Make a Pair of Bunk Glides for Your Boat Trailer

Picture of Make a Pair of Bunk Glides for Your Boat Trailer
Trying to launch my 18' boat has always been a strain. It would be easier if my trailer had rollers, which it doesn't - it has carpeted bunks. It's all I can do to push the 1400 pound boat and motor combination, especially when I'm perched on top of the trailer tongue, trying to keep my feet dry.

Then again, I have heard several people talk about the potential corrosion my boat can incur from the aluminum hull sitting on carpet, wet with salt water and wrapped around pressure treated wood. I haven't seen any damage, but the boat is new and I'm not crazy about the idea of it happening.

I looked at several different bunk glide products, but realized I would have around 100 bucks in it by the time I was done. There had to be a better, and cheaper, idea. One I could build instead of buy.
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Step 1: PVC is Slippery

Picture of PVC is Slippery
PVC may not be quite as slippery as nylon, but while looking at a piece of 1x4" PVC trim board, it occurred to me that it would still make a good bunk glide: it is easy to work, thick enough to countersink the screw heads, and best of all, would provide little friction when I was either launching or pulling the boat out of the water.

I bought a piece of the trim board and twenty 1 1/2" stainless steel screws at my local building supply yard. That's all I needed, and at $30 dollars, it was considerably cheaper than any commercially made bunk glides I had seen.

The piece of PVC trim I bought was 18' long and the bunks on my trailer are about 7' each, so first I cut it to length. Then I cut a slight bevel on the front end of the pieces and lopped the top corner off the rear ends. I then sanded both cuts, making the rear into a rounded bullnose. I also planed and sanded down both top sides for the length of the boards so there were no sharp corners in contact with the hull of my boat.

The photo shows the trim piece after the cut but before finishing the rounding.
dsgreene7111 months ago
Looks really good. I bet one could also use composite decking boards as well. They have quite a few colors available and maybe use the "hidden fastener" hardware to not worry about screw heads gouging the hull?
RangerJ (author)  dsgreene7111 months ago
I would think you could use decking boards, too. Good idea.
tshop11 months ago
That looks great and really economical. Your boat is aluminum, do you think it would work just as well on fiberglass?
RangerJ (author)  tshop11 months ago

I think it would be worth a try. I don't think it would hurt anything, as the PVC is probably softer than the fiberglass. They sell the nylon glides, which as far as I know can be used on glass boats, so I would think this would be ok, too.

The thing is to keep an eye on them - you don't want the screws to work loose and gouge up your boat. I'd also keep an eye on the boat. And, if you have antifouling paint on it, it will probably wear that off and make a mess of the glides, too.
SpringRobin11 months ago
Very nice. Those bunk boards look really professional.
RangerJ (author)  SpringRobin11 months ago
Thanks. I guess it's the white against the charcoal carpet. I've been very pleased with them; they make the launching and recovery so much easier.
mnflyfisherman12 months ago
Nice job on those! Great use of a lower cost material.
RangerJ (author)  mnflyfisherman12 months ago