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How Are Boats Transported Overseas?

Published by Joe Webster.

How Are Boats Transported Overseas?

Boats are a popular way to enjoy the water, but what happens when you want to transport your boat overseas?

Many boat owners face this question when they want to take their boat on vacation or move to a new location.

There are various ways to ship boats overseas, each with benefits and drawbacks.

Let us explain how to use the most common boat transportation systems, so you can decide what suits your needs and budget.

Types of Shipping Methods for Overseas Boat Transport

When transporting boats overseas, you have numerous different shipping options.

The most common methods are:

  1. Flat rack shipping
  2. Container shipping
  3. RoRo shipping
  4. Custom cradle shipping

Each method has advantages and limitations, depending on the boat's size and type.

Let's discuss every one of the following methods in more detail.

how-are-boats-transported-overseas-02.jpg

1) Flat rack shipping

Flat rack shipping is a popular method of shipping boats overseas that offers several benefits, such as:

  • Larger or wider boats
  • Safe and secure
  • Easy loading and unloading

It is primarily suitable for larger or wider boats that exceed the size limitations of standard containers.

With flat rack shipping, the boat is secured on a flat rack, which protects it from the elements during transport.

Benefits of flat rack shipping

One significant advantage of flat rack shipping is that it offers excellent protection for the boat, ensuring safe and secure delivery.

This is especially important for boats with radar towers or other sensitive equipment.

This shipping method is also ideal for loading and unloading larger boats, as the flat rack can be easily maneuvered.

Drawbacks of flat rack shipping

However, there are several drawbacks to flat rack freight to take into account, such as:

  • Expensive
  • Limited availability
  • Cranes are needed

Firstly, it can be expensive compared to other shipping methods, which may not be suitable for every boat owner.

Also, flat rack shipping has limited availability in some areas.

A crane is required to load and unload the flat rack, which can be an additional cost.

The 20-foot and 40-foot flat rack containers can transport boats with greater height or width than a standard container.

Although these containers have no walls or ceilings, they still have height and width limits.

It is essential to carefully measure the boat to determine if it will fit into the dimensions of a 20 to 40-foot flat rack container.

2) Container shipping

Container shipping is a popular and cost-effective method for boat transport, especially for smaller boats.

The process involves:

  • Loading the boat into a shipping container
  • Securing it properly
  • Transporting it by cargo ship

Whenever it involves container shipping for boat transport, accurate preparation is crucial.

The boat must be carefully measured to ensure it fits comfortably within the dimensions of the container.

It's also crucial to properly secure the boat inside the container using custom cradles or other restraining equipment to prevent damage during transport.

There are several container sizes available for boat transport, including 20, 40, and 45-foot containers. But remember that they're subject to size restrictions.

The container's entry and exit procedures onto the cargo ship are a critical stage. For shipping, crane operations must lift and place the container onto the cargo ship. Loading and unloading equipment must be carried out carefully to account for the weight and dimensions of both the container and the boat.

types-of-shipping-methods-for-overseas-boat-transport.jpg

Benefits of container shipping

Some of the significant advantages of container shipping are:

  • Smaller boat transport
  • Reliable
  • Cost-effective
  • Secure transport

Container shipping is reliable, cost-effective, and offers secure boat transport options.

Drawbacks of container shipping

However, the disadvantages include:

  • Size limitations
  • Difficult to secure the boat in the container

Disadvantages include size limitations, which limit the transport of larger vessels.

To prevent damage during transit, preparing and securing the boat within the container is also crucial.

Container shipping can provide a safe and reliable method for transporting smaller boats when properly prepared and secured.

It's important to consider size limitations when deciding on this shipping method, but many boat owners find it a cost-effective and popular option for international delivery.

3) RoRo shipping

Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) shipping is a popular option for boat transport, especially for larger vessels. The process involves loading and securing the boat onto a vessel, which can then be transported by sea.

Benefits of RoRo shipping

This method of transportation provides several advantages to boat owners, such as:

  • No cranes needed for loading and unloading
  • Cost-effective
  • Secure and safe
  • Enclosed
  • Reliable vessels
  • Fast loading and unloading

RoRo shipping is one of the most economical methods for transporting larger boats. It does not require additional crane operations for loading and unloading, reducing vessel transport time and costs.

