Guides for bunk trailer

Discussion in 'Trailering' started by JasonS, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    I have a 240 Sundeck on bunk trailer. I like to go out with my girlfriend who is not that helpful when it comes to putting the boat back on the trailer. I found some 5ft bunk guides that might help. Has anyone used them before? Any insight would be helpful. Thank you.
     
  2. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I have a 13' Boston Whaler on a galvanized trailer. My wife is the one who puts the boat on the trailer and isn't all that experienced yet. I put a set of guides on the trailer but they're only about 2' tall. They work very well, helping her to keep the boat centered as she comes in. Where they really help is with her level of self confidence. I think that might also help your girlfriend with her self confidence.


    aDSCN2856.jpg
    aDSCN2857.jpg
     
  3. Tonka Boater

    Tonka Boater Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2008
    Wayzata, MN
    1997 232 BR
    502 MAG, Bravo I
    The style of guides that GFC is showing for his Whaler are very useful. I purchased 5' vertical PVC posts for my current boat and took them off after one season. When I backed the trailer into the ramp the posts were only a few above water and the tops would get caught under the lip of my rub rail. On one occasion I scraped off 4 inches of gelcoat under the rub rail lip that cost me more to get repaired than the I spent on the posts.

    My current boat is similar in size to yours plus, I used to own a 2008 240SD so I'm familiar with loading it on a trailer. Loading it onto the trailer is quite easy to do solo, without guides, if you have the trailer positioned properly. There's no magic answer here -- ever ramp is different. For me, I have the rear bunks submerged just enough that they guide the boat naturally but not so deep that the transom floats. It's not easy to visualize, you just need to get a feel for it.
     
  4. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    The horizontal guides that GFC showed are nice. But take note that he doesn't have them super tight against the hull. That's important. For one, you might find that the hull is a bit wider at mid-ship. Two, if you get it too tight, it's likely to show slight wear/rub marks in the gel over time. Nothing horrible, though.

    The vertical PVC poles work very well, too. These are usually my "go to" style when customers want extra help. I even have this style on my 24' Grady Offshore as that trailer really isn't the best and I'm often loading in tidal areas with wind and current. The ones that Tonka was talking about where too short. They need to be long enough that they extend above the rubrail... when the back end of the boat is floating in the water. In other words, don't cut them down while the boat is sitting on the trailer in your driveway or when you're at steep ramps like Ledgedale, you'll experience what Tonka did. They nice as they end up looking like goal posts. You can adjust these to be snug to the widest part of the boat.

    Hopefully your girlfriend will start to feel more comfortable as time goes on. But if you have a good trailer under the boat, that is fitted properly, it really is pretty simple to do everything yourself. Especially with a boat like the Sundeck where it's easy to climb in/hop out over the bow onto the trailer. Heck, just last weekend I unloaded/loaded a 280 Sundancer (31') by myself. You can definitely do a Sundeck/bowrider.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  5. randmhall

    randmhall Member SILVER Sponsor

    207
    Apr 18, 2009
    Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Oklahoma
    2006 Sea Ray 240 Sundeck
    350 Mag Bravo 3
    Hi Jason, and welcome to the club.

    I have the vertical pvc goal posts on mine, they work great. One thing to keep in mind, is how far you back the trailer in. Most ramps in my area, the top of the fender should be right at the surface of the water, then the bunks will help guide the bow. If you can't get the bow all the way forward, it is a simple matter to back in a little more. If the trailer is too deep, the bunks don't help with positioning and you have trouble keeping it centered.

    I also added the lights to the top of the poles, they are very helpful if you ever load at night.

    I will add that we have long concrete ramps in my area, power loading is not appreciated on sand/gravel/mud ramps, as if washes out holes at the bottom of the ramp.

    IMG_7827.JPG.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  6. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
    My boat is a little larger than your but I'm sure the same will apply to yours. I have guide poles similar to randmhall and they don't do much to actually guide the boat onto the trailer. They are great for seeing the trailer in the mirrors when backing up and they do give a visible target to aim for when bring the boat in.
    The real solution is a set of forward guide bunks if you don't have them already. Once the boat is somewhat close they will align it perfectly.
     
  7. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    Thanks for all the info. The guides I'm looking at are the 5ft bunk guides. I also was told that a bow roller on my trailer would be a good idea. So, to center the boat quicker would a smaller 2ft bunk guide be better than the longer 5ft bunk guide?
     
