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See Article— USA Today

Differences Of Shipping A Boat Vs. Shipping A Car

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. The preparation process
  2. Shipping costs
  3. Shipping restrictions
  4. Transporting salvage vehicles
  5. Shipping services
  6. Cars
  7. Boats
  8. Special transportation arrangements
  9. Cars
  10. Boats
Best boat and car shipping service

If you have previously bought either a boat or a car, you may be wondering whether the processes are similar. In this article, we look at the differences between transporting a boat and a car.

In general, shipping both cars and boats requires a documentation process. However, there are certain procedures that differ. These are the preparation processes, shipping methods, restrictions, and costs.

The preparation process

Most of the preparations for both boats and cars are similar except for;

  1. While a boat should have all the fuel and water tanks drained, a car can have its gas tank at not more than a ¼ tank full.
  2. A boat requires winterization when transported during winter months. A car does not.
  3. You will need to measure your boat size before shipping it. On the other hand, for cars, all that is considered is the manufacturer’s specifications.
Boat shipping costs

Shipping costs

When considering the shipping costs, distance is the most important factor for a car. For a boat, the shipping costs largely depend on the vessel’s size.

To estimate the shipping costs of a car, most companies provide an estimate depending on the type of car, delivery options, vehicle manufacturer, shipping route, and destination. On the other hand, estimating the shipping costs of a boat depends on several factors. Hauling companies require that you provide details of the boat size, place of origin, route, and location for a cost estimate.

Shipping restrictions

Depending on the size of the boat, certain restrictions may apply. Oversized boats may not be transported at night and may need special permits. Contrary, transporting cars is much easier with no restrictions on sizes.

Routing for cars is determined by you or your company based on preferences. Although you may choose your preferred routes, boat specifications may override your choice.

To reduce the height of a boat, you may consider dismantling certain attachments. In contrast, a car is transported without any alterations.

Transporting salvage vehicles

You can ship a salvage boat or a salvage car at a premium cost. Normally, a boat will attract a higher cost than a car.

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Boat shipping services

Shipping services

Due to their sizes, cars and boats have different shipping options.


  1. Open air transport service is where several cars are shipped in a multi-carrier.
  2. The enclosed transport provides cover for cars during transport. The cover can be soft-sided where a canvas or a vinyl is placed over the vehicles. A hard-sided cover can also be used where the car is completely enclosed.
  3. The terminal to terminal shipping options requires a client to take their car to and from a terminal.
  4. Cars can also use the door to door services. Here, the transport company takes cars to the owner. It is a much faster option but it is also more expensive than the alternatives.


  1. Shrink wrapping is where a boat is covered to protect it from salt damage.
  2. Overland transport services allow you to transport a boat from an inland location to a shipping port.
  3. International yacht services deliver boats outside the United States.
  4. The full service moving involves shipping under special requests of private owners, brokers, or manufacturers.
Car and boat special transportation arrangements

Special transportation arrangements

You may want to choose your preferred shipping method for cars. However, your transport company should advise you on the best shipping arrangement for a boat. Here are some options you may receive from your hauling company.


If you have a luxurious car such as an SUV or Mercedes, you may request for special services such as:

  1. Secure fitting of the vehicle using the wall and floor brackets.
  2. Loading and offloading precautions using the hydraulic lift gate.
  3. Enclosed transportation to provide extra protection.
  4. Air freight shipping where your car is shipped by air.
  5. Air ride suspension.


Large boats often require different shipping options from normal-sized boats. Here are some options;

  1. Delivery captain: Here, a professional sailor delivers your boat by cruising in it. Although you have to deal with the wear and tear, a reliable yacht captain will deliver your large boat safely.
  2. Flat rack: a large boat may require a custom made cradle. This special cradle is shipped together with the boat.

As you can see, there are quite some glaring differences between shipping a car and a boat. If you have a good transporting company, however, either process should be easy.

Boat shipping service
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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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