How much does shipping your Boat cost?
Free Instant Online Calculator based on quotes from Trusted Boat Shipping Companies
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

+2 million
of customers
recommend us

How Are Boats Transported?

What's in this article?
  1. Shipping A Boat Overland
  2. Step 1 Assess Your Boat's Readiness For Transport
  3. Step 2 Measure Your Boat
  4. Step 3 Prepare Your Boat For Transport
  5. Step 4 Choose A Professional Boat Transporter
  6. Cost Estimation For Shipping A Boat Overland
  7. Shipping A Boat On Cargo Ships
  8. Booking A Space On A Cargo Ship
  9. Items To Think About
  10. Shipping Using A Cargo Ship
  11. How To Prepare A Boat For Shipping
  12. Step 1 Clean And Inspect The Boat
  13. Step 2 Secure Loose Items
  14. Step 3 Disconnect Batteries And Drain Tanks
  15. Step 4 Use Insulator Wax And Shrink Wrap
  16. Step 5 Take Pictures And Hire A Certified Marine Surveyor
  17. Insurance
  18. Quality Boat Transport
How Are Boats Transported?

Although moving a boat might be complex, individuals who want to travel to new waterways or relocate their boat must learn how to do it.

There are many different boat transport methods, and each technique has benefits and drawbacks.

In this article, we'll explore how boats are transported, from trailering to shipping, and provide tips for choosing the best method for your needs.

Whether you're a recreational boater or a commercial shipper, understanding how boats are transported is crucial to ensuring their safe and efficient delivery.

Shipping a Boat Overland

Boats are not only meant to float on the water; sometimes, boat owners need to transport their boats overland to different locations.

Shipping a boat overland can be tough, but you can accomplish it with proper preparation and guidance.

Read this handy guide for shipping a boat overland.

Step 1: Assess your boat's readiness for transport

Before transporting your boat overland, you need to assess its readiness. Check all the mechanical systems, electrical systems, and any other equipment aboard your boat to ensure everything is in good working condition.

Also, remove all loose items, such as personal items, water tanks, and drain plugs, to prevent damage during transport.

Step 2: Measure your boat

To ensure that your boat complies with transportation restrictions, you need to measure its dimensions. These dimensions will include the typical width, length, and height. Your boat's weight should also be measured.

These dimensions determine the type of trailer and truck you need for transportation.

It will also help you choose the right transporter to handle your boat's size.


Step 3: Prepare your boat for transport

Use sturdy straps to properly fasten your boat to the trailer to get it ready for shipment. The straps should be in a crisscross pattern to apply tension to the boat and ensure it is tightly secured.

But if your boat extends beyond its width and height, you must take extra steps to preclude potential damage.

Step 4: Choose a professional boat transporter

It is essential to hire a professional boat transporter with experience in handling boats of similar size and dimensions as yours. A reputable transporter should also have suitable equipment, insurance coverage, and a good track record.

Therefore, researching and reading reviews can help you choose a suitable transporter for your boat.

Cost estimation for shipping a boat overland

The price of overland boat shipping varies. Size, distance, size, and insurance will affect the price. Naturally, the bigger the boat, the more expensive it will be to ship it.

The overland delivery of a boat may cost between several hundred and several thousand dollars.

Shipping a Boat on Cargo Ships

Traveling boats overseas can be challenging for boat owners due to its complicated nature. This is where cargo ships come into play. They can transport boats of different sizes and types easily.

We'll delve into the process of shipping a boat on cargo ships, including the necessary steps and considerations boat owners should take.

Booking a space on a cargo ship

The first step in shipping a boat on a cargo ship involves contacting a freight forwarding company specializing in handling all the associated paperwork and logistics.

This company will handle everything, from procuring the space on the cargo ship to ensuring that the necessary documentation is in place to clear customs.

Items to think about

There are several things to take into account while transporting a boat or yacht abroad. For example, boat owners should set up transportation arrangements to match the sailing schedule of the cargo ship to avoid unnecessary delays.

