You’ve likely spent a ton of time picking out all the gear and accessories for your boat, getting your vehicle ready, and making plans…but have you thought about boat and trailer weight? Overlooking trailer weights can be costly and throw a huge wrench into the best-laid plans. Fortunately, this must-have info is straightforward, as we’ll explain below.

So how much does a boat and trailer weigh? Well, before we start dropping numbers, let’s dig into the “why” and uncover what you need to know.

The Importance of Knowing the Weight

Boats and trailers can vary wildly when it comes to weight – especially when you factor in the different materials and types of boats. First of all, you need to be confident your vehicle can tow your boat and trailer, so let’s talk about the gross combined weight rating (GCWR), which is the total weight of your loaded vehicle along with the trailer it’s pulling. This is different from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight of the vehicle including everything inside. You need to subtract the gross vehicle weight from the GCWR, which leaves you with the remaining capacity that the vehicle can safely tow.

The wear and tear from towing a boat exceeding weight limits can damage the transmission, tires, brakes, and more. While most boats are no problem for a heavy-duty truck, you could end up with costly repairs by underestimating the boat trailer weight. Worse yet, it could be dangerous to drive since you’ll have a hard time controlling the trailer.

Know Before You Buy

So you’ve figured out the maximum weight your vehicle can tow…it’s time to get into boat and trailer details. With boats, you’ll hear the terms dry weight, wet weight, and package weight. The dry weight is the weight of the boat itself and the wet weight is the weight of the boat, motor, and fluids, primarily fuel. The package weight includes the wet weight plus the weight of the trailer. Additionally, add 15% to the package weight to account for other equipment, electronics, and additional gear.

So if you’re searching for a new boat and debating between that slick fiberglass bass boat or a more utilitarian aluminum fishing boat, don’t overlook or misunderstand those specs. If you already have a trailer and boat, and you’re curious what the total weight is, your best bet is to go to a weigh station or CAT scale. This is a cheap, quick way to know exactly how much you’re towing.

Trailer Weight Factors

The boat itself affects trailer weight simply because bigger boats require heavier trailers. For example, take a fishing boat with a dry weight of 1,600 lbs., which is quite common. You’ll only need one outboard to move that boat, and your fuel and gear will be somewhat minimal. Standard single-axle trailers are perfect for towing this type of boat just about anywhere. With an average boat trailer weighing 1000 lbs or less, it’s a manageable load for many vehicles.

On the flip side, a big fiberglass boat made for saltwater that requires a large trailer will have heavier engines (possibly multiple outboards), and you’ll want a trailer with multiple axles (even more weight). The hull itself will be structurally different and weigh significantly more.

Engines and fuel account for a surprising portion of the average weight. A large boat can easily add a couple hundred pounds by filling up with fuel. Likewise, outboards weighing several hundred pounds each are a huge factor. This is common on fiberglass boats that cover a lot of miles and need all the power they can get.

Package Weight Ranges

Before we wrap up, let’s go over some actual weights so you have an idea of package weights for different boats. For the sake of comparison, an average-sized fishing boat will have a package weight of around 3,000 lbs. Of course, some are significantly less, such as a simple aluminum boat with a small outboard on an aluminum trailer. Pontoon boats, given their large platform and unique build structure, are surprisingly light even though they take up a lot of space. They usually have a package weight of 3,000 to 4,000 lbs.

Larger fish and ski boats, saltwater boats, and some bass boats often have a package weight of 4000 to 6000 lbs. You’ll want larger vehicles for towing boats of that caliber. Regardless of the size, many people live to take their boat to different bodies of water and get the full experience, instead of being docked at the same marina. Don’t overlook the importance of understanding your package weight and you’ll be confident towing anywhere.