It is a secure option as the boat is safely loaded onto a ship, secured with restraining straps, and transported in enclosed holds.

RoRo shipping vessels are built to withstand rough sea conditions and offer safe transport to the destination.

Drawbacks of RoRo shipping

However, there are certain drawbacks to RoRo shipping as well:

  • Size limitations
  • Difficult to secure the boat properly

The size and weight of the boat will dictate whether or not it can be transported by RoRo shipping.

The maximum size for transportation is usually around 100 feet, and the process can be time-consuming.

Additionally, it is crucial to consider the difficulty of properly securing the boat onto the RoRo vessel.

The boat must be properly prepared and secured with special straps and chains before being loaded onto the ship, which requires additional time, resources, and expertise.

how-are-boats-transported-overseas-03.jpg

4) Custom cradle shipping

When shipping oversized boats, custom cradle shipping is a popular method professional shipping companies use.

This method involves creating a custom cradle specifically designed to hold the boat securely in place during transit.

The cradle is made to fit the exact dimensions of the boat, ensuring that it won't shift or move during shipping.

Once the cradle is in place, the boat is maneuvered onto a flat rack and secured to the shipping vessel.

The flat rack is a specialized shipping container that lacks sides and a top, making it easy to load and unload larger items. The cradle is strapped to the flat rack to stop it from moving around while in transit.

Furniture or personal possessions should be taken out of the boat. This helps reduce freight costs and ensures the boat stays undamaged during transit.

Custom cradle shipping is a reliable and secure method for extra-large boats.

By creating a custom cradle to hold the boat in place during transit, boat owners can rest assured that their prized possession will arrive safely at their destination.

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Pre-Transport Preparation for Your Boat

To prevent any damage during transit, check whether your vessel is in excellent condition before sending it overseas.

  1. Exterior cleaning and maintenance: thoroughly clean the vessel's exterior to remove any dirt or debris that could damage the boat during transport. This cleaning includes washing the hull, deck, and any other external surfaces that could be susceptible to damage.
  2. Further cleaning and maintenance: remove any accessories that aren't factory-installed, as they could loosen during shipping and cause damage to the interior.
  3. Interior cleaning and maintenance: the interior of the boat also requires attention to ensure that it is clean and free from any items that could cause harm. Specifically, vacuuming the interior and removing all non-factory installed gear should be a priority. This helps to prevent any potential movement of loose items during shipping, reducing the risk of damage to the boat's interior.
  4. Winterizing: it's a recommended step before shipping it overseas. This involves preparing your boat for cold weather conditions and protecting the engines, plumbing, and various systems from potential damage. Winterizing requires flushing out, draining the boat's water systems, and protecting them from freezing by adding antifreeze. Performing this process is critical, particularly if the shipper passes through cold areas.
  5. Shrink-wrapping: this action is also recommended to safeguard your boat during transport. It involves covering the boat in a protective plastic material. This helps protect it from moisture, dust, and other harmful elements that it may encounter during transit. This wrapping also ensures that all loose accessories are securely fastened and cannot cause damage to the boat.
  6. Separating electronics: it is highly advisable to ship any electronic boating items individually to prevent loss during transit. Doing this ensures that these fragile and expensive items remain safe and secure during transport and saves you from the hassle of replacing them.

Remember to take the time to prepare your boat and protect it during transit to guarantee a safe delivery to your desired destination.

how-are-boats-transported-overseas-05.jpg

Boat Shipping Specialist

Boats can be transported overseas in various ways depending on their size and type. You can rely on these methods from container ships to roll-on/roll-off vessels to safely transport boats across international waters.

Proper cleaning, maintenance, winterizing, and shrink-wrapping are all necessary actions to ensure a safe and secure shipment of your boat overseas.

Maintenance checks on the boat's engines, electrical systems, and safety equipment will also help ensure a safe and smooth journey.

You can also rely on A1 Auto Transport to ship your boat, yacht, or other vessels. We take the time to choose the method most efficient for your budget and necessity. So contact us and get a free quote today.

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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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