Pontoons as Trailer Boats
An 8’6” wide pontoon on a 96” wheelbase trailer
A high percentage of pontoons are owned by people who own property on lakes, or are close to lakes, many of whom keep their pontoon moored in front of their lake house or elsewhere at the lake. Boat dealers have been using center-lift pontoon trailers to transport pontoons since 1957 when Phil Spreuer developed the first trailer that raised and lowered. Bass Tracker introduced the Bass Buggy in 1983 and this fishing pontoon came with a trailer. The original Bass Buggy had to be picked up in Springfield, MO.
Customers needed a wide axle trailer to transport the boat home and for fishermen that travel to different lakes. This was the birth of wide axle “bunk” style pontoon trailers. It supports the pontoons on carpeted bunks and with the wide axle, it grips the road without worry about tipping over.
Images from Pontoontrailers101.com
The bunk trailer is easy to launch and retrieve and the benefit of a wide axle meant that inexperienced people who seldom tow wouldn’t get into trouble on the highway.
There are two types of pontoon trailers. Storage trailers that will travel from the launch ramp a few miles to storage, and Road trailers that will be towed more than just twice a year and capable of long-distance travel. Trailer manufactures seldom differentiate the types. If you don’t travel it's probably not important, but if you do travel or might wish to travel, you had better know the difference. The trailer on the left has bracing in the front and the back. The tongue support ends at the front of the V in the frame and the trailer has 10” tires. The trailer to the right has four cross members holding the side frames together. The tongue support goes back to the first cross member. This trailer has 13” tires. To learn about the twisting and flexing that occurs on pontoon trailers, because the bunks are supported on 72” or 77” centers, visit pontoontrailers101.com
As pontoon boats migrated out of the quiet inland lakes of the Great Lakes states and the upper Mid-West, towing became more common. In the modern age many people have SUV’s or pick up trucks that can tow even the largest pontoons. With a modern wide axle trailer, boaters can travel almost anywhere.