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Boat Trailer Rollers

You use your boat in the water and your trailer on land, but that brings up the issue of transferring your boat from the trailer to the water. How you do that depends more on your trailer than your boat. Most boat trailers rely on either rollers or skids to support the boat out of the water, and which kind of boat trailer you choose determines how you launch and retrieve your boat. For anyone wanting flexibility, a good set of rollers is invaluable.

How Rollers Work

Rollers are essentially nothing more than wheels for your boat. They both support the boat and let it move onto the trailer without worrying about friction. Most trailers require several different kinds of roller. Keel rollers run along the keel of the boat and support most of its weight. Wobble rollers help keep your boat balanced on the trailer and spread the weight out. Your trailer may also need a bow roller to snug the boat into place.

Roller Materials

Most boat rollers use either rubber or some form of polymer. Rubber rollers are usually the budget solution; they have the shortest lifespan and show the most damage. Polyurethane rollers are longer lasting than rubber, and work well with fibreglass hulls, as they are the softest kind of rollers. High density polyethylene has the highest price and longest lifetime.

Roller Advantages

The biggest advantage of rollers over skids is flexibility. Skid trailers require deep enough water that you can float your boat off the trailer. With rollers you just need enough water to float the boat. It's also an advantage for the trailer. Because you don't have to get the boat as deep, you don't have to submerge the trailer, which is much easier on your hubs, axles, brakes and electrical components. The money you spend on rollers you might save on other boat trailer parts.

Roller Trade Offs

One major trade off for rollers is maintenance time. All those rollers are moving parts, and they require more maintenance than a simple set of skids. Another is that some hulls need the additional support provided by skids.

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