Buying a new boat is exciting; there’s no doubt about that. You’re going to explore the waters in your very own boat! However, amid that excitement, you may forget one crucial aspect of buying a new boat: towing it.
And while that may sound something easy to do, it’s not. You’ve got to consider a lot of things before you tow your boat to its new location. For instance, how much does it weigh? Will your tow vehicle be able to handle it?
But fret not – I’ve discussed all of that in detail below. I’ve also added some tips on how to tow your bass boat safely, so keep reading!
Dry Weight vs. Real Weight of a Boat
First off, let’s get the basics out of the way.
Many people get confused between terms like dry weight, payload, tare weight, etc. when buying boats. However, there are really only three things you need to know about your bass boat: its dry weight, real weight, and maximum carrying capacity (GVM).
The dry weight of your boat is measured right after the builder is done building your vessel. This means that this measurement doesn’t include the weight of the fuel, fishing gear, or any stuff that you’ll add into the boat once you purchase it.
This number will prove useful when you’re calculating the total or real weight of your bass boat.
The real weight, as you may have guessed, is your boat’s weight once you fill it with fuel and equipment or install any accessories in it. This is the stuff you need to keep in mind when towing your boat.
Lastly, you need to know the GVM or gross vehicle mass of your bass boat. This number is the maximum weight your boat can carry on the water, and it’s something you should definitely know, so you don’t overload your boat.
What’s the Average Bass Boat and Trailer’s Weight?
This is a tricky question since bass boats come in a variety of sizes and types. However, the average bass boat weighs between 1700 to 2200 lbs.
Consider the weights of the following most popular bass boats:
- Bass Cat Puma Ftd: 1825 lbs
- Nitro Z21: 2150 lbs
- Triton 21 TRX: 1840 lbs
- Xpress X20: 1540 lbs
- Crestliner XF 189: 1280 lbs
As you can see, the weight varies from boat to boat, depending on the size, motor, and material (more on this later). But typically, a bass boat’s dry weight won’t exceed 2200 or 2300 lbs.
Next comes the trailer. You may have to get one separately, or your dealer might include it with your boat at a discounted price. Either way, you should know your trailer’s dry weight since it adds to the total weight you’ll have to pull.
Generally, a boat’s trailer will weigh between 700 to 1100 lbs, but this varies from boat to boat. A bigger boat will have a more heavy-duty trailer and vice versa.
So, the total average bass boat and trailer weight usually ends up between 2000 and 3000 lbs, more or less. However, this is just an estimate – your boat may weigh only 1200 lbs or be as heavy as 2200 lbs – so it depends.
Things to Consider When Calculating a Bass Boat and Trailer’s Weight
Your bass boat and trailer’s weight equal the total weight your vehicle will have to pull. But it’s not easy to estimate this weight – you’ll have to consider the following factors:
Material of Your Bass Boat
When you’re buying a boat or towing one whose weight you’re not too sure of, consider the material it’s made of. Is it fiberglass or aluminum?
Aluminum boats are considerably lighter, which makes them great for boating in shallow waters. So if your tow vehicle isn’t too heavy-duty, an aluminum boat would be a good idea.
But if your boat’s made of fiberglass, it’s going to be a lot heavier. It might put excessive strain on your tow vehicle, so you might have to use a bigger truck.
If you’re unsure of your boat’s weight, take it to a truck scale to measure it accurately.
Yep, fuel weight is something worth considering when towing bass boats. If your vessel’s fuel tanks are full, your boat will weigh considerably more, so it’s not something you should ignore.
Typically, bass boats have 30 to 50-gallon tanks, which means you’ll add 250 to 400 lbs to the total weight. Hence, you may want to empty the fuel tanks to relieve some of the weight before towing.
This is especially important with bass boats – you’re not going to go fishing without any gear, right?
Your gear’s weight will add a good 150 to 200 pounds to the total weight of the trailer. This includes fishing rods, reels, lines, bait, traps, spears, and other necessary stuff.
Don’t forget to weigh in the things you’ll take – water bottles, fishing boots, first aid kits, etc. And yes, I know – you’re probably going to carry those things in your towing vehicle. But after all, it will add to the total weight your vehicle has to pull.
Have you installed any accessories in your bass boat since you’ve purchased it? If yes, don’t forget to add them to the dry weight of your boat when calculating the total trailer weight.
These can include boat seats, power poles, cooler boxes, waterproof speakers, etc.
Weight of the Water
Your bass boat will be heavier after a trip into the water, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time fishing. This is because bass boats tend to get wet pretty quickly while fishing.
If there’s any water inside or the carpets got wet somehow, try draining the boat with its bilge pump and drying the carpets before towing. Also, you might want to empty its livewells before traveling – that’s a lot of extra pounds!
This will reduce the weight to a significant extent – something your tow vehicle will appreciate.
Things to Consider About Your Tow Vehicle
The boat and its trailer isn’t the only thing that matters. If you don’t have the appropriate tow vehicle, your fishing trip is as good as canceled. Consider the following:
Towing Capacity of the Vehicle
This is probably the most important factor to consider: can your vehicle pull the weight? With all those things stuffed into your bass boat, along with a 700 to 1000 lbs trailer, your tow vehicle will have to be super strong.
So before you invest in a bass boat or take it out for fishing, make sure to check the maximum weight your vehicle can pull.
If your bass boat and trailer’s weight exceeds the maximum tow capacity, don’t force anything. Your vehicle’s engine might get damaged, or the hitch will probably rip off, damaging your boat and trailer, both.
Are you going to travel into muddy, swampy trails? Or will you be traveling along a smooth road? Your answer will decide whether you need a bigger and stronger tow vehicle.
Generally, though, four-wheel drives are the better option for muddy, slippery areas.
Boat Towing Safety
Towing boats isn’t as easy as it sounds, even if you’ve got the right kind of tow vehicle. There are a few things you should keep in mind to travel safely:
- Spread the weight evenly on the trailer, with the heaviest stuff in the center.
- Check to see if everything, including the safety chain, is secure. No items should be moving freely in the trailer.
- Ensure that the tongue weight is between 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight.
- Don’t rush – stay well under the limit.
- Brake early – the trailer and boat’s weight will cause the vehicle to slow down less quickly.
- Keep a good distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
- Make wide turns and don’t do it suddenly – it could be dangerous for you and other cars on the road.
- Stop at regular intervals to inspect your trailer. Is anything loose? Are the bearings overheating?
You should always have a rough estimate of your boat’s weight after you’ve put all the necessary gear inside of it. Of course, you’ll need to know the dry weight of your trailer and boat before you can add any numbers to it.
But once you’ve done that, make sure you have a tow vehicle whose maximum tow capacity exceeds your boat and trailer’s estimated gross weight.
Lastly, make sure to have the right type of tongue for your trailer, as this will prevent dangerous situations like swaying. After this, you’ll be good to go.