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So you’e looking at boat transport. You’ve been dreaming about exploring the blue waters of the east coast, but you’re stuck all the way on the west. You don’t want to waste time on a journey when you have limited time off work. What’s a sailor to do? Well, you could leave your trusty vessel at home and charter a boat out there, or you could ship your boat to the port from where you want to start your journey. Thus, saving yourself a good couple of days. After all, sailing from Maine to south Florida might take a week, whereas an overland trip would take approximately four days. This gives you another three whole days of fun under the warm Florida sun.

When you don’t have to sail to the Seaway locks destination from where you want to sail, that gives you more days to enjoy the open sea. Chartering a boat is one option, but your boat is already equipped with your own things. You know your boat and you bought it so that you could have the freedom enjoy your voyage your way.

Don’t be restricted by the perceived limitations of a watercraft. Boat transport is not a new service, but it certainly gives you the option to make all your sailing dreams come true.

boat transport
Speak to NAT about your boat transport needs.

Boat Transport Over Land

If you’re thinking about hitching your boat to a tractor trailer and making the trip to a far-off port, think again. This is a cumbersome process, even for experienced, professional boat transport companies that have been doing this for years. The bigger the boat, the more complex the requirements.

Hauling a boat is not as simple as it looks. Instead of using the routes well traveled through the different states, boat transport companies have to zigzag around, using the safest approved routes to deliver your boat safely to port. Many states have restrictions for trucks with oversize loads – such as boats. For instance, when completing a boat transport project, we have to abide by the restrictions that only allow such trips between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays in Connecticut. New York and Massachusetts have similar restrictions and differing schedules.

When requesting boat transport quotes, it’s important to bear these restrictions in mind. Also, be sure to find a boatyard or marina that has a minimum of 14′ clearance for your boat to be loaded.

How much does it cost to transport a large boat?

If you’re thinking about shipping your sailboat, yacht or jet-ski, you might be wondering how much that will cost. It’s hard to give you an exact average, as it would depend on the distance, the size of the boat, route priority and the space on the truck. It would also depend on the type of transportation you opt for. Some smaller crafts can be shipped using auto transport carriers, while others must be shipped on an FTL (full truck load) or abnormal carrier flatbed. A large yacht will probably require a team, special permissions and pilot vehicles. We can arrange all that for you.

Transporting a boat is a bit more complex of a procedure than shipping a car, mainly because a boat is too bit and can’t be driven on land. Therefore, special and complex planning is involved in the procedure.

It might cost upwards of $2.75 per mile to move a 9′ boat over 1,000 miles, while the same distance might be $3.75 per mile or $2,250 to move a 12′ boat the same distance. Be sure to have your boat’s measurements and other details handy when you call for a quote.

Legally, boats transported on interstate roads may not exceed 13’6″ and those over 12′ wide must be accompanied by a certified escort. If your boat is wider than 8’6″, it may not travel on interstate roads, which means it will have to travel on alternative routes. That will likely increase your costs.

The type of boat also plays a role in the cost and type of transport recommended.

Wooden boats should be carried inside their own custom cradle as that will help balance out potential structural weaknesses. You will probably have to sign a release of liability for a wooden boat.

Speed boats and power boats are likely to encounter strong winds during transit. It is important to confirm that your windshield will be able to withstands those conditions. Be sure to tighten any screws and seals on the boat.

Three different options are available for international boat moves, namely enclosed containers, roll-on / roll-off trailers and flat rack and submersion containers.

Boat Transport: 6 Tips for Preparing Your Boat

When it comes to shipping your boat, please take the time to plan well in advance. Our goal is to deliver your boat in the same condition it is in when we pick it up. To do that, we need you to take care of the preparations. Boats are shipped “as is” and we are not responsible for any damage sustained during transit, so it’s up to you, the owner, to ensure it is properly prepared.

#1: Secure Everything

When preparing for boat transport, pretend you’re crossing an ocean and secure everything as well as you can. Avoid leaks and water damage by securing the hatches and cabinet doors with waterproof tape. Shut all the cabin doors and lock your boat’s exterior doors and windows.

#2: Voyage Insurance

Speak to your boat transport company about voyage insurance. Additionally, be sure that you winterize the exterior of your boat if you’re shipping it in winter. Many boat enthusiasts opt for shrink-wrapping, which is a more expensive option, but it will help provide added protection for your boat against dust, dirt, road debris, bird droppings, hail and more.

Importantly, be sure that your boat is clean and maintained up to code. We recommend that you clean the boat using hot water before it is collected. If it is inspected by Department of Transport officers and found to not be up to code, it may be seized and if there is a fine for the transporter, that will also be for your account.

#3: Inspect the Boat

Before the boat transport company collects your vessel, be sure to inspect it for damages. Take photos, and document existing damage. If you have to dismantle parts in order to fit the boat transport size requirements or to prevent damage, take pictures of where they should go and how to set them up.

type or tie any hatches once closed or secured

latch your cabin windows and tape the outside

#4: Remove Personal Belongings and Prohibited Items

Store all the breakables in a safe place and remove any personal belongings from the cabin. Ask the boat transport company for a list of prohibited items and remove those items before the boat is collected. Please remove all of the following.

  • electronics
  • radio transmitters
  • canvas covers and cushions
  • outriggers
  • flagstaffs
  • radar transmitters
  • anchors
  • depth sounders
  • valuables
  • antennae
  • screens
  • propellers

#5: Empty the Tanks

Keep your boat as light as possible by emptying all the water and fuel tanks to no more than one quarter full. Remove any water in the bilge, and remove the drain plugs from the hull. Use a chlorine bleach solution to flush and sanitize your tanks. Also remove drain plugs from the hull and drain all the air conditioners, pumps and water systems.

#6: Disconnect and Power Down

Unplug batteries, power down all systems, and store the cables in such a way that contact is prevented.

Additional preparations apply when you have a sailing yacht, a wooden boat or if your voyage is in winter. You should always keep a set of keys for hatches and doors on you at all times, and have another set of keys handy for the transporter. Ultimately, you should speak to a reputable boat transport company such as Nationwide Auto Transportation about your specific requirements.