Additionally, they should gather all the required documentation, such as certificates of ownership, insurance policies, and tax declarations, to clear customs.

It is also vital to ensure that the boat is adequately prepared for transport, with all loose items secured, water tanks emptied, and drain plugs removed.


Shipping using a cargo ship

Shipping using a freight transport ship can be ideal for big boats and yachts on long journeys or overseas destinations.

It's an effective means of transport, allowing boat owners to move their vessels securely and protect them from weather and environmental hazards.

However, the cost of shipping via cargo transport ship can be higher than other modes of transport, so it's essential to factor this expense into the budget.

Shipping a boat on cargo ships calls for thorough planning and extra care to detail. Boat owners should work with a freight forwarding company to ensure that the necessary paperwork and logistics are handled.

How to Prepare a Boat for Shipping

Going through several steps in the preparation stage means the job is half done. Your boat will arrive in good condition if you follow them. You must do the following to get a boat ready for shipping.

Step 1: Clean and inspect the boat

The first step to preparing a boat for shipping is to clean and inspect it thoroughly. This measure includes removing debris, cleaning the bottom, and ensuring the hull is free of any damage or cracks.

Inspecting the boat before shipping is important to identify any pre-existing damage that may occur during transport.

Step 2: Secure loose items

Next, secure all loose items on the board, including equipment, tools, and accessories. This step is crucial because loose items can move during transport and cause damage to the boat.

Consider removing all removable parts like canvas, seats, and Bimini tops, and keep them in a safe place during shipping.

Step 3: Disconnect batteries and drain tanks

Before shipping, disconnect all batteries and electronics to prevent accidental activation and any resulting damages.

Also, drain all water and fuel tanks beforehand. This step is particularly crucial for international shipping.

Step 4: Use insulator wax and shrink wrap

Consider using insulator wax and shrink wrap to protect your boat during transport further. Insulator wax is a protective coating designed to protect the boat from moisture and corrosion and reduce UV damage.

Shrink wrap is a plastic-based wrap that shrinks tightly around the boat, providing extra protection from external elements and the environment.

Step 5: Take pictures and hire a certified marine surveyor

Taking pictures of the boat before dismantling any parts is crucial. Employing a certified marine surveyor who can inspect the boat extensively and offer peace of mind regarding transport safety is paramount.

This way, you'll have documentation of the boat's condition before shipping.



Transporting a boat involves many potential risks and hazards, including the possibility of theft, collisions, and accidents. As a boat owner, having a comprehensive insurance policy that protects from these risks is worthwhile.

Boat transport companies usually offer insurance policies to their customers. However, thoroughly reviewing the policy and negotiating unfavorable terms will ensure adequate protection.

Consider these key factors when evaluating an insurance policy.

  1. Coverage limits: The policy's coverage limits should be adequate to cover any potential damages-related costs. For example, if your boat is worth thousands of dollars, the insurance policy must cover this value.
  2. Exclusions: Insurance policies often contain a list of exclusions the carrier won't be responsible for if something goes wrong. Study these to understand the risks you're assuming and plan accordingly. For example, if the policy excludes damages incurred during the transport during winter months, you might need to invest in additional protections for your boat.

Having a comprehensive insurance policy is imperative when transporting your boat. Reviewing the policy's coverage limits and exclusions ensures you are well-protected throughout the transport process.

If you plan to transport your boat, consult an expert boat transportation company and thoroughly review the insurance policy they offer.

Quality Boat Transport

You can transport boats in many ways. Whether by trailer, truck, or ship, transporting a boat requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure a safe and successful journey.

By understanding the different methods of boat transportation and working with experienced professionals, boat owners can ensure their vessels arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.

You can trust A1 Auto Transport to transport almost every type of boat to any destination. We have experience in the vehicle shipping business of over 35 years so you can trust our dependability and experience. Get a free quote today.

Share this content on social media
for a chance to get up to 15% off your next shipment.
Copy link

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.

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ 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.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

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!

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... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

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.

Visit our social, and see what our clients are saying about us

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

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
Copyright © 1988-2023, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.