Transporting a Boat: Time to Batten the Hatches

The first few steps for preparing a boat or yacht for transport are rather simple. Measure the boat’s dimensions (length, height, and width) after taking the time to research whether you want to do the whole thing yourself or work with a transportation service. Crucial information includes the measurements of the boat, what your deadline is, and planning will take into consideration the weather and road conditions; there is also the possibility that your needs to be shipped overseas, and that is especially something you want a broker to help you with. After you figure out the logistics of the move, it is just a matter of preparing the boat for pick up.

There are a variety of sources of information about how to ready your cargo for transport. For now, I will summarize some of the steps and explain a little about why so much research is needed before you even get your boat in transport. If you have a boat that is over 13 feet tall or 102 inches wide, the transporter will need an oversize permit. Additionally, if the load is longer than 70 feet or the vehicle weighs over 80,000 pounds when loaded, an oversize/overweight permit is needed. Every state has their own laws regarding this, and transporters have to get the permits themselves. Extra insurances are up to you, as a carrier will not be liable if the vehicle is unprepared for transport and becomes damaged as a result.

WikiHow’s guide gets into the nitty gritty of what needs to be packed up, which is just about anything not already bolted down, and even some of the things that are, such as radar and other electronics. Pack everything up and ship or secure smaller things like electronics so they do not get damaged or worse, stolen. In some cases you may want to shrink wrap your boat, but it may be better not to, as the wrapping could come loose and start flapping around in the wind, damaging things, as such, ask your transporter what you should do. You also need to check the hull for water pests (such as zebra mussels) or face having your boat seized temporarily until it is decontaminated. Drain water and, if asked, fuel, to the transporter’s standards. Empty is best for all water pipes and this is essential in winter. Once everything is tacked, buttoned, taped, and otherwise secured, you are ready to ship your ship.

Mast poles on sailboats require some special treatment. Cabling and rigging need to be wound up and detachable items like lights need to be removed. There are a few guides to read for more detailed information. If you are transporting a wooden ship, you will want a custom cradle. Transporters may ask for a liability waiver. Oiling the wood will keep it safe and healthy, preventing it from drying out. Remember that different types of boat have different demands for being safely transported. As a client, you have more responsibility than you might think, but there is some pride to be taken in that. Safe shipping and safe travels.

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