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The other day, I saw a guy driving down the highway with a newer Yamaha VX WaveRunner in the bed of his Toyota Tundra. I’d have taken a picture if I could have. At first, I thought he just bought it, but it really looked like he was coming home from the lake that way. I know sometimes you have to pinch some pennies where you can to have some fun, but seriously, if that dude could afford a nice PWC, and a killer truck, you’d think it’s stand to reason that he’d opt for at least a cheap PWC trailer for his WaveRunner. I mean, you really do kind of need one, right?
Picking the right PWC trailer for your needs isn’t really that hard, but there are some options out there and since the whole point of having a PWC is enjoying life to the fullest, you can find a trailer that helps make your sport a little more enjoyable.
Steel vs. Aluminum
While there are variations on a theme, the two types of PWC trailer materials out there are steel and aluminum. Both have pluses and minuses that can swing the needle for you, depending on what you want. We’ll start off with the elephant in the room – cost. With most new PWC running north of $10,000 these days, cost can be a determining factor to selecting your new trailer. Steel is going to be cheaper than aluminum just about every time.
If you want to go as cheap as possible, painted steel is going to be the way to go. You can step up to powder-coated steel, which offers a thicker, electrically-applied paint that is then baked onto the metal for a more durable finish. Keep in mind that these options aren’t going to prevent the enemy of steel – rust – from forming.
If you plan on being around salt water, or are going to be using the PWC trailer a lot, and still want a cheaper option, galvanized steel trailers are the way to go. Galvanizing is the process of adding a layer of zinc to the surfaces of a steel or iron product. The zinc prevents the steel from corroding, so it stays rust-free. Some companies then either paint or powder coat the steel for a different look and added protection. Shoreland’r makes some really nice Galvanized and power-coated trailers.
Aluminum trailers are more expensive, but have some significant advantages. Being all aluminum, they are lighter than steel trailers. Aluma Trailers have a single PWC trailer that weighs in at a mere 275 pounds. Aluminum has another advantage in that it doesn’t rust. However, keep in mind that aluminum does corrode under extreme alkaline conditions, meaning that repeated exposure to salt water without proper care and cleaning can lead to pitting and a weaker frame, or worse.
Singles and Doubles
In another case of something I saw recently, I was into a local marina just last week to drop off my boat motor and got to chatting with the sales manager. While she was unsuccessful in talking me into a new boat and motor – because I don’t want my wife to murder me yet – she did tell me about a customer I had just missed who became irate because he had bought a two-place trailer, but only a single PWC. It didn’t go down the freeway as well as he wanted it to. Seems the guy was thinking that he might buy another PWC down the road, so he got the two-up PWC trailer now to save money. Makes sense. However, it wasn’t the kind of trailer that is balanced enough to carry just one without some sort of extra weight on the opposite side to balance things out. I guess it got kind of squirrely at 75mph.
If you only have one PWC, get a single. If you have two, get a double. Makes sense, right? If you want to be like that guy and get a double now, go ahead. Just talk to your sales person first to make sure the trailer will still go down the road ok, or plan to add some weight to even it out.
Advice from Me
I have towed many a trailer in my day and have spent a lot of time looking at new trailers. My wife says I might have an issue. However, I can share some advice to make your life easier. Look for a PWC trailer that has low bunks. This will let your PWC ride lower in the trailer frame. This will help reduce drag going down the road and help your fuel economy. It’ll also make loading and unloading the PWC much easier.
I would also suggest either buying a trailer equipped with, or adding yourself later, some form of visual aid so you can see the trailer as you are backing up. My truck has a topper and unless I open the back end up, when I’m backing down the ramp, I can’t see the trailer without some help. Not really a big deal, unless someone is watching me. Then I’m just about guaranteed to jackknife the crap out of it.
Make sure the trailer you get matches your PWC. Some PWC are bigger, longer and heavier than others. Make sure the capacity of the trailer matches what you plan to put on it. Never be afraid to ask.
I would also suggest a PWC trailer that you can easily replace the lights. You know you’re going to break one sooner or later. Might as well be able to replace it without screaming and swearing. I know – what’s the fun in that?
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