Boat transport by sea is perhaps the most commonly considered option for moving boats across countries. So long as you book your boat with a reputable company that provides experienced personnel for loading your boat, your vessel will be handled with care, and it will arrive at its destination undamaged. Although it’s not entirely impossible for problems to arise, if you’re dealing with an experienced transporter, they most likely have the right insurance cover for your boat. Before you start preparing to move your boat around the world, it’s also imperative that you choose your transporter very carefully.
There are a frauds in the boat transport by sea market that offer fake services. These companies collect up to 100% of the payments without having any knowledge, materials or even a transporter in mind. As soon as the boat owner signs a booking note, the imposters disappear, money gets lost, and the boat gets stuck in the loading port with no space in the marina anymore. And the boat owner starts calculating losses. To avoid frauds, insist on face-to face meetings with the transporter. Preferably visit their offices and insist on seeing their operating licenses.
Price shouldn’t be your only guide in choosing a transporter
As with most things in life, cheap doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality. When transporting your boat, it’s important to pay a little more and have your boat in safe hands. Some transporters also fail to disclose all costs upfront, and the boat owner ends up getting unpleasant surprises when new fees keep coming up. In most instances, most of these people who give you ridiculously low quotes are brokers whose only intention is to lure you in for the sake of business. Later on, when you have already made a financial commitment, you find out that the initial quote is drastically different from the carriers. Whenever you encounter unreasonable low quotes, just know that you’re giving up something in service.
How to tell the actual transporter from the transport broker
With this in mind, it's worth knowing that there is a difference between a boat transport provider and a transport broker. At a first glance, you may think there are many transporters to pick from, however, when you look closely, most of these are actually transportation brokers.
In recent years, many new transport brokerage companies have either rebranded themselves to appear as actual boat transporters. The business model of brokers is usually to book clients and then source an actual carrier, at a profit of course.
The problem with doing this is that, in most cases, the broker, in a bid to get the business, will book the boat at a rate lower than what the actual carrier will accept. The rates are usually below the market prices. Once the actual carrier refuses to accept these booking, the bookings are unfulfilled. The boat owner is left stranded.
How can you avoid brokers and instead deal with the actual transporter?
It’s easy. When looking for boat transport by sea transporter, confirm if you’re speaking to a carrier or a broker. Ask the company to send you contact details for their available agents both at the loading and discharging ports. Unlike a broker, a carrier will have relationships with a vessel agent at each departure and entry port. If they hesitate to provide you this information, it's likely you’re dealing with a broker.
For further evidence, a reputable boat transporter will offer pickup services and handle your boat from the initial loading to the discharge port. You could think of this as buying something straight from the wholesaler rather than from the retailer. When you do away with the middleman, the deal certainly becomes better. When you choose to deal with the actual transporter, you will save money, time and avoid grief and delays.
After identifying a reputable company, you can that can take care of your boat transport by sea, next is to use this list and put a tick on every step completed.
- Preparing the boat for transport: transom straps and bows should be in working order, remove any electronics and secure them, and secure any loose items. There is so much that goes into preparing your boat for transport and if you get stuck doing it, don’t hesitate to call your transporter for guidance.
- Applying for permits
- Confirming the shipping costs
- Going through the transporters insurance cover for boats transportation
- Clearing with customers
- Taking delivery
For more information on how to transport your boat by sea, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to hear from you.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.