Newbie with boat trailer brakes question


I’ve perused the relevant threads, at least those I could find via search, but still have questions.

I recently bought a 2023 Ascent, upgraded from a Forester, specifically so I could stay in the Subaru family and have a car capable of towing a boat (which I’m in the process of purchasing).

I am disappointed to be learning that, in a strict sense, it’s effectively not legal for me to buy a 16-17 foot aluminum boat, since none come with trailer brakes. To comply with the >1000lb = brakes requirement, I either have to buy a much larger boat than I want or need, or else an extremely small boat. Something like a Lund or Crestliner is effectively off the table?

The boat I am in the process of purchasing (I can still back out) is a Crestliner Fish Hawk 1650. Trailer is 550lbs, boat is 1150 or so, adding up to 1,700 without gas or gear. Forget all the camping gear that will also go in my car much of the time I plan to use it. I would easily be pushing 2500lbs between boat + cargo at least a couple of times a year.

I called a couple trailer/brake shops around here and they said they don’t do brakes on trailer that small as “they are not needed.” One place told me to buy a trailer with brakes and sell the one without, but that’s easier said than done, and again, good luck finding an appropriately sized trailer for 16’9″ boat with brakes.

I contacted etrailer with specific part numbers and ratings for the trailer that comes with this boat, and was told:
“I apologize for the inconvenience but, the only available brake options we have for a 2,200-lb axle are electric brakes, we do not have any disc or drum brakes for your trailer axle.”

Electric brakes are a no-go with boat trailers, especially as I live 8 miles from Maine’s Casco Bay and like to go striper fishing.

I’m looking for a lifeline here – what can I do?


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