Converting a PWC trailer for kayaks ?'s

-- Last Updated: Aug-21-08 12:47 PM EST --

I have a single place Long (brand) jet ski trailer. I want to see how to go about converting it for use with my kayaks (all poly boats, 2 12' Pungos & 2 16' Necky's). I would want to be able to carry all 4 using my Malone cradles. I have contacted Long and they can get me a 11' or 13' tongue to replace the 7' one I have. I'm not sure how to go about measuring to see which I'd need. How do I measure and from what point to determine clearances needed? I don't want to have too much hanging off the back but I know some will have to since this is a short trailer anyway.

Also, I've seen some pics of how some of you have converted cargo trailers etc. but I was wondering if any of you used or could tell me the pros and cons of using 3/4" or 1" galvanized water pipe with elbows and "floor" plates to mount my Malone cradles. I already use pipe and noodles for storage but I'm concerned about stress etc. from the bouncing of the trailer on our degrading NC highways.

I would appreciate the help.

Good point about the pipe
I used the 3/4" because it’s the same size as the Yakima bars. But now that you mention it, 1" should work fine with the Malone’s, and the added strength will be handy for multiple kayaks.

Look at trailers
Do you see them using tube steel? No

Is the tongue round?

Wonder why?

Square and retangular steel are structurally stronger even though what you are building isn’t a skyscraper.


Perhaps I was not clear…

– Last Updated: Aug-21-08 2:06 PM EST –

that the trailer is already built, in good shape, and is 3"x3" galvanized steel. The galvanized (or black) pipes would serve the same purpose as Yakima or Thule bars.
My plan is to mount 2 sets of them using flange mounts, a riser pipe, an elbow or a T, at least a 48" cross pipe (probably longer), and the same configuration on the other side, all mounted to 4x4 runners (where the carpeted wood pwc supports are now). Wouldn't that be just as strong as wood supports?

I still don't know how long a tongue to order.

tongue length

– Last Updated: Aug-21-08 4:54 PM EST –

I'm building a canoe trailer to haul 16-17ft boats. I measured our local county conservation board's 8 place canoe (Al boats) trailer and the total length from the ball receptacle to the first upright support was 8ft. Of course 1/3 of the boat hangs off the back. Hope this helps


Tongue Length
doesn’t mean much by itself. What you want is a hitch to axle distance that is a foot or two longer than a half boat length. If you have a 14 foot kayak, that’s 8 to 9 feet from hitch to axle. If you are going for a wide trailer, go a little longer still.

Two feet will allow you to have the kayak almost cenetered over the axle without it in danger of hitting the tow vehicle in turns.

If you have to extend it more than a couple of feet, you might want to get a good welder to make it extra sturdy. The tongue takes some pretty serious stress when you extend it out 3 or 4 feet.


trailers not but
many higher end chassis yes.

The reason often manufacturers don’t use round tubes is coz it’s trickier to miter the tubes to fit them together.

How often do you see bicycles use square tubes?

Unless over engineered the square tube is not as strong as a round one, for the same weight.

Consider this …

– Last Updated: Aug-21-08 11:14 PM EST –

...... hook up your trailer , pick up the rear of the trailer and jack knife it to one side as far as it will go .

Next clamp a 2 x 4 or simular across (perpendicular) the main beam (tounge beam) , far enough back so that this 2 x 4 clears the corner of your vehical by about 8".

Where that 2 x 4 is would represent the closest the front of your noe/yak (multiple side by side) should get to the vehical .

A simpler method would be to measure 1/2 the width of the vehical and add about 8" . The result should be aprox. the same .

But I say use the 2 x 4 method so you can visualize the forward most end of the boats , and also see where the axle is in relation to that .

To have the axle farther back , measure the distance from the 2 x 4 to the axle as it is now , add how ever much extra is required to get the axle were you want it .

Where you want the rest of the trailer components , axle , bar stands , etc. depends on how much overhang of the boats behind the trailer , you decide is comfortable for you .

Personally I would'nt have more than a couple feet of boat behind the axle .

Are you sure?

Yes he is.

cyber, you ask for pictures.
Well, pictures of what you have now would help us help you.

4’ of rear overhang

– Last Updated: Aug-22-08 10:36 AM EST –

is what it looks like it would leave based on where the runners would mount. I can only go so far forward with the front one because the frame is not square. I may be able to get another foot forward.

This is just a very short trailer. The Jetski was only 9' long.

With two 16 footers and two twelve footers, I would recommend setting them up so that the long boats are on their sides with the nose over the tongus near the center of the trailer. That is they have their hulls facing out, so the tip of each bow is almost touching one another just a foot or so behind the center of the vehicle.

That will make it all but impossible to jackknife and hurt the long boats.

You’ll want the 12 footers further back and you could mount them on their side with the hulls facing in. That way the nose could be outside the danger zone as well.

I’d make sure the cross bars are spaced about 8 to 9 feet apart, front to back so the 16 footers onle have 3 or 4 feet overhang. from the supports. You want to make sure the center of gravity is forward of the axle, so with a tongue extension and boats centered near (or maybe a little behind) the axle you should be good there.

A welder can build a frame for you out of angle iron or square tubing to make the overhang whatever you want, but I’d say anything under 3 or 4 feet will be okay without modifications. Longer than that and you’ll want to have flags and/or lights on the boats to help make them visible. Check your local laws for the legal limits and such.

I’m building a 4 boat hauler out of a utility trailer and my total width for cross members is 68 inches. Depending on the boats you can probably be a little narrower, but that is the ballpark for the width you’ll need hauling boats on their sides. Id the long boats have a lot of upsweep on the bow, you may have to go wider. Simply lay them out and measure the width you need.