How to Remove a Boat from a Trailer

In these tough times many boat owners are doing repairs themselves to save some money. One way to cut cost is to tackle painting the bottom of the boat, but the main obstacle to completing this task has been the trailer. If you try painting the bottom of a boat while it is on a trailer, the job will be time consuming and you'll be covered in bottom paint. I get many calls regarding how to take a boat off of a trailer. In this section I show you how I used to do just that. This method should work for you if you're really careful and use the right equipment and the boat is between 15- and 20-ft long. The equipment I use today is more expensive and works quicker, but it costs too much money for the average boat owner to acquire. With this procedure, you can take your boat off the trailer and block it up for the winter or to work on the bottom for a very reasonable cost.

A Couple of Tips:

numberIf you use a roller trailer, you should block up the boat for winter storage. If you don't, the rollers will leave small indentations in the hull and possible stress cracks in the area of the pressure points . The rollers straddle the main stringer of the hull; they don't sit on the stringer like a bunk trailer. Also, if you trailer the boat a long distance to use it during the summer, it's best to use a bunk trailer.

numberInvest in boat stands. New, they run around $75 each; used, about $25 each.

numberLook for 12" x 12" pressure-treated wood blocking. Do not use cinder blocks if you're working on the bottom of the hull. If you can't find the correct size blocking, you can use 6" x 6" pressure- treated wood from Home Depot or Lowes. You would glue two pieces together with Liquid Nails and then nail 12" x 12" x 5/8" plywood to the ends to make them one 12" x 12" unit and to keep them square and locked in place.

numberWhen blocking up a boat, do not use a three-point blocking stance. (See photos 1 and 2) For an 18-ft boat, you should have two main blocks under the boat and two boat stands on the port and starboard sides for a total of six contact points. Bigger boats require more blocks and boat stands (every six feet). So you will have eight contact points on an 20-Ft boat.

numberMake sure you tap the bottom of the hull to find the inside supports so you know where to place the blocking. If placed in the wrong areas, you're boat will look like the boat in photos 5-8.

numberThe boat stands are used just to keep the boat balanced and level. The main weight of the boat always sits on the wooden blocking.

Tools & Supply Links

Boat Stands Wood Blocking Hydraulic Jacks


Types of Trailers (Click photos to enlarge)

Bunk Trailer Roller Trailer

Blocking Photos (Click photos to enlarge)

Trailer Trailer Trailer
Cinder blocks low to ground blocking. Good for winter storage Three-point blocking with cinder blocks. This is very dangerous. Never work on the bottom of a hull when blocked like this. Three-point blocking with boat stands and cinder blocks. Still very dangerous.
Trailer Trailer Trailer
This is what happens to cinder blocks. They crumble. This is what happens when you don't tap the bottom of the hull to look for inside supports. The blocking goes right through the hull. Here the blocking is stuck in the hull.
Trailer Trailer Trailer
Here the blocking is stuck in the hull. Here is a boat stand set up in the wrong area of the hull.


Warning: If you don't have the right tools, or the ability, then do not attempt this procedure. If you do try this, make sure you have an extra person watching.

Do It Yourself Step-by-step Photo Guide: How to Remove your Boat from a Trailer


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