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Boat and Trailer Cover

How Much Do a Boat and Trailer Weigh?

Your boat. Your trailer. Your tow vehicle. Together, they add up to sun-filled adventures on the water, whether you're hanging out on the pontoon with the family or out for a day of solo fishing on the lake.But before you can enjoy your time on the water, you have to make sure your boat/trailer setup is punching within its weight class, so to speak. What this means is that your boat can't exceed your trailer's capacity, and your boat/trailer combo can't exceed your vehicle's capacity.To make sure you're within your weight limitations all around, you need to know what your boat weighs, what your trailer weighs, and what your vehicle can tow. Below, we'll explore how boat weight is measured, and to give you an idea where your setup might fall on the scale, we'll look at some typical weights for common boat/trailer setups.Finally, for those who need more concrete numbers for their specific setup, we'll talk about how to weigh your boat trailer setup yourself for the most accurate result.In this article:
  • Boat dry weight, wet weight, and package weight
  • How much do a boat and trailer weigh?
  • How much do single-axle and tandem-axle boat trailers weigh?
  • How big of a boat can I trailer?
  • Where can I weigh my boat trailer?

Boat Dry Weight, Wet Weight, and Package Weight

You may have come across these terms when browsing boats, and they're important to understand when determining how much boat your vehicle and trailer can handle. What's included in these weight measurements can vary slightly by manufacturer. In general, however, they include roughly the same components, and none of these include the weight of gear in your boat. We'll talk more about adding gear weight in a moment, but first, let's define these terms:Dry weight is the weight of the boat with no added liquids and no motor—just the boat. Dry weight is provided by the manufacturer. This is where you start when determining how much your boat weighs—the base boat with nothing added.Wet weight is your boat plus fuel and the standard-size motor. Make sure this weight is within your trailer's capacity.Package weight is the boat, fuel, standard-size motor, and trailer. You'll need to make sure your tow vehicle is capable of handling not just the dry weight, but the package weight of your boat.
Boat Dry Weight, Wet Wait, and Package Weight
Also remember that once you're on the water, you'll need to account for the weight of everything you're loading onto the boat. Yes, you'll leave the trailer and vehicle behind, but what is coming with you?Make sure to account for:
  • Fuel (about 6 lbs per gallon)
  • People
  • Fishing gear (poles, tackle boxes, etc)
  • Loaded coolers
  • Life vests, water toys, and paddles
  • Heaters
  • Anything else that will be on the boat
These additions can quickly add up!
Boat at Ramp

How Much Do a Boat and Trailer Weigh?

For the purposes of towing your boat to the water, you need to know how much your boat and trailer weigh together. On average, boat trailers weigh anywhere from 200 lbs to 1,600 lbs.Does that help? Probably not. That's a pretty huge range, so let's narrow it down a bit more.Below, we've listed the average dry weight of common boat types as well as the weight of the trailers commonly used to tow them. The combined weight includes the boat and trailer together but does not include the added weight of fuel, gear, etc. Everyone has different fuel tank sizes and different must-have gear, so we'll just look at the average dry weight here.
Car Towing Boat Trailer
NOTE: Boat weights vary widely based on individual models. It's entirely possible to find a smaller-than-average sailboat or a larger-than-average pontoon. The numbers below are averages based on the most common boat weights for each category and the weight of the trailers typically used to tow them. It's always important to verify the weight and capacity of your boat, trailer, and tow vehicle prior to towing.
Boat Illustration
Typical Watercraft (by Dry Weight)
Trailer Illustration
Typical Trailer Weights
Truck Illustration
Typical Tow Vehicles
PWCs, jon boats, kayaks, canoes
(800 - 1,000 lbs)
200 - 400 lbs
(Typically single-axle)
Compacts, Sedans, SUVs, Minivans, Trucks
Bass boats
(1,000 - 2,000 lbs)
300 - 500 lbs
(Typically single-axle)
Compacts, Sedans, SUVs, Minivans, Trucks
Pontoons, motor boats, ski boats, saltwater fishing boats
(2,200 - 3,000 lbs)
500 - 600 lbs
(Typically single-axle)
SUVs, Minivans, Trucks
Ski boats, bay boats
(4,000 - 6,000 lbs)
800 - 1,000 lbs
(Typically tandem-axle)
Large SUVs, Heavy-Duty Trucks
Sailboats, speed boats, cabin cruisers
(7,000 - 8,800 lbs)
1,300 - 1,600 lbs
(Typically triple-axle)
Large SUVs, Heavy-Duty Trucks

How Much Do Single-Axle and Tandem-Axle Boat Trailers Weigh?

