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How To Measure Your Boat

How To Measure Your Boat
How To Measure Your Boat

Transportation costs, winterization, storage, and other charges attached to your boat largely depend on its size. Although manufacturers provide boat measurements, it is important to do your own calculations. These measurements are also legally important as you will see in this article.

Although there are several boat parameters to consider here, the three most important ones are the overall boat length, total height, and the beam. Usually, you will only need a tape measure to take these dimensions. However, you might need an adhesive tape or a second person to hold the tape for you.

The overall boat length

The length overall (LOA) is the full length of a vessel from the bow to the transom. This does not include rudders, outboard motors, swim platforms, bowsprits, and other attachments to the vessel. However, for transportation logistics, some companies may want to know the length of the other boat attachments. Ensure all attachments are measured in a raised position.

So why is LOA important?

The cost of transportation: Larger boats take up more space and incur more transportation costs.

Marina accommodation: Marinas charge vessel accommodation partially depending on the boat length. It is only logical then that longer boats will take up more space and, therefore, will be charged more to dock.

Transportation laws: Boats that are oversized may not be allowed on the road during certain periods of the day.

Method of international transportation: Internationally your vessel can be transported using the following methods;

  • Roll-on/Roll-off: with the RORO services, your vessel will be loaded onto a ship efficiently on its cradle. The RORO method is the safest and most affordable way to transport a boat
  • Lift on/Lift off: unlike in the RORO transportation, the lift-on/lift-off (LOLO) method uses a crane to load your vessel onto a ship.
  • Containerized: Your boat can be transported in a container. However, only small-sized boats are suitable for containerized transportation method.
  • Flat rack: For larger boats, a flat rack is used to load the whole vessel.
  • Submersion: Here, the ship is semi-submerged to load a boat.
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The overall height

The overall height of your boat is the distance between the keel and highest part of the vessel. This dimension is important for three reasons:

  • Safety of your boat:  After spending your money on the luxurious vessel, safety is at the top of your mind. A healer carrying a tall boat is at a higher risk of keeling over that than when carrying a shorter boat.
  • Transportation laws: The height of your boat will determine whether it is allowed to be transported on the road during certain hours. Overpasses allow a maximum height of 13’6”. Above this height, you may require over-height permits. You may also need interstate clearance for boats taller than 16 feet.
  • Routing: Some routes such as Northeast have bridges which are lower than the legal height of 13 feet 6 inches. Your hauling company should advise you on the best route to take if your boat is at a risk of hitting a low bridge.
  • The cost of transportation: Transporting companies have different sizes of trailers. If your vessel is higher than their low-boy trailers, special handling costs may apply.

The beam

The beam is simply the width of your vessel. To take the width dimension, measure the length of widest part of your vessel. Usually, near the middle of the vessel is the widest area. As with the overall height and length, the beam of your boat has some implications;

  • Transportation laws: The width of a boat has some implications when it comes to transport logistics. Legally, boats wider than 8’6” are categorized as oversize loads. Many states require that you get a wide-load permit when transporting via road.
  • Insurance policies: Your boat’s and the transportation vehicle’s insurance policies may have limits for wide-loads. In the case of an accident, you must have the oversize permit to make your claim.
  • Together, the three dimensions are used to determine the shape of your vessel and;
  • Performance: The ratio of length to beam indicates how well a vessel performs. A larger length to width ratio shows a high-speed boat since it has less wave resistance.
  • Loading capacity: The loading capacity of a boat is calculated by its length multiplied by its beam. A larger area makes a hull take more weight.

For transportation purposes, ensure that you provide the right measurements to your hauling company. You can also estimate your shipping cost using our Domestic USA and International Shipping Quote Calculator.

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

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my 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.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to 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!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

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.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

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.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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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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