NorEast Fishing Forum banner

Get a Boat off trailer

1574 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  capesams
The boat I bought last fall is a 1983, but has never been kept in water, thus it was never bottom painted. This season I have a slip and will have to get the boat off of the trailer and onto stands, not an easy task for a 23' boat. Some have told me to tie it off to a large tree and pull the trailer out from underneath slowly adding blocks and stands to it...It seems getting it back on would be the real challenge! Does anyone have any experience in tackling such a job? The potential for disaster seems to be present!

I do appreciate any advice you may have!
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
My suggestion would be to take the boat to a marine and have the bottom painted for the first time. This way you know the waterline will be straight and in the right place. I have gotten several boats on and off trailers, none as large as 23', but here is the process I used. Start and the back and find secure spots that are behind or to the side of the trailer. Jack the boat off the back of the trailer and block up. Now the boat should be support in the back by the blocks or jack stands and in the front by the trailer. To get the rest of the boat off the trailer you will need to find a secure spot in the front that will allow you to jack up the boat. Jack up and block the front. Now the boat should be completely off the trailer. You probably could paint the bottom of the boat just the way it is. If you want to get the trailer out from under the boat the you will need to go through a process of pulling the trailer forward until one of is cross members meets the blocks or jack stand you have holding up the front of the boat, block up behind the cross member and then remove the blocks or jack stand from infront of the cross member. Continue this process until the trailer is clear of the front of the boat. Some people paint their boats on the trailer, wait until the paint dries, reposition the boat on the trailer, and then paint the spots that were covered by the rollers. Blocking up a boat is a serious matter so if you decide to do make sure the places were you block up the boat are secure and won’t sink under the weight. Don’t spend any more time under the boat then you have to and don’t forget to paint the outdrive if this boat is an I/O. You should investigate what it would cost to have a marina paint the bottom. I have a 23’ it runs me around 10$ a foot and I let them do it.

See less See more
With my old Grady 22 and my newer 18'CC I found the cost of getting it done at a marina made it the easy way to go. By the time you buy the paint, brushes, solvent, a little sandpaper, and tape, $10 a foot looks like a pretty good deal !
If you decide to jack it up, once you find the right spots to support it, you can jack the entire trailer up, place the stands or supports, and then drop the trailer back down. The big pain is the crossmembers of the trailer, you need to re support behind them as you ease the trailer foward. Some trailers are much easier than others to do this with. I have watched professional boat movers and they design or customize their trailers so that it is a real easy process. I found the easiest process was to bring it to the marina !


Thanks for your responses, very much appreciated. I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks this is a heck of a project! Have considered a marina approach, but most tell me, come by in a month and we'll fit you in. Patience is tough to come by when the stripers are in...

Thanks again, great advice!
new bottoms

On an unpainted fiberglass boat, the (slick)gellcoat on the bottom needs to be "etched" to accept the paint otherwise your paint could peel off because of non stick. Do it right the first time.
don't move the trailer

I have a 23 foot boat and have gone though the process of jacking the boat up each of the past 6 years. The first year was the trickiest but I can get it done in 30 minutes now. Practice definately pays. I agree with some of the other guys in regards to having a professional do the job. I think this is only necessary for the first coat though. After this year I would do it myself. The paint adhears much better to old paint than bear fiber glass.

I agree with Calmwater, you really should just raise the boat above the trailer. I wouldn't move the trailer... way too much work.

Here's the process I go through to raise my boat off the trailer. Keep in mind I use cement block and wood(as to not damage the fiber glass). First thing I do is lower the front of the trailer as much as possible. This has the effect of raising the back of the boat several inches. Using a hydrolic jack under the middle of the transom I jack the boat up 4-6 inches. I keep a small piece of plywood between the jack and the boat to protect the fiber glass. Also, under the left and right corners of the transom I stack cement block, as many as possible. I make up the difference between the cement blocks and the bottom on the boat with pieces of the wood. So, once the boat is jacked up 4-6 inches, I add pieces of wood to the two corner supports. I then lower the boat onto the two corner supports(made up of cement blocks and topped off with wood) so that the back of the boat is now resting 4-6 inches higher. The support that the jack was sitting on can now be increased 4-6 inches and the process repeated. I would only raise the boat just enough so the a brush or paint roller can fit between the trailer rollers and the boat.

