Setting up your boat for transport

Shipping & Logistics

A boat is one of the biggest purchases you can make, and you don’t have to limit yourself to buying or selling your boat locally.

Our pros at BoatsForSale.com can help point you in the right direction, identify the right boat transport service at the best rate, help you prepare a boat for shipping, and walk you through what to do when you have a boat shipped to you.

Boy jumping off of bow into water from modern Regal boat in open water at dusk

How To: Ship a Boat

Think of shipping a boat just like when you move and ship a car.

There are transportation companies that specialize in moving boats domestically through inland transportation, and even internationally. Within these companies, there are specialized services for certain types and sizes of boats. And when you search to locate these companies, you often land on brokers, and it gets murky who you’re really talking to.

Skip the hassle.

We can match you up with the best boat transporter, ensure you’ve got the right coverage to protect its passage, and help you measure and prep that boat to be shipped.

Pro Tip

If you prefer to arrange shipping yourself, here’s a pro tip:

Be sure your boat shipping company has an MC (motor carrier) number and a DOT number. You can use this number to confirm that the carrier’s legit, and check out how much insurance they carry to protect your boat during shipment, at the Federal Motor Carry Safety Association (FMCSA).

Let’s get started on the process of arranging your boat transport.

How To: Measure Your Boat for Transport

In order to get the best estimate and ensure the safest transport, providing the best specs to the boat transport company is an essential step.

Measurements may be in the owner’s guide but we also recommend you measure it firsthand.

For standard inland transportation, the legal maximum height is 13 feet 6 inches. If your boat is higher than this, travel is still possible via non-interstates but it will be slower and more expensive. Any boat wider than 8 foot 6 inches requires an oversized load permit, and anything over 12’ needs one of those escorts you see flashing WIDE LOAD signs for doublewides and tiny homes.

Boat Measurements

Length:
Measured from bow tip to center of the stern. Include anything like swim platforms or motor brackets included, as well as the length of the engines in the raised position.

Height:
Measured from the bottom of the keel to the highest part of the boat (don’t include anything that’s removable in this measurement).

Beam:
Full-width measurement at the widest part of the boat, including the rail.

How To: Prepare Your Boat To Be Shipped

Once you’ve arranged for boat pickup, you’ll need to prep it.

Shipping a boat isn’t as easy as a car in this sense. You’re going to have to drain fuel and water tanks and drain plugs, ensure all hatches, latches are locked and loose items stored. Disconnect batteries. Assuming this is going to a new owner, make and send copies of the paperwork. And before you hand the transport service the keys, be sure to take photos of the boat’s interior and exterior and send them to the buyer, so in case anything happens during transit, it’s clear. If you haven’t before listing the boat, you may want to hire a marine surveyor. As much as these companies do a great job protecting your boat during transit, damage is always a possibility.

Things To Consider

Shipping a trailer?

When shipping a boat, you’ll have to consider if you’re shipping the trailer. You might even want to address this before you agree to sell it to someone where you need to ship it because if the trailer’s not the right fit, it could lead to damage during transport, and when you ship using your trailer, you’re fully responsible for any damage that happens along the way due to a misfitting or malfunctioning trailer.

If you’re using the transport’s trailer, this is where your accurate measurements come in. The snuggest fit is the best chance for a seamless trip to your boat’s new owner.

Let’s Get Started

Arrange Your Boat Transport

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