how to transport a boat by vehicle?

how to transport a boat by vehicle?

Most of the people in the USA are very much interested in purchasing their own watercrafts and the numbers of such people are dramatically increasing in the last few years. As per a research report of the year 2017, there were found more than 13 million registered boats in the USA. Moreover, among those few are found that belong to the same owner. So, it can be said that, unlike any other latest model vehicles, having an updated watercraft is also in trend.

Anyone can purchase a boat whether online or offline. But the real problem arises when the boat needs to be transported to its next location. It requires a number of factors and variables to look for transporting a boat safely. Though the process is similar to ship any other vehicle, yet there remain few issues like other vehicles a boat doesn’t have wheels, so it might be a bit difficult for loading and unloading boats. Additionally, you may have to hire a professional  boat transport service  to make your vessel’s shipping secure and cost effective too. If you are planning to transport your boat to a new location, planning and precautions are the must factors to be taken care of. 

Therefore, in this article we will focus on a few predicaments that can be helpful to readers who want to ship their watercraft by a vehicle as well as by road.

But before planning to shift your boat it would be better to research different boat transportation procedures. Compare the pros and cons of each process and select one according to your convenience. There are several different ways of transporting boats. For instance:

  1. Roll on/Roll-off (Ro Ro) boat transportation
  2. Lift on/Lift-off (Lo Lo) boat shipping
  3. Flat Racks boat shipping
  4. Overland boat shipping
  5. Oversea boat shipping
  6. Freight carrier shipping
  7. Air shipping etc.

However, in this article, we will focus on road shipping as well as transportation by vehicles.


  • To transport your vessel safely, the first step is to make it ready for shipping from all possible ways like shutting the windows and exterior doors, locking the interior cabinet doors etc. Tighten up the loosen parts (if any) of the watercraft and cover all the hatches with tape to avoid possible water leakage. 

  • It is important to take an overall measurement of your vessel before transferring it to the next destination as it would help you to choose a suitable vehicle according to the vessel’s dimensions. Determine the complete length including swim platforms, bow pulpits, outboard motor brackets and the outboard motors too. Height is also essential to measure as most of the time the maximum height of the boat exits the limit that is approximately 13 feet 6 inches. So, larger watercraft need bigger and wider transport vehicles to be shipped. Normal height of a regular boat is 8 feet 6 inches. Oversized boats require state permits for transportation. Additionally, the beam of the boat must be measured too as it is the widest part of a boat.

  • Remove all the extra attachments of the boat like Loran Systems, radios, speakers, radar, antennas, compasses etc and make them ship separately. Also detach electric and battery cables too.

  • Eliminate all the possible inflammable elements and fuels from the boat during transportation. Otherwise, it might cause an explosion in case of getting overheated in transit.

  • Remove the hull drain plug in.

  • Protect Plexiglass and plastic windshields under the boat’s deck.

  • Cover your boat with shrink wrap and make sure that the wrapper is made of high quality materials, so that it won’t get damaged because of high wind pressures created by the running vehicle’s motion.

  • Winterize your boat including other weather sensitive devices, toilets, water systems etc. If your boat is wooden, oil it properly to protect it from drying up.

  • Hire a professional shipping company that is legally registered and holding a DOT number and license number. Make sure that the shipper is reliable enough to complete the shipping without any complication. And also provides you proper ‘voyage insurance’ coverage that allows you to reimburse your paid amount in case of any shipping failure. Additionally, ask the transporter to arrange you a vehicle with GPS tracking technology. So that you would be aware of your boat during transportation.

  • Gather all the necessary legal papers, road permits and endorsements, boat passport, boat registration papers to avoid legal issues while shipping.

  • Don’t forget to clean and take detailed pictures of your boat before dismantling it for transport. Keep the records of the previous injuries (if any) and also send the copies to the shippers. Having detailed analysis of your boat may help you identify further damages after receiving the boat.

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