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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.