Should I Buy a Trailer Dolly for Moving My Boat?

Moving your boat trailer can be a pain.

And I mean that literally. You’ve likely experienced pain and fatigue after pulling your boat up your driveway, manoeuvring it into the garage, or trying to get it into your yard. Has your back hurt afterwards, even from moving it a shorter distance on hard, level ground? Dragging a 500+ KG boat on top of a trailer (that weighs another few hundred kilos) puts a lot of strain on your muscles. The strain that your body is not built to handle. And if you have a boat so big and heavy that you’d need the Hulk to help you push it, then you’re probably familiar with the struggle of trying to carefully manoeuvre the trailer with a vehicle only to find that you can’t get it to go quite where you want it. This is why many boaters opt to purchase trailer dollies.

A boat trailer dolly can lighten your load.
There are several different types of trailer dollies, but they all function in the same basic way by lifting the tongue of the trailer and providing a handle, or another method of steering. If you have ever tried to move your boat trailer by dragging it along on the jack wheel, you will know that the small, hard plastic wheel is not the optimal choice for steering your boat. A trailer dolly gives you a ball mount that attaches to the hitch, placing the tongue weight onto better wheels with good tyres (usually two wheels, rather than one). These provide a much better grip. And they aren’t prone to wearing flat on one side, the way the plastic wheels do. But better tyres aren’t the only advantage. When it comes to hand-pulled trailer dollies, the long handle creates a lever, lessening the amount of force required to move your boat. This maximizes efficiency by allowing you to use less effort to move your boat over the same distances.

Trailer dollies simplify steering.
Manoeuvring your boat is also a lot easier with a trailer dolly. Have you ever been frustrated in your attempts to back your boat into a garage or narrow laneway while a spotter shouts directions at you? (Or tried to do it without the spotter and ended up hitting something?) Certain parking jobs require a lot of precision – precision that a vehicle just can’t give you. The handle setup on a dolly allows you to have a lot more control when it comes to steering. You can make more micro-adjustments with a dolly than you can with a motorized vehicle. Plus, it helps you to see the situation more clearly, instead of through mirrors and car windows. If you park your boat in a garage or another small space that is awkward for a vehicle to access, then a trailer dolly can help you move in and out of that spot much more easily. They also let you park your boat in spaces that vehicles could simply never access, providing anti-theft protection. 

Electric dollies require even less effort.

 An electric dolly is more of an investment, but many people find it a worthwhile purchase because of how easy it is to use. Those who move their boat frequently and over longer distances, who own multiple trailers, or who suffer from chronic pain, might select an electric trailer dolly instead of a manual dolly. Unlike hand-pulled dollies, electric trailer dollies require no force on the part of the individual. All you have to do to move your boat with an electric dolly is switch on the motor to get the wheels moving and steer. Some larger models even offer remote control, so you can walk around and assess your parking job as you steer.

Selecting the right boat trailer dolly.
When deciding on which trailer dolly is right for moving your boat, make sure you know the total weight of your boat and trailer, as well as the hitch weight. Dollies are all made with different capacities, so you need to make sure that the one you buy can carry the load safely. You will also want to consider the hitch attachment options to make sure it is compatible. For a more in-depth understanding of your trailer dolly needs and options, be sure to check out our how-to guide on deciding which trailer dolly is right for you. And once you know what requirements to look for, it all comes down to personal preference.