need extra strong trailers and those start from £4000.
Yard launching trolleys are not trailers in the true sense, but can be used for moving small boats around the boat yard. They do not have road legal wheels and therefore cannot be taken on the road. However, they can cost as little as £120.
Personal Watercraft specific trailers are also available which are designed for the launch, recovery and safe transport of Personal Watercraft or Jetskis.
Towbars for boat trailers can either be fitted professionally or by a competent enthusiast. If fitting the towbar yourself make sure that you purchase the correct towbar not only for the make and model, but also dependent on whether you have an estate, hatchback or saloon car.
Professional towbar fitters will either work from a garage or there are now many mobile mechanics around the UK who come to you and fit the towbar at your home. There are a variety of types of towbar from single electrics (for trailers), twin electrics (for caravans mainly) and now detachable towball kits meaning you can remove the towbar when not in use.
Note that some cars are not suitable for towing. If a car manufacturer declares that a particular make of car is not suitable for towing it will not have any specified towing capacity and no specified mounting points, e.g. the Ford Ka. If such a vehicle, registered on or after 1st Augst 1998, is fitted with a towbar you could make yourself liable to prosecution.
How much will a towbar cost?
If you purchase a towbar with the intention of fitting it yourself, it could cost from just over £100 dependent on your vehicle and also whether it is single or twin electrics. Be aware that towbar fitters are often busy people so allow yourself plenty of time (2 or 3 weeks) to get the towbar fitted before arranging any trips with your new boat and trailer.
An excellent range of information about towing laws, setting up your trailer and winch selection is included on the Ocean Trail website (www.oceantrail.co.uk). They also sell a good range of trailers ideal for the boating enthusiast.
There are various guidelines for safely towing a trailer. For further advice and towing hints please check out the National Trailer and Towing Association website at www.ntta.co.uk