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From Port to Port – Land Transport of Your Boat

What's in this article?
  1. Preparing Your Vessel
  2. Self-Towing
  3. Trailer Design
  4. Keep The Top On
  5. Proper Support 
  6. Trust The Professionals
Preparing Your Vessel

There are many reasons that will result in you needing to transport a boat. Perhaps you bought one at a boat show in another state, perhaps you bought manufacturer-direct, or maybe you are moving for work or family and want to bring your prized nautical possession with you.

When it comes to moving a boat, you can do it yourself or you can pay a professional. The size of the boat, the distance you are traveling, and your own personal technical know how and abilities all play a factor into what option is best for you and your ship.

Preparing your Vessel

No matter if you intend to transport your boat over land by towing yourself, or by protecting your investment by hiring a professional transportation company, you will need to prepare your vessel. Prior to transporting your boat, make sure to stow loose items such as chairs and cushions. Also make sure to detach and stow all electronic devices.


If you plan on towing your boat yourself, you should be warry of a few factors. First of all, each state can have their own size restrictions when it comes to towing a boat. For instance, In New York the maximum allowed width of a towed boat is 8-feet, but in North Carolina you can tow a boat that is up to 10-feet wide. So, if you are thinking of towing your boat to its new home yourself, make sure you research the size restrictions for every state you will be crossing through. In general, a boat will be considered an oversized load if it is more than 12-feet high and 102-inches wide.

Auto Transport Is The Most Efficient Way To Proceed

Of course, states do have policies in place for hauling oversized boats, just as they do for any other oversize load. You can be assured that permits are required and there are typically insurance requirements as well. Typically for oversized boats, contracting with a professional vehicle transportation company like A-1 Auto Transport is the most efficient way to proceed. 

Trailer Design

Even if you have a small boat, your own trailer, and plenty of towing experience under your belt, you still may want to think twice about hauling your boat yourself over any kind of long distances. Most light boat trailers are only designed to accommodate short distances to and from the marina. Traveling far distances at prolonged high speeds can lead to the axles overheating. Also, the tires will quickly wear, which can easily lead to a blowout.

If you do intend to tow your boat yourself, before your trip you should inspect the tires and bearings on the trailer. During transport, it is advisable that you stop every 30 minutes of highway driving to let the axles and wheels to cool down. Here’s a tip: if the axle is hot enough that you can’t touch it, then it may be in danger of failing.

Moving A Boat Over Land

Keep the Top On

Chances are that the cover you have for your boat is not designed for interstate travel. Snap on boat covers can easily become detached when a boat is being towed at highway speeds. It is best to invest in a cover specifically engineered for highway speeds. Such covers usually are equipped with straps to fit around the hull. Another alternative is to use shrink wrap to secure your boat. Make sure you use shrink wrap that is designed for highway use.

Proper Support 

Boats are designed to ride the waves, not surf the highways. Moving a boat over land requires that there be support for the hull. Proper support cannot be stressed enough. The support needs to be at specific points along the hull or damage can, and likely will, occur. 

One of the options that a licensed and bonded transportation specialist like A-1 Auto Transport can offer is Roll On, Roll Off Loading. In this type of shipment, your boat is secured to a trailer which is then moved onto the transport as one unit. Upon arrival at the boat’s final destination, the trailer is easily wheeled off. The boat is properly supported by the trailer throughout the entire journey.

Moving It Across Country

Trust the Professionals

There are not a lot of casual boat owners. Most people who invest in a boat are nautical enthusiasts. Most boat owners love their boat. That is why it makes sense to not take any risks in moving it across country

As reflected in Discover Boating’s online “Boat Transportation Guide”, employing a professional transportation company to get your baby from port to port is a piece of mind investment. The ultimate cost for shipping your boat with a professional transportation company is often times far less than you expect. The company will factor in the size of the boat, the distance it is traveling, and the value of the boat (for insurance reasons).

Depending on the transportation company that you use, there are several options for professional shipment of your boat. Common options include:

  • Enclosed Container: With this option, standard sized boats are shipped in a container specifically designed for boat travel. You will want to make sure that the carrier you choose offers multiple sizes of container.
  • Flat Rack – Considered the most ideal option for owners of oversized boats, this option involves a technical team assessing your boat and providing a custom cradle that matches your boat’s dimensions. Once the boat is situated on the cradle, it is strapped on for security.
  • Submersion – With this shipping option, the boat is loaded from in the water and unloaded back into the water at the final destination. This option is considered most convenient for boat owners who live by lakes or along the coastal regions.
  • Overland Transport – This option is tailored to shipping from an inland location to a port with the U.S. or another country.

Transporting a boat across country is not a simple undertaking. Shipping with a profession transportation company is the safest and easiest way to protect your investment during transport. Do your due diligence and research the shipping costs and company reputation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates movers that offer GPS tracking services – which you may want to consider. 

Enclosed Container
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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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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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