If you’re a boat owner in Florida and you’re moving cross country to California, you may be wondering how you can get your boat from your current home to your new place of residence. How does shipping a boat work? How much does it cost to ship a boat? Find out now in this guide from A-1 Auto Transport.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Boat From Florida To California?
For long-distance boat shipping, the cost of boat transportation is usually about $1.50 per mile for vessels under 9’. The larger the vessel, the more it will cost to ship. Vessels over 12’ may cost as much as $3.75 per mile to ship. The cost to ship a boat from Florida to California may be around $3,000 to $4,000 on the low end, or as much as $10,000+ on the high end.
This is only a rule of thumb. Some boats and boat transportation companies may charge less than this – but shipping a boat is usually a pricey proposition, since it requires specialized knowledge and equipment.
The size of the boat and the distance it travels are the biggest factors when determining how much it costs to ship a boat from Florida to California, but there are a few other things that may also affect the cost of shipping.
- Required delivery date – If you need your boat to be delivered by a certain date or in a rush, you will have to pay more than you would if your delivery date was more flexible, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead to avoid rush shipping.
- Oversize load – Vessels that are over 102 inches wide and more than 12 feet high may count as an oversize load, requiring more permits from federal and local authorities while they’re shipped
- Time of year – Boat shipping is typically more common in the summer months, when demand is higher due to boat shows and other such events. You may need to pay a higher rate when demand is higher.
- Insurance – By federal law, trucking companies that ship boats must have at least $100,000 of cargo insurance, but many boats are worth more than this, so you may need to take out an additional insurance policy to cover the full value of your vessel.
How Does Boat Shipping Work? Understanding The Basics
If you’re shipping a boat from Florida to California, your boat will likely be shipped by truck. The process is quite simple to understand. Your boat will be picked up from the marina, loaded onto a truck, driven to your destination marina, and unloaded, completing the job.
It’s sometimes possible to haul smaller vehicles using a pickup truck, but for large vessels that are heavy and bulky, a semi-truck can be used, along with a specialized boat trailer that will keep your vessel safe and secure during the transportation process.
In most cases, your vessel will be loaded directly from the marina where it’s being stored, and sent directly to a destination marina. However, smaller boats can sometimes be picked up from residential areas and delivered to residential areas – this typically incurs an additional cost.
It will usually take anywhere from 3-7 days to ship your boat cross country from Florida to California. This partially depends on your budget, and whether or not the shipping company will be hauling and delivering multiple vessels using the same truck.
How Should I Prepare My Boat For Shipping From Florida To California?
To prepare your boat for shipping, you should drain all fuel and water tanks, stow and secure loose gear, disconnect batteries, remove valuable electronics, remove hull protrusions, and apply a boat cover to keep it protected.
Typically, boat owners are responsible for preparing their vessels for shipment, and boat shipping companies are not liable for any damage caused to the vessel by improper preparation for shipping.
- Drain fuel and water tanks – Fuel and water add unnecessary weight to your boat during transit. Water tanks should be completely drained. Fuel may need to be drained entirely, or to about ¼ or ⅛ of a tank, depending on your shipping provider.
- Secure and stow loose gear – Life jackets, fishing equipment, and any other gear you have in your boat should be securely stored in latching containers, or removed entirely from the vessel if it’s not possible to secure them.
- Latch and tape cabin windows – This will help prevent leaks and window damage, providing you with peace of mind while your vessel is shipped.
- Disconnect batteries – Disconnect marine batteries from their terminals, and ensure they are tightly attached and secured in their enclosures to prevent damage while the vessel is being moved.
- Remove valuable electronics – GPS units, fish finders, radar equipment, radio gear, and all other valuable electronics should be removed from your vessel, both to minimize the risk of theft and of damage during transit.
- Remove any protrusions from the hull – Any element that juts out or protrudes from the hull or the deck, such as an antenna, must be removed to minimize the risk of damage.
- Apply a boat cover – A boat cover helps protect your vessel from the elements, and reduces the risk of scratches and damage.
As a final step, you should go through your vessel and take a video and pictures of every part of it – this will help you identify any potential damage done to it during transit, and seek appropriate compensation, if applicable.
Is A Truck The Best Way To Ship A Boat From Florida To California?
Yes. Rail transport is rarely used for shipping boats, and it is not usually cost-effective to ship a boat using an ocean-going cargo ship unless it’s extremely large and heavy. Yachts, for example, may be shipped using a RoRo (Roll On, Roll Off) or LoLo (Lift On/Off) cargo ships. However, it will usually take at least several weeks for your boat to be delivered.
Most boat transport companies will offer multiple methods of shipping, so they can help you explore your options for shipping your boat in further detail. In general, though, shipping your vessel via a truck and a trailer is the best option unless it’s far too large and bulky to be safely transported on public roads.
Need Help Finding A Boat Transportation Company? A-1 Auto Transport Can Help!
At A-1 Auto Transport, we don't just specialize in transporting cars – our network of logistics providers can help with boat transportation, as well. Thanks to our licensed, bonded, and insured boat carriers near you, it’s easy to find the services you need to ship your boat safely and securely.
So if you need to ship a boat from Florida to California, we’re here to help. Get started by contacting us online or giving us a call at (800) 452-2880.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.