Difference in launching/retrieving with rollers vs. bunks?

Discussion in 'Trailering' started by Tom Sylvia, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Tom Sylvia

    Tom Sylvia New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 25, 2018
    04 Sundeck 240
    Mercruiser 5.0L MPI w/Bravo III Drive
    Hello All,
    I have only had bunk trailers but our "new to us" boat trailer has rollers. Are there differences in launching/retrieving? Thanks in advance for any replies.
  2. yobub

    yobub Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jul 29, 2016
    1998 400 Sundancer
    Cat 3116's
    When we had rollers on our trailer occasionally one of the rollers would flip up the wrong way when we backed in. If we weren't watched for it you could load the boat and scrape the hell out of the bottom (don't ask how I would know)

    Also, the boat slid off much easier so I would never unhook the strap until the boat was in the water. With our bunks if the boat was dry I can unhook right before we go in, then back in and slide the boat off in one motion.
  3. boatrboy

    boatrboy Active Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Orange, CT
    1999 270 Da
    7.4 MPI w/B3
    This is good advice. I have witnessed several times a boat that slide off the rollers on a ramp and hit the ground. Usually the trailer rollers damage the hull and the drive hits the pavement hard! Keep that strap hooked until in the water.
  4. MrHappy

    MrHappy Active Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    1991 Sea Ray 225BR
    Regardless of bunk or rollers, one would think that one would keep the strap hooked until in the water.

    I do not unhook until the boat is started.
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    The general process is the same. But depending on how many rollers it has, how "good" of a trailer it is, and how well it is setup for the hull will determine if it "centers" the boat as well. Cheaper trailers are more likely to have issues in allowing the hull to contact metal points of the trailer or roller arms.

    There's pluses and minuses to both styles. The biggest advantage to a roller trailer is the easier ability to launch and retrieve on shallow ramps.

    Best practice is to keep BOTH the strap AND the safety chain attached until the boat gets at least part way into the water - to where, if it did slide off, it would just float. Straps can break.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
    MonacoMike likes this.
  6. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Another difference is you do not need to back it as deep as a bunk trailer since it is so easy to load or unload. Better for short ramps.

    Keep that strap and chain on until you no longer want the boat on the trailer, ALWAYS!!!

    I was just a a boat storage building, amazed how many trailers did not have a safely chain, and they additionally had sun faded winch straps to boot.

  7. Tom Sylvia

    Tom Sylvia New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 25, 2018
    04 Sundeck 240
    Mercruiser 5.0L MPI w/Bravo III Drive
    Thanks for the replies, sad to think I got 6 months until the first launch.

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