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Boat Shipping: What's the Difference Between International and Domestic Shipping?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. What Is the Difference Between International and Domestic Boat Shipping?
  2. Cost
  3. The Difference in Paperwork
  4. Domestically
  5. What is a bill of lading?
  6. Internationally
  7. What is a commercial invoice?
  8. Conclusion
Boat Shipping: What's the Difference Between International and Domestic Shipping?

When you are looking for the best way to ship your boat, you should take note to be clear on whether you are shipping internationally or domestically, as they are two completely different processes with different prices and methods.

We have compiled the differences here for your clarity.

What Is the Difference Between International and Domestic Boat Shipping?

International boat shipping refers to boats traveling across oceans. If you are moving internationally, you'll want to look into international and domestic boat shipping costs.

Domestic boat shipping refers to boats crossing rivers or lakes. This type of shipping is usually less expensive than international shipping. However, it does require that your points of origin and destination are near a major waterway.

If you plan to move overseas, you might consider getting a quote from multiple companies to compare costs. Once you find one that meets your needs, you can ask about discounts and special offers.

International and domestic boat shipping services are vastly different. Only some transportation companies provide both international and domestic shipments.

Transporting a boat to another country is part of international boat shipping services. When shipping out of the United States, the boat is normally transported overseas by a freight ship.

You can choose from many shipment options, including LO/LO shipping, RO/RO shipping, flat rack, containerized, and submersion. A1's customer service representatives will assist you in determining whether you require assistance.

Some alternatives may be unavailable to you due to the size of the boat or other factors. Furthermore, international shipping entails compliance with foreign import laws, in addition to the difference in transit techniques between international and domestic shipping.


In the United States, domestic shipping can be from state to state or city to city. You will most likely need ground transportation when transporting a boat within the United States.

In this scenario, there are fewer shipping possibilities. Your boat may be secured to a trailer top or inside a huge shipping container, depending on its size.

The domestic shipping techniques used to bring the boat to the port will remain the same; however, the method used to transfer the boat from the port to another country will be different.

For example, you can transport the boat on a flat rack, in a container, or by having it lifted on and off of the ocean vessel.


International shipping is a lot more expensive than domestic shipping, but it also offers advantages that make it worth the extra cost.

For example, if you're planning on selling your boat overseas, then international shipping will be an important factor in determining how much money you'll get for your boat.

If you're looking to buy a used boat from another country, then international shipping can help you save.

The main difference between international and domestic shipping is that international shipping is more expensive than domestic shipping when it comes to all of the paperwork and logistics involved in bringing or sending your boat.

Shipping a boat from one country to another takes work. Many factors can affect your international shipping costs, including where in the world you want to ship your boat, how big your boat is, what type of boat you have, and whether or not you need special permits for your boat.

The Difference in Paperwork

There will also be lots of different in paperwork, whether you ship domestically or internationally.



Most of the time, boats that are transported domestically make their way across the country on a trailer pulled by a truck. Therefore, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the shipping restrictions imposed by each state.

Some states require you to have special licenses to transport your boat through those states, and there are also times of the day and holidays when you may not be allowed to transport your boat, depending on the size of your vessel.

Additionally, to ship your boat, you must have insurance and the appropriate papers, such as a bill of lading.

What is a bill of lading?

In the shipping industry, a bill of lading is a record of the monetary transactions involving the commodities brought on board. It is a legal document that specifies the terms and conditions of an agreement for the carriage of goods between a shipper and a transportation provider.


While much of the paperwork from the boatyard to the dock remains the same, keep in mind that to ship overseas, you will need additional documents, such as a commercial invoice.

What is a commercial invoice?

The procedure of clearing goods for export and import requires the submission of a commercial invoice as one of the required documents. This kind of document is indeed essential for conducting any kind of international trade.

Invoices are sometimes utilized for international currency exchange. In addition, invoices are the documents used by customs officials in the buyer's nation to determine the number of import charges and taxes that must be paid.



By now, you are familiar with the terms international and domestic shipping, and we hope that this article has shed some light on the fundamental differences outside of the obvious.

For example, I'm sure you would be surprised to know that domestic shipping rates are actually higher than international shipping rates over some distances. This means that when you buy items from abroad, you could save money by choosing international shipping instead of domestic shipping.

It's worth looking into which option works better for you.

A-1 Auto Transport is the best option for transporting your boat, car, bike, or other heavy machinery. We have been in business for a long time and can provide you with the greatest service at the best price.

To satisfy your requirements, we provide open and enclosed shipping options and a wide range of support services. In addition, our carrier network covers the nation, allowing us to always discover the most efficient route for your shipment.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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
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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