Now to the easy part... the bow. With the boat transom raised above the trailer and the front of the trailer lowered to the lowest point your only minutes away from finishing. As before stack cement blocks topped off with wood under the lowest point of the boat V. Now, raise the front of the trailer using the trailer jack. The jack on my trailer spans about 12 inches. Considering we have the same size boat yours should raise about the same. Once the trailer jack is raised as high as possible support the forward beam of the trailer with cemment blocks(wood is optional). Retract the trailer jack fully. Next, put a cement block under the wheel of the trialer jack. Again, extend the trailer jack and add the support blocks under the forward beam. Once you have the bow of the boat at the desired height, add more cement block or wood the support under the V. Now, reverse the process and lower the trailer so that the boat is completely off the trailer.

Again, I wouldn't recommend moving the trailer from under the boat. Way to much work and unsafe.

Also, I didn't even bother taking the boat off the the trailer this year. I painted it while it was on the trailer. Came out great and no headache. Then again I have a few good coats of paint on there already.

Anyway good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

See less See more
I worked at a marina for 6 years & blocked many boats, and I STRONGLY recommend taking the boat to a marina to have this done!! If you don't know what you're doing, you can seriously injure yourself and seriously damage your boat!!

All you need is for a pile of blocks to be a little off level, or a jack to be a little off center and the entire boat can come down on you!! And even if you do get out without getting hurt, the boat won't!!....which I'm sure is the last thing you want!

Also, jacking a boat in the wrong spot, or blocking a boat in the wrong spot can damage the boat. Remember, when you block a boat, you're putting roughly 4 to 5 THOUSAND pounds of weight onto a small surface area. The trailer distributes that weight out along a greater portion of the boat. If you don't jack and block in the right spots, you can really do some damage!

Trust me, the cost of a professional is worth it!! And I understand that you don't want to wait, but if that boat falls while your trying to block it up, you'll be waiting a lot longer than a couple of weeks to start fishing!!!!

Sorry to be so harsh, but I personally think that the safety of both you and the boat is more important than a couple of weeks fishing!
See less See more
My Thanks!!

Thank you all-

I just went to the local marina and for $350-$400 they'll find the waterline, epoxy barrier coat the bare hull and paint it up. Short money compared to the hospital down the road. Although the jacking method described by rizzilient sounded great!

Thanks again to all for your detailed and thought out responses!
Be carefull with cement blocks, I have seen them crumble. Buy boat stands ($40 a piece) Much safer and lasts forever. Can sell them when your through with them too.
As far as painting I'd do it on the trailer. When I did take my 25'er off the trailer it was only to scrape down the entire boat for repainting. The way I did it was different. I jacked up the back of the boat using blocks off wood on the keel. Then place two stands on each corner. Have someone drive the trailer forward very slowly. Watch the stands to make sure they don't tip forward. When you progress far enough put more blocks under the keel (just behind the trailer). When you reach 2/3 boat length (before bottom really vee's) Jack the keel again and add the last two stands. Finish pulling the trailer out. To load back on the trailer. Back the trailer back into the bow of the boat. Hitch up your winch. Back the trailer SLOWLY as you winch the boat onto the trailer while watching the stands so as not to tip them. As you progress you can remove stands and blocks. Remember that having a jack blocked up under the keel during the whole process adds a level off saftey.
Good luck. Thats the way my Mechanic taught me to do it.
Capt. Spike
See less See more
its been along time since i did it but if your boat is on rollers,as you said before tie it off to a large tree,but the way i remember it ,and it was with a 16 footer all you do is paint the areas you can reach wait a few days to let it dry than just back it off the trailer so the undone spots are exposed ,do them and then crank the boat back up snug after the paint dries.with the 16 footer it was all done with the boat on the trailer.i would think that if your boat is on rollers you only have to move it a little more than the width of the rollers

Hey boss, what part of the cape do you call home? chatham ,23seacraft c/c, steve. you'll fine me hanging out at classic . have had mine o/on lots of times,a few jacks,s/blockin and alittle big deal. if you need to know anything about your 23.come on buy and say hi.

1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.