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Here's How to Safely Transport Your Boat on Land

What's in this article?
  1. How Much Does It Cost To Transport A Boat?
  2. Boat Size And Transportation Costs
  3. Different Transportation Methods
  4. Transport Your Boat By Land Yourself
  5. How To Secure Your Boat To Your Car Or Trailer
  6. Types Of Trailers And Trucks To Choose From
  7. A Flatbed Trailer
  8. A Gooseneck Trailer
  9. An Open-Top Trailer
  10. Semi-Trailers
  11. Tractors
  12. Things You Should Look For In A Boat Transport Company
  13. The Reputation Of The Company
  14. Customer Reviews
  15. Recommendations
  16. Federal Regulations
  17. Call The Better Business Bureau
  18. Insurance
  19. Tracking
  20. Conclusion
Here's How to Safely Transport Your Boat on Land

Shipping a boat from one place to another isn't easy. It requires a lot of preparation and planning. But once you start, you'll find it's not nearly as difficult as you thought.

The best way to prepare for the task is to do your research. Start by learning more about how to transport your boat safely. Then, talk to other boat owners who have made similar moves. Finally, ask questions until you feel comfortable with the process.

By following these tips, you'll be able to complete your next big move without any significant mishaps successfully.

Transporting boats on land is an integral part of the boating process. It's not just about moving from one place to another – it's also about protecting your investment. If you have a boat that needs some TLC before being put back into the water, transporting it on land will help you get it ready for action.

Transporting your boat on land is easy if you know how to do it safely. This article will give you the information you need to transport your boat without damaging it or yourself.

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Boat?

The price of shipping a boat varies depending on several different variables. If you live near a port with an established marine transportation industry, you could probably find a local shipper who will help you out for less money than another carrier.

For example, a local shipper might charge around $1,500 to ship a 30-foot sailboat from New York City to California. In contrast, an international carrier, like UPS or FedEx, may charge upwards of $10,000 to do the same.

In addition to the amount charged per pound, the length of the trip matters too. Longer trips generally cost more than shorter ones.

Even if you're using a third party or boat hauler, you can save money by taking care of some of the logistics yourself. You can also look into hiring a professional mover to handle the heavy lifting for you.

Boat Size and Transportation Costs

Your boat measurements are just one part of determining how much it costs to move your vessel. Many factors are involved, including the type of equipment used, the distance traveled, and even whether you want the boat moved inside or outside the United States.

Not only does a longer length typically take up more space on a truck, but it's often indicative of weight, which puts additional stress on the vehicle that's carrying it.

This means a larger boat will, on average, cost more per mile to move. So, if you live in the Midwest, where there are fewer roads and bridges than in California, the cost of transportation will probably be higher.


While the exact cost will vary depending on whom you hire for the job, average prices for boat moving companies based on size look as follows:

  • More than 12 feet long: $2.00 - $4.00/mile
  • Between 8 and 12 feet long: $1.50 - $2.25/mile
  • Less than 8 feet long: $0.70 - $1.20/mile

Different Transportation Methods

There are many different ways to move boats around the world. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, depending on what you want to do.

If you're planning to transport your boat by land, there are a few things to consider. For example, how much space does your boat take up? Will you be able to bring everything along? What about the weather conditions? How long will it take to reach your destination?

When a boat is transported by road, it requires a truck or semi-truck to pull the boat. This is usually done by professionals who specialize in this kind of work. They have special trucks explicitly designed for this purpose. They also have specialized tools and know how to get the most out of their vehicles.

Professional boat shippers ensure that the boat is adequately secured, so it doesn't shift during transit. They also ensure that the boat is protected from damage.

Transport Your Boat by Land Yourself

To transport your boat by land yourself, you can either drive your own car or rent a truck. You will need to load the boat onto the back of the truck and secure it using straps. Make sure that the boat is well balanced and stable before loading it.

When on the road, always make sure to drive at a safe speed. Avoid sudden stops and sharp turns, as these can cause the boat to bounce around.

How to secure your boat to your car or trailer

The best way to secure your boat to a trailer or car is to use tie-downs. Tie-downs come in various sizes and shapes. Some are made of metal, while others are plastic.

Metal tie-downs are stronger and last longer than plastic ones. You can buy these at most hardware or boating store. The type of tie-down you choose will depend on the shape of your boat. Here are a few tips for using tie-downs:

  • Tie-downs should be placed on both sides of the boat. They should be located near the front and rear of the boat. They should be tightened until the boat is securely attached to the trailer or car.
  • Do not place tie-downs directly on top of the boat. Doing so can put too much pressure on the hull and cause cracks.
  • Do not use a rope to secure your boat to the trailer or car because it can slip off easily.
  • Make sure all tie-downs are tight enough to hold the boat firmly in place.
  • Be careful when tying down your boat. Use the proper knots and never cut corners.
  • Some people prefer to use a winch instead of tie-downs. A winch is an electric device that allows you to tighten the ropes used to secure your boat. It works like a hand crank.
  • Some people prefer to use chains instead of tie-downs. Chains are similar to rope, but they are thicker and more durable. They are often used to secure large objects such as trailers and cars.
  • It is important to note that if you plan to tow your boat behind a vehicle, you must first check the laws regarding towing in your area. In some states, you cannot tow a boat without a license.
  • It's not recommended to tow your boat for more than 100 miles.