When it comes to single, dual, or even triple-axle trailers, there are no hard and fast rules. However, we can make some generalizations.Single-axle boat trailers typically weigh up to about 600 lbs and have a capacity up to about 3,300 lbs. Tandem-axle boat trailers usually weigh up to around 1,000 lbs. Some tandem-axle trailers can support boats up to around 8,000 lbs, but this is about the weight at which you'd start considering a triple-axle trailer. Triple-axle trailers usually weigh between 1,000 and 1,600 lbs. These trailers are designed for heavy-duty boats around 8,000 lbs to 10,000 lbs.
Typical Trailer Axles by Trailer Weight

How Big of a Boat Can I Trailer?

The answer depends on what exactly you're asking. How big of a boat can you trailer with a permit? Without a permit? With a half-ton truck? With a one-ton dually?First off, let's talk about what you can physically tow. Regardless of whether you're towing a boat trailer, a camper, or any other type of trailer, you'll always be limited by your lowest rated component, whether that's your hitch, ball mount, or tow vehicle. Check your vehicle's owner's manual (most are available online) for your tow capacity. Obviously, the bigger the boat, the bigger your tow vehicle needs to be.Your owner's manual should have your trailer towing capacity listed. However, you can also perform a quick calculation.
  • On the white sticker inside your vehicle's door, take a look at your GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is the maximum weight of your loaded vehicle + your loaded trailer.
  • Subtract your GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) from the number above. Your GVWR is the maximum weight of your loaded vehicle.
  • The resulting number is the maximum loaded trailer weight you can tow.
Maximum Loaded Boat Trailer Weight
When it comes to what you can legally tow, it varies by state, but most states require wide load permits for anything over 8.5' wide. You may also need a permit if your load height is over 13.5' - 14.5'. Maximum trailer length varies widely from about 30' - 60'. Make sure you are complying with your state's trailer laws regarding trailer lights, brakes, speed limits, etc. It's best to check the laws for any state(s) you'll be traveling through to make sure you meet all requirements.

Where Can I Weigh My Boat Trailer?

The best way to weigh your boat trailer is a weigh station or CAT scale. For a small fee (usually around $10), you can weigh your tow vehicle and trailer there. To find out how much your boat and trailer weigh together, weigh your entire setup, including your tow vehicle. Then weigh the tow vehicle alone. Subtract the tow vehicle weight from your total weight, and that will give you the weight of your boat.Still have questions? Give our experts a call at 800-298-8924, or contact us online. We're happy to assist any way we can!
Amber S
About the AuthorAs a content writer for etrailer, I might spend my morning loading and unloading a bike on five different bike racks to figure out which is easiest to use. I might be in the parking lot, taking pictures of an impressive RV battery setup our techs came across in the shop and discussing the benefits of the setup with the owner. I might spend an afternoon in a manufacturer training classes for some hands-on experience with new products, and then sit down to assemble all this information into a coherent article.At etrailer, one of our core values is that we are always learning, and I learn something new every day. I start each morning with the goal in mind of taking all of this information and figuring out the best way to answer the questions people ask us (and the ones they don’t know to ask yet), and helping people get the solutions they need to make their lives easier, safer, and more fun. I’m a DIYer at heart, so it brings me great joy to help a fellow DIYer find what they’re looking for, whether that’s a product, an answer, or a community.
Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 5/1/20



how do boats float. i'm serious.

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.


@Gregory A boat floats because it displaces water that weighs more than its own weight. Hope that helps.

Mark M.


I’m needing to replace the axle on my boat trailer. The stamp on my trailer says “GVWR 2400 lbs and GAWR FRONT 2400lbs”. So what weight axle do I need to purchase to replace?

Les D.


@MarkM If the manufacturers data plate says your trailers GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is 2,400 pounds, then that is the max weight the trailer plus cargo/boat can be. Usually a GAWR-F (Gross Axle Weight Rating - Front) refers to the tow vehicle maximum weight that can be brought to bear on that front axle of your truck. This should not come up when discussing a trailer that is not even hitched up yet. I would slide under that trailer axle and see if it has a sticker with its weight rating - most do - and let that be your guide. Otherwise go with the trailer's GVWR.

John H.


@MarkM If your trailer has GVWR 2,400 lbs, then you will likely need a 2,200 lbs axle. About 10% of your trailer weight will be sitting on your hitch when hooked up, so you shouldn't exceed your GVWR unless you are overloaded.



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