Photographs by the author

The HDPE strips and StarBoard-covered bunks made moving the boat off and back on the trailer much easier than the bare plywood deck and carpet-padded bunks did.

I have four boat trailers, and on all of them the boats drag over bare wood and come to rest on the bunks padded with carpet. Rollers seemed to be the only alternative, and may work for all the motorboats that I see throttling up to power onto their trailers, but they weren’t well suited to any of my boats. I have bearing buddies installed, but I prefer to keep them—and the taillights—out of the water whenever I can, so I like a trailer with a plywood platform that I can safely walk on for pushing a boat out to launch and pulling a bow up out of the water to retrieve a boat. The plywood trailer decks and the carpet-covered bunks create a lot of drag; even when I’m launching the boat and have the slope in my favor, it takes a hard shove.Carpet gets less boat-friendly with use and age. My boats come out of the water pretty clean, but when I vacuumed the carpet I was going to replace with HDPE, I extracted a lot of grit, which appeared, under magnification, quite fine compared with beach sand,. I suspect it was picked up from roads while driving. And the pile of the carpet padding I’d put on one trailer 10 years ago has become quite stiff and is now more of an abrasive than a cushion. I don’t mind the painted hulls getting a bit scuffed—they’re meant for the rigors of cruising—but I don’t want my Whitehall’s varnished Port Orford planks to prematurely lose their shine.

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