Types of Trailers and Trucks To Choose From

There are many different types of trailers available. The size, weight, and distance of your journey are all factors to consider when choosing the right motor vehicle to haul your boat.

A flatbed trailer

This is the most common type of trailer. Flatbeds are capable of carrying boats up to 40 feet long. They are suitable for moving small boats. They are easy to maneuver and can carry heavy loads. However, they are not very stable.

A gooseneck trailer

Gooseneck trailers are smaller than fifth-wheel trailers. They are suitable for transporting boats up to 20 feet long. They are easier to handle than flatbed trailers. However, they are less stable than fifth-wheel trailers.


An open-top trailer

Open-top trailers are designed to transport boats perfectly. They have no roof or walls. They are usually used to haul boats over 25 feet long. They are very stable and are ideal for transporting boats with a high center of gravity.


They are made specifically for hauling boats. They are usually used for this purpose because they have large enough beds to carry the boat.

Semi-trailers come in two types: open and enclosed. Open trailers are cheaper and easier to maneuver but lack protection against the elements. Enclosed trailers provide better protection.


A tractor pulls a trailer behind it. Tractors have four wheels, allowing them to travel over rough terrain.

Things You Should Look for in a Boat Transport Company

Shipping a boat across long distances is no easy task. There are many things to consider, including the type of vehicle used, the location where it will be delivered, and how much it will cost.

However, certain aspects affect the overall cost regardless of the chosen vehicle type, including the size and age of the boat being shipped.

If you're planning to ship a larger vessel, you'll want to make sure that the transport company you hire offers a flat rate option. This way, you won't have to worry about additional fees based on the distance traveled.

Aside from looking for good price deals, you should only choose reputable shipping companies when preparing to transport your boat or yacht. In fact, there are several factors to keep in mind when choosing a reliable transport company.

The reputation of the company

First, you should look at the company's reputation, especially if you plan to use a trucking firm. A poor reputation could mean that customers aren't satisfied with the services offered.

Customer reviews

You'll want to check out customer reviews if you're looking for a reputable mover. Some companies post reviews on sites like Yelp, while others use review platforms such as Angie's List or Consumer Affairs. These sites allow customers to give feedback about their experience working with a specific company.

Look for reviews that mention positive aspects of the company, such as promptness or professionalism. Conversely, reviews that include negative comments about the company could indicate a less-than-stellar reputation.


You should ask friends and family members for recommendations. Ask people who they've used before.

Federal regulations

You should always confirm that the company complies with federal regulations, such as those set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Call the Better Business Bureau

While the BBB doesn't provide ratings for individual businesses, it does maintain records of complaints against each organization.

This information is publicly accessible, so you shouldn't have to pay to access it, but you can contact the BBB directly to request copies of complaint reports. This will enable you to see what types of problems organizations have faced over the course of time.

If you're looking for a reputable shipping company, you might want to consider hiring one specializing in transporting the type of boat you want to transport, especially if you are transferring a vintage or homemade boat with sentimental value.

Many local businesses offer this service because they know exactly what they're doing. They've been doing it since the industry began, and they understand the challenges involved in moving boats.

Plus, they're familiar with the process's ins and outs, making it easier to anticipate potential problems and resolve them quickly.



Even though you have boating insurance and your boat is covered under the terms of the policy, there could be exceptions to what you're protected against.

For example, if you don't secure your vessel properly prior to shipping, it could cause damage during transit. This is why you'll want to ensure your boat is insured for shipping and cargo.


Like many boat owners, you might want to track the boat while it's being shipped so you can stay up to date on the progress.

Many carriers offer GPS devices that allow owners to monitor the location of their boats via satellite. These systems typically provide up-to-date information about the vessel's speed, direction, and position.

Some also offer tracking tools that allow users to view live images of the vessel in case you want to keep an extra eye on your boat.


Whether it's recreational boating, fishing trips, or your profession, boat ownership takes a lot of work. Transporting one is even harder. But as you can see, with the right research, recommendations, and support, what started as a difficult task can be made simple.

At A-1 Auto Transport, we can be that support. Contact us now for a quote. We'll take care of everything – all you'll have to think about is what color you plan to paint your boat once it’s shipped to its new home!

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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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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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