How Tall Is a Boat on a Trailer? A Comprehensive Guide

Knowing how tall a boat is on a trailer can help ensure safe boat transport and proper boat storage. The last thing you want is to pull your boat into a storage location and find that you don’t have enough clearance. 

Whether it’s your garage door or a local overpass you’re worried about clearing, you’ll want to check out average height measurements according to boat type. That way, you’ll never have to wonder, “How tall is a boat on a trailer?” again.

Along with average measurements, we’ll also provide some solutions if your boat is a bit taller than you expected.

How Tall Is A Boat On A Trailer 

The height of a boat on a trailer will determine what bridges you can pass and where you can store your boat. Here are some examples of common boats and their heights on trailers: 

Boat TypeAverage Height on Trailer
Bass Boat6 to 7 feet
Pontoon Boat8 to 10 feet
Ski/Wakeboard Boat6 to 8 feet
Center Console7 to 9 feet
Jon Boat3 to 5 feet
Sailboat (small)6 to 8 feet
Cabin Cruiser9 to 12 feet
Bowrider5 to 8 feet
Yacht10 to 15 feet
Inflatable Boat4 to 6 feet

Understanding Boat Height on a Trailer

Various factors, including boat design, accessories, and the type of trailer used, influence the overall height of a boat on a trailer. Grasping these elements is vital for secure transportation, storage, and adherence to bridge and overpass clearance regulations in your area. 

Boat Design and Accessories

Boats come in various designs, and the hull shape will inform the total height of the boat and the way that it sits on a trailer. Most boats can be categorized into the following hull types:

  • Displacement
  • Planing
  • Flat
  • Round
  • V-shaped
  • Multi-hulled

Accessories, like T-tops, towers, and radar domes, can also significantly impact the overall height of a boat on a trailer.

The height of a T-top on a boat is usually between 4-6 feet. When measuring your boat’s height on a trailer, don’t forget to account for these design elements and accessories.

Although some add-ons like a T-Top can be removed, most of the time (for convenience), you won’t want to do that when transporting your boat. 

Types of Trailers

Scissor and bunk-style trailers are the two primary types of trailers used for towing boats. The type of trailer will affect how the boat sits on the trailer and its overall height. 

Scissor trailers have lower ground clearance, and the trailer tongue is lower to the ground when compared to bunk-style trailers, resulting in a lower overall height of the boat on the trailer.

Bunk-style trailers have adjustable bunks that can be raised or lowered to suit different boat sizes.

If you purchase a trailer locally, talk to the salesperson about what you can do to ensure the boat can be transported safely and with enough clearance. 

Measuring Your Boat’s Height on a Trailer

Determining your boat’s height on a trailer is necessary for storage, transportation, and clearing low bridges. 

To determine the height of your boat on a trailer, measure from the ground to the highest point on the boat, including any accessories like rod holders that may affect the overall height.

Find out the exact bridge clearance and then give yourself at least 2 to 2.5 feet of extra space in case your measurements are a little off. 

Precise calculation of the boat’s height on a trailer plays a significant role in:

  • Safety
  • Abiding by the law
  • Trailer selection
  • Storage and transportation

An erroneous measurement can give rise to safety issues, legal problems, and potential harm to the boat or trailer. 

Save up to $1,200/year on boat storage

Average Boat Heights on Trailers (Relative To Boat Length) 

Knowing the actual boat length and other specifications can prepare you for storage and transportation challenges. Typically speaking, a larger boat with more length will also sit higher. So, plan accordingly. 

Here are a few examples of how boat length can impact the total height of the boat. 

A 22-25 foot-long boat is generally estimated to be around 10-13 feet tall when on a trailer. Exceptions include boats where taller radar or hardtop accessories have been added.

A 30-foot boat with radar can be as high as 14 feet. 

Pro tip: Look for a forum community dedicated to the type of boat you own, and see if there is helpful advice. 

Safely navigating low bridges with your boat on a trailer requires calculating bridge clearance and taking necessary precautions. 

Bridge Clearance Calculation

To calculate bridge clearance, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the height of your boat’s mast or highest point from the boat floor
  2. Measure the height of the trailer from the ground to the boat floor
  3. Add these two measurements together.
  4. This total height will help you determine if your boat will clear a bridge.

Speed and Safety Precautions

It’s vital to adopt the necessary precautions for safe navigation when crossing low bridges with your boat on a trailer. 

As an extra safety precaution, maintain a slow idle speed when approaching the bridge. Be aware of the bridge height, and plan your route carefully to avoid obstructions or low-clearance hazards.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Storing Your Boat: Garage and Property Considerations

Storing your boat in a garage or on your property requires careful consideration of garage size, door dimensions, and local property storage regulations. It’s important to make sure your garage has sufficient height and width to house your boat on a trailer.

Garage Size and Door Dimensions

Before you plan on storing your boat in your garage, understand that the dimensions of your garage doors play a pivotal role in whether or not your boat can be stored inside. 

The height of the average garage door in the United States ranges from 9 to 12 feet. Its width is generally 16-18 feet. Measure your garage and door dimensions to ensure there is enough clearance for your boat on a trailer.

Alternative Storage Solutions 

If you find your boat is too tall for a standard garage or storage center, you’ll need to seek out alternative storage solutions. Give Neighbor, a peer-to-peer storage solution for boat owners, a try. Neighbor allows you to find storage for your boat (wet and dry and for larger boats) and your trailer. The storage can be close to your home, safe, and affordable. In addition, you can ensure you follow all local boat storage regulations. 

Summary

There are formulas and calculations out there for measuring trailer height and boat height. However, the best way to ensure you have enough clearance is to manually measure from the ground to the highest point on your boat. 

Anytime you travel with your boat, take a final look, and ensure there aren’t fishing poles, radar, outriggers, etc.) sticking up higher than your normal boat height.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Height of a Boat?

The average height of a boat will vary depending on its type, size, and design. Expect that the height of a boat will be anywhere from 4 to 14 feet and that when put on a trailer, you can expect 6 to 15 feet of height. 

How Tall Is a Bay Boat on a Trailer With a T-Top?

A bay boat on a trailer with a T-top will be anywhere from 9 to 12 feet in height. If you are worried about a precise measurement, check your owner’s manual for exact dimensions. 

How Low Should My Boat Sit on the Trailer?

The boat should sit with the keel resting in the keep support, and it should be level. 

Never raise the boat while it sits on the trailer. The bow stop or roller on the trailer should support the boat’s bow when it’s sitting in the trailer correctly. 

How Do You Measure a Boat for a Trailer?

To measure a boat for a trailer, you need to measure the boat’s length, width, and height. However, one of the most important measurements is the weight of the boat; even a smaller-sized boat needs the proper size trailer and trailer winch capabilities to pull the boat securely. 

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