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Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

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Boat Cradle Shipping

Boat Cradle Shipping
Boat Cradle Shipping

Among the various boat shipping options available at A-1 Auto Transport, boat cradle shipping is one of the most commonly used. It is a cheaper alternative to enclosed containers and Flat racks. In a way, this method mirrors flat rack boat shipping, with a few minor differences in the technicalities.

The background of ship cradles

Ship cradles are rigs that are designed to hold a boat in place in an upright position on dry land. It looks like a boat trailer, only this one is not meant to leave the floor of the dock. Cradles are made up of either stainless steel or hard wood timber. The main reason for this is since they are exclusively used on the harbor on dry docks and in ships for transporting boats, they are exposed to the seashore atmosphere. The salty water and high humid conditions expose the cradles to rust-prone situations. Such material is rust proof.

Traditionally, cradles were meant for holding boats, yachts and even entire ships on dry land in an elevated position when the vessel is undergoing repairs, servicing, and maintenance. The boats are held in place using restraining material like ropes, cables, and wooden chocks. The cradle has small wheels for moving the elevated vessel around the dock. This is where it differs from a boat trailer. The wheels on it are not suitable for long distance travels. In fact, some wheels on specific boat cradles are “rail wheels”. The dock is fitted with train rails that the rail wheels on the cradle move along. The rail wheel fitted cradles are used to handle large yachts and ships while the tire wheel fitted ones are used to support small and middle-sized boats.

The cradle has “resting pads” on each corner of it, onto which the boat is held in place. These resting pads are made of the same material as the entire cradle, but they are covered with rubber so that your boat is not scratched or dented during loading and off-loading.

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How it works

As the boat moving industry advanced and discovered different ways of shipping boats by ocean freight, ship cradles proved to be one way of doing this. Boat Cradle shipping works almost the same way as flat rack, only here, the cradle doesn’t have the walls as seen on the flat rack.  They are used to deliver your boat along an extended dock length that leads to deep waters where the shipping vessels have anchored.

The boat is transported to the harbor on its trailer. Upon reaching the dock, the boat is brought close enough to the cradles. This is because the cradles with rail wheels are restricted to movement in one direction. The rails are designed to allow the cradle support boats transversely or longitudinally. For this reason, the driver drives the boat trailer just next to the cradle. The boat is then secured by straps with hooks onto which a crane uses to lift the boat off from the boat trailer and load it safely onto the boat cradle.

The cradle also has hooks and nooses onto which the straps are secured to ensure that the boat doesn’t fall off or wobble during transportation. From here, the entire cradle moves along the rails (for rail wheels) or the dock (for tire wheels). It delivers the boat to the shipping vessel waiting at the end of the dock.

At this point, depending on whether the dock is the destination or the point of origin, a crane lifts the boat from the cradle directly into the water; “submersion”, or  lifts the entire cradle onto the shipping vessel, respectively.

Special personnel working on the harbor are responsible for doing this. A-1 auto transport has alliances with ports in the U.S and around the world. We always oversee the loading and offloading process, so rest assured your boat is in the safest hands possible. We care for it as if it is ours. The cranes too are inspected regularly as a harbor safety precaution routine.

Safety Precautions

Due to the open nature of the boat cradle shipping, it is advised that you invest in a proper high-quality shrink wrapper. This is to protect your boat from dust and other elements such as possible debris, oil spills, dirt, and damage. Poor quality shrink wrappers tear easily, wasting your cash. Also, torn shrink wrappers are blown by the wind and flap against your boat consistently. This can cause tiny scratches on your boat and especially the windows and wind screen areas.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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We ship to locations in all 50 states and countries across the world.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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