If we have learned anything about our friends who fish, it’s that they also are extremely handy. When something can be made at home in the shop vs buying it, they will almost always opt to make it. If you can pull it off, this is usually a great way to save money (and can be fun to build things as well). But what about DIY boat trailer brackets? Should you and can you make your own bunk brackets?
Glad you asked! In this article, we will go over how to make your own boat trailer bunk brackets as well as the pros and cons of DIY boat trailer brackets. We’ll also explain what boat trailer bunk brackets are, and how to pick out the proper size for your boat.
Let’s get started.
DIY Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets: How to Make Your Own Bunk Brackets
Before we get into whether making your own boat trailer bunk brackets is worth the money, let’s quickly explain how to make them. Luckily boat trailer bunk brackets are only comprised of several pieces and are relatively easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Several 6” or 8” long 2×4 pieces of wood
- Black outdoor rug or marine fabric
- Staple gun with stainless steel staples
- Metal mounting brackets depending on the type of bunk bracket you are making. They can be vertical mount brackets, swivel top bunk brackets, or pontoon boat bunk brackets.
- First, determine how many bunk brackets you plan on making. Most trailers have 4 to 8 bunk brackets that are 6” to 8” long. If you are replacing old worn-out bunk brackets, simply count how many there are and measure the correct lengths.
- Next, you’ll need to cut out the proper number and lengths of wood to make your brackets. We like buying a long 2×4” piece of wood and using a chop saw to quickly cut them. We prefer using cedar or whatever wood is the cheapest at your local hardware store.
- After cutting out your pieces of wood, measure out a square piece of carpet that will cover the entire piece of wood and that you can fold up on the underside. If you are replacing bunk brackets that have carpet on them, you can also simply remove the old carpet and use it as a guide for measuring out the new pieces.
- Once you cut out your pieces of carpet, wrap them tightly around the pieces of wood and use your nail gun to attach them to the pieces of wood. We like to nail the loose ends onto the bottom of the board so the top is completely flat. This also prevents any nails from potentially scraping the bottom of your boat near the keel or keel guard.
- After covering the wooden boards, you can then attach them to your trailer with your chosen brackets. Again, the type of bracket you choose depends on where you plan on mounting the bunk bracket. We recommend seeing where the old bunk brackets were mounted and mounting the new ones in a similar location.
- That’s pretty much it!
DIY Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets: Pros and Cons
Now that you know how to make your own boat trailer bunk brackets, let’s go over the pros and cons of DIY boat trailer bunk brackets. This is a good exercise to help you decide if it makes sense for you to spend the time and money to make them.
Pros of DIY Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets
Here are the most obvious pros for making your own bunk brackets.
- They cost less than buying them premade. Buying wood, carpet, and brackets separately will almost always cost less than buying the brackets pre-made. If you also factor in the cost of installing them, building and attaching your own boat trailer bunk brackets will save you a couple of hundred dollars.
- Making them at home can be fun. Do you like getting out your saw and building things? If so DIY boat trailer bunk brackets can be a fun activity for you to do at home. It can also be an easy project for you to work on with a younger boater or if you are still learning how to use tools in your shop.
- Their size is completely customizable. Do you need a really long bunk bracket or a short bunk bracket that you can’t find at your local marine shop? Great, just make it yourself! That’s one of the perks of making things at home is that you can customize them to your exact specifications.
Cons of DIY Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets
Now that we have gone over the pros of making your own bunk brackets, let talk about some of the cons.
- Premade-made boat trailer bunk brackets are already pretty cheap. You can buy premade bunk brackets for around $50 depending on the size. It might not be worth the time and effort to make them yourself if you’re only saving $20 to $30.
- Boat trailer bunk brackets are a crucial part of your trailer. If one of your boat trailer bunk brackets breaks or comes loose, it could be catastrophic for your boat. Imagine what would happen if a bunk bracket breaks on the freeway or at the boat ramp. It could end up significantly damaging your boat and causing harm to anyone in the area.
- They take time to make. Similar to our first point, is your time really best spent making a simple product you can buy for not much more? Only you know the answer to this!
DIY Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets: Are They Worth It?
Now that we have gone over the pros and cons of making your own boat trailer brackets, do we think they are worth it? The short answer is for most people, probably not. You’re better off buying premade boat brackets and either installing them yourself or paying for a professional to do it.
For a piece of your boat trailer that is crucial to the safe transportation of your boat, we don’t think it’s worth the risk of potentially messing something up. Combine that also with the fact that they don’t cost that much more to buy premade, and we really think you are better off not making them yourself.
Should Boat Trailer Bunk Brackets Be Level?
The short answer is yes, they should be level or close to level. This will ensure your fishing boat sits level when riding on the road, and keeps it in the most secure position. If your boat trailer bunk brackets aren’t perfectly level, that is probably ok though.
Your boat will shift and settle into the flattest position as you drive so the brackets don’t need to be perfectly level.
Do Boat Trailer Guides Work?
Similar to bunk brackets, a boat trailer guide help guide your boat into the right resting position on your trailer when you take it out of the water. We definitely think that they work and that they are a useful addition to your trailer.
Making your own boat trailer bunk brackets can be a fun project for you to work on, but when it comes down to it we don’t think it is worth the time and money over buying them premade.
Couple that with the fact that making sure your bunk brackets work the way they were intended is crucial to the safety of towing your boat, we recommend you get them professionally made and installed.
The last thing you want is for your expensive jet boat or sea-worthy salmon fishing boat to slide off your trailer damage the hull or offshore bracket. If you are feeling handy, you should also check out our guide to aftermarket leaning posts.
Have further questions on DIY boat trailer bunk brackets or tips on how to make them? Shoot us a note in the comments below.