  8. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    I had the tall guide poles on the trailer for my previous boat which was a 215EC......I actually extended the height of the post because the ramp I used for launching was pretty steep...the original height of the posts was not enough to have the post stick out of the water high enough to hit the bump rail of the boat when the trailer was backed into the water....I used a section black pipe positioned into the base of the guide poles and used regular PVC pipe around the black pipe....this worked very well...all I had to do was get the bow of the boat inside the posts and the boat would settle onto the bunks automatically....
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    You might be putting more time and money into this than necessary. What trailer do you have? Picture of bunk setup?
     
  10. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    I have a 24ft load rite aluminum I beam trailer. Duel axel and bunk. I just want to center the boat more easily. Seemed like the guides would help.
     
  11. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
  12. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    No, I do not have target bunks on the trailer. I was told that a bow roller would be good. I was planning on a bow roller installed when I go in for de-winterization at the end of this month.
     
  13. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Just for clarification, I think you're talking about a "keel" roller? Meaning, a set of maybe 4 or 5, wide, rollers lined up one in front of the other? Located under the forward section of the keel?

    That will help to roll the boat a bit, but it doesn't really do anything for centering.

    Often times, adjusting how far you put the trailer into the water will take care of loading issues and help to center it. Meaning, just learning your rig a little better will be all that's needed - and that's a "zero-cost" mod. Make sure the trailer is setup properly for the hull, and you really should be good to go. Not that you can't add more "stuff", but from experience, I really think you should be fine with it the way it is.
     
  14. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    I have guides similar to these and would never want to not have them.

    Cannot even imagine how this can be. My guides first act as a guide to center the vessel on the trailer, as like Westie, we have even bigger boats and trailer visibility from the helm is not ideal. My guides are not rigid like a piling but will flex when the rub rail hits it and gently push the boat back on center. As the keel hits the keel bunk the guides then are keeping the stern centered in the current or wind until the hull is far enough up for the rear bunks to hold it.

    For all posters please keep in mind ramps vary greatly in different parts of the country. What may seem like an absolute in your area may be very different for a ramp user elsewhere. In SW Michigan no power loading is allowed. On Indiana lakes there are rarely any kind of a dock or pier next to the ramp, just a ribbon of pavement into the lake. All of these present specific challenges that a single individual may not have dealt with.

    I lave my guides and highly recommend them as well as adding a good keel bunk instead if rollers etc. I had a problem with my anchor hitting my trailer winch and added the keel bunk for that but would now want even if I did not have the problem. You can see my bunks in post #30.

    http://clubsearay.com/showthread.php/45490-Anchor-hits-bow-roller-and-winch

    MM
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  15. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    By bow roller, I mean keel roller. A single roller placed on the front of the trailer to help in pulling the boat up. I thought it would help a lot so the trailer would not have to go that much farther in the water. My problem last yr was when I put the trailer farther in the water, it was harder to center but easier to pull on. The less in the water the easier to center but harder to pull on. This is my first bunk trailer. I had a roller trailer for my old boat so a bunk trailer is new.
     
  16. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Generally, once you get used to the different design, a bunk roller (again, set-up properly is the key) will center the boat out better than a roller.

    No, I don't think a single roller (or even multiple as I mentioned) will really make any difference. It might help a little bit, but there are some other things to worry about that, in my opinion, trumps the little to no help. For one, where the roller will be mounted... is it strong enough to support the weight of the boat? Two, you run the risk of doing more damage to the boat - if the weight of the boat is truly set-up to be on the roller, then you may have the boat slide off the the side of the roller.

    You're right about the further in the water/less in the water thing. But that's just part of the learning curve!
     
  17. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
    Like I said in my first post put these on. They will help way more than any guide poles to center the boat on the trailer.
     
  18. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    Hey Westie, Without the guides how do you keep the stern from going over the fenders in wind or current? Still have the marks on the trailer fenders from some harsh condition loadings. LOL

    MM
     
  19. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

    23
    Nov 7, 2016
    Lake wallenpaupack
    2006 SeaRay 240 Sundeck
    350 Mercruiser
    I checked out all of the options I got from everyone here. I think I'm going to go with a set of target bunks and pvc guide rods on the back of the trailer. A question for people with guide bunks. Can you install them while the boat is on the trailer. Thanks for everyone's ideas and insight!
     
  20. Westie

    Westie Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Calgary
    2001 260 Sundancer towed with the power of an IFORCE V8
    7.4 L Bravo III
    As soon as the bow of the boat hits the front target bunks it straightens up and the back end doesn't drift out of place at all. The front target bunks do all the alignment for you. I do have the guide poles but they do very little when actually loading the boat. I've loaded and unloaded the boat many times solo and never have an issue.
     

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