For many years, Broward Trailer Company in Hialeah, Fla., has been building high-end trailers for high-end go-fast boats and center consoles. And just as the construction techniques, sizes and styles of the boats have progressed over the years, Broward’s trailers have developed along the same lines.
As the company’s offerings got bigger, stronger, better looking and better fitting, the latter has always been the most difficult to improve, especially with the way multi-step hull design has evolved over time. But thanks to the latest and greatest technology available, the fitting process has taken on a whole new meaning for the team at Broward.
“One of the new breakthroughs we’ve come up [with]is that we’ve invested in a large-format laser scanner, which gives us a 3D shape of the bottom of a boat so we can get our bunks to fit correctly 100 percent of the time,” said Broward’s owner Jim Nall, who also runs Aqua-Air Manufacturing, a marine air conditioning system business for yachts. “This incredible innovation gives us a very accurate shape of the bottom and allows us to offer our customers the absolutely best possible fit to support their several hundred thousand, if not million dollar investment.”
Nall said Broward didn’t just invest in the equipment, the company developed the graphics-oriented conversion techniques that allow its design software to utilize the data collected by the advanced scanner, which is completely portable and can capture detail from a 30-foot distance down to the 1/16th of an inch.
“The first trailer we did turned out perfect — I had three people, unsolicited, tell me that the boat fit the trailer better than any they’d ever seen,” Nall said. “The bunks really do fit like gloves. Usually, there’s a lot of room for error with trailers because they’re not normally built with the boats. That doesn’t matter now that we can go to the boat, scan the bottom and note each specific angle change.”
Nall said the first boat the company scanned for a new trailer was a 50-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats V-bottom at TNT Custom Marine in North Miami. Texas performance boater Joe Kilgore recently purchased the 2015 Outerlimits SL 50 V-bottom with twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines, sold the old trailer back to Outerlimits and turned to Broward because of its proximity to TNT Custom Marine and because it builds an all-aluminum trailer that ties into a gooseneck that is made of steel.
“I wanted the gooseneck-style trailer as well as the engine guard in the rear, so between the two the trailer is 58 feet from end to end,” said Kilgore, who has owned V-bottoms from the likes of Baja Marine and Fountain Powerboats. “I also added a step ladder on the left side for access to the bow. I can’t tell you much about the technology, but I was there when they scanned the boat, so I know that it’s sophisticated. All I know is the trailer fits perfect and it only took four weeks to build. You can’t beat that.”
Dan Davies got the second trailer Broward built using the new technology to go with his new MTI-V 42 center console from Marine Technology Inc. in Missouri.
“I’ve had some nice trailers over the years but nothing compares to this one from Broward — I’m super happy with it,” said Davies, an Illinois performance boater who raced offshore boats for many years. “I’m a trailer guy — I appreciate trailers because I’m in the equipment business and I understand how important trailers are and how much we rely on them. I’ve always treated my boat trailers the same way and routinely keep up with the maintenance and parts. The last thing we wanted while hauling the raceboat to Key West was to have a trailer issue slow us down.”
Davies said he was familiar with Broward and knew its pedigree with commercial trailers so he decided to give Nall a call after seeing a 45-foot Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats center console sitting on a Broward.
“I wanted a few more custom features and I figured Broward could handle it,” Davies said. “Then I found out they had a scanning device to get the fit just perfect and that’s all I needed to hear. Not only does the boat sit perfectly on the trailer — there are no gaps anywhere — the fit and finish of the trailer is phenomenal. This is a big boat to haul down the road so it’s very important to have a trailer that fits it and offers protection all the way around the outboards.”
The little details throughout — such as how the wide load sign is displayed and the way that the aluminum trailer and steel gooseneck is integrated together — make the trailer “real trick,” according to Davies.
“The trailer is exactly what I wanted,” he concluded. “When my guy showed up at MTI to pick up the boat, he said they told him it was the best-fitting trailer they’ve seen for one of their 42s.”
Already quite busy when you include Broward’s transport trailer business, Nall said he expects the new technology to lead to more demand for his company’s custom boat trailers. That’s a good thing, no doubt, but he’s most pleased by the steps his team has taken to build the best trailers possible.
Photos courtesy Jim Nall
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.