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How To Measure Your Boat

What's in this article?
  1. The Overall Boat Length
  2. So Why Is Loa Important?
  3. The Overall Height
  4. The Beam
The Overall Boat Length

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 Beam

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 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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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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