If you are in the market for a mid-size boat, you have undoubtedly thought about how much your new boat will weigh. Boat weight is important for a variety of reasons, one of the main ones being because of your vehicles towing capacity. Understanding how much your boat weighs and towing capacity of your vehicle will help keep you safe while on the road.
How Much Does a 21 Ft Boat Weigh?
Answering this question accurately can be challenging because there are many building materials, boat types, and manufacturers. Also, there are many accessories, configurations, and engine options, all which will have an impact on how much a boat weighs.
Coming from an assembly line, boats will have similar dry weight, but because each owner has the option to configure their boat differently there could be two boats that look similar, or are even made by the same company, that have very different weights.
Mainly, we’ll talk about boat weight as it relates to towing weight, also known as gross trailer weight (GTW), going over the dry weight, gear and fuel weight, trailer weight, and gross trailer weight (GWT).
I’ve investigated a handful of fiberglass boat types from various manufacturers and have prepared a comprehensive answer to “how much does a 21 ft boat weigh”. Let’s dive in.
Avalon Pontoon – Catalina Cruise 21 Ft
For a lot of people, pontoon boats are the ideal vessel to get them on the water. They are versatile, economical, and easy to maneuver. Pontoon boats offer something for everyone, whether you want to spend the day cruising, tubing, fishing, or anchored and swimming.
The Catalina Cruise offers all of this and is also very comfortable and comes well-equipped with a Bluetooth stereo system and a woodgrain dash on the helm. This pontoon has a 32-gallon fuel capacity and can accommodate up to a 115 HP motor. But how much does this boat weigh?
- Dry Weight – approx. 2,227 lbs. Pontoon boats are often highly customizable, so the dry weight could change depending on the configuration and the size motor you choose. The weight cited here assumes as 115 HP motor, which is the max allowed for this model. One thing pontoon boats have going for them is they are typically made mostly of aluminum, and, therefore, weight can be kept to a minimum while still allowing plenty of room for people and gear.
- Gear and fuel weight: approx. 525 lbs. We came to this number by adding the fuel weight (about 6.2 lbs. per gallon), batteries, and any other gear (assumed 300 lbs. for gear). This model has a maximum weight limit of 2,035 lbs., with up to 1,300 lbs. from people.
- Trailer Weight – 1,200 lbs. Most pontoon boat trailers have a pretty basic construction and use galvanized steel instead of aluminum. A benefit of using a trailer made of weighs more than an aluminum trailer and has a tendency to add stability to the trailer when towing.
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) – 3,955 lbs. The GTW is the combined weight – dry weight + gear and fuel + trailer.
Scout 215 XSF – Center Console
Scout is a boatbuilder that’s been around for just over three decades. They were first seen on the water in the late ’80s and have been innovators ever since. Building boats ranging in size from 17′ to 53′, there’s an option for almost everyone.
The 215 XSF is ideal for fishing allowing you to get into semi-shallow water or cut through the chop offshore with ease. It has an 82-gallon fuel capacity and a recommended 150 HP rating, with the capability of going up to 200 HP.
Let’s break down the weight:
- Dry Weight – 2,776 w/o motor. With a 150 HP motor, the dry weight jumps to 3,231 lbs., assuming the motor weighs 455 lbs. If you were to add a T-Top, any of the other optional features, or a larger outboard, the dry weight would be higher.
- Gear and Fuel Weight – 1,399 lbs. To get here we added fuel weight to the weight of full live wells, batteries, as well as any other gear you might have onboard (fishing poles, tackle, life jackets, etc.). Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, this number could be higher or lower.
- Trailer Weight – 1,390 lbs. for a tandem axle galvanized steel trailer.
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) – 5,750 lbs. GTW is also sometimes referred to as Towing Weight
Ranger Z521L – Bass Boat
Ranger makes one of the most popular bass boats out there; they have great name recognition and the quality to back it up. Bass boats are built for speed (getting you to the fishing hole first is important!), fishability, and getting into shallow hard to reach areas.
The Z521 is no different and does this as good or better than other bass boat options on the market. Notable features include plenty of storage lockers for gear and rods, a 51-gallon fuel tank, 31 gallon live well, and 300 HP maximum rating.
- Dry Weight – Ranger lists the dry weight without a motor at 1,950 lbs. If you add the maximum HP, it will tack on another approx. 562 lbs. bringing the total dry weight to 2,512 lbs.
- Gear and Fuel Weight – approx. 1,000 lbs. Ranger sets the max weight capacity at 1,700 lbs. including people, motor, and gear. Over half the 1,000 gear and fuel weight comes from just the fuel and water in the live well (assuming both are full).
- Trailer Weight – approx. 1,200 lbs. Ranger has its own brand of trailer they use called Ranger Trail. They are aluminum trailers, keeping the weight to a minimum.
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) – approx. 4,712 lbs.
Whether you’re in the early stages and still planning to buy a boat, or are already moving through the process and deciding what type boat you’ll buy, it’s important to make sure it meets your criteria for needs, wants, and lifestyle; this can be a tough decision to make and there are a lot of factors that go into making the right choice.
What a boat weighs should be on your checklist of considerations, especially if you plan on trailering your boat. Not all vehicles are created equally and if your boat is too heavy, you won’t be able to tow it safely. Each vehicle comes with a rating for the weight can safely tow, how much your boat weighs will directly relate to the type of vehicle you will need for towing purposes. We have talked a little about Gross Trailer Weight, but other weight ratings are important, too:
|GTW||Gross Trailer Weight||Trailer + gear|
|GVWR||Gross Vehicle Weight Rating||Vehicle + people and gear|
|GCWR||Gross Combined Weight Rating||Vehicle + people and gear + trailer and gear|
|GAWR||Gross Axle Weight Rating||Distribution over each axle of vehicle + people and gear + trailer and gear|
When towing your boat, these are important ratings to pay attention to. As you can see, the weight ratings build on themselves to get to the max a vehicle is able to carry safely.
Equally important to understanding and staying well below the limit of your vehicle’s weight ratings is knowing how to properly load the trailer. If you only have the boat on the trailer, it is self-explanatory. The boat sits on the runners and that’s that.
However, if you plan on keeping gear in the boat while undertow, its best to follow the 60-40 rule – 60% of weight should be in front of the axle and gear should be strapped down so it doesn’t shift or fly out while driving. If your gear isn’t strapped down, you might start the trip with 60% of the weight in front of the axle, but after a few turns and accelerations, the gear could easily slide backwards.
- Make sure to attach the boat securely to the trailer, both at the front by attaching the ratchet strap to the eye on the hull, and at the rear by strapping the boat to the trailer.
- Make wide turns
- Accelerate slowly and leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to stop safely
Buying a boat is an exciting time and it is fun to dream about all the features you want in new boat to have. Hopefully, you’re able to check all your boxes and buy exactly what you want!
When going through this process, though, remember to think about boat weight so you don’t wind up buying a boat and trailer you can’t tow behind the vehicle you have because it’s too heavy.
There are many boat types out there and, as you can see from the models we looked at, a lot of variation in what a 21 ft boat weighs. This guide is meant to help you understand the factors that makeup boat weight so you can make a more informed decision about what boat type is right for you.