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How to Ship a Boat on a Truck

What's in this article?
  1. Why Is Using A Truck To Transport Your Boat Important?
  2. Important Things To Bear In Mind When Transporting Your Boat
  3. How Do You Prepare Your Boat For Transport On A Truck?
  4. Loading A Boat On A Truck
  5. 1) Positioning The Boat
  6. 2) Hitching The Trailer
  7. 3) Winching The Boat Onto The Trailer
  8. 4) Securing The Boat
  9. 5) Checking The Lights
  10. How To Drive With A Boat In Tow
  11. Plan Your Route
  12. Check Your Tires
  13. Pack Light
  14. Take Breaks
  15. Obey The Law
  16. Unloading A Boat From A Truck
  17. What Are The Dangers Of Transporting Boats By Truck?
  18. How To Find A Transport Company
  19. Wrapping Up
How to Ship a Boat on a Truck

If you have a boat that needs to be transported, you may wonder how to get it onboard a truck. It can seem daunting, especially if you have an oversized boat. But it is pretty easy if you know what to do.

Want to understand everything from preparing to loading and unloading your type of boat? In this article, we will walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can feel confident about shipping your boat.

Why Is Using a Truck to Transport Your Boat Important?

Transporting oversized loads on a truck takes some effort. But there are many reasons why you might need to do it. So here are the top seven reasons to truck your boat to its destination:

  • It is much cheaper than shipping it by boat. The professional crew, maintenance, and fuel costs for a boat are very high, and shipping companies pass these boat transport costs on to their customers. Shipping a boat on a truck is much less expensive.
  • It is faster. Boat shipping companies have to deal with bad weather, tides, and other delays that can cause your boat to arrive late. Trucking companies are less likely to be significantly impacted by weather events.
  • You can track your shipment. When you ship your boat on a truck, you can track its progress and know exactly when it will arrive. This is not possible with boat shipping.
  • Your boat will be safer. Shipping a boat by sea involves many dangers, including storms, pirates, and collisions. These risks are significantly reduced when you ship your boat on a truck.
  • You can ship your boat to more places. Some ports do not allow boats to dock. So you can take your boat to places you could not reach by sea.
  • You can ship your boat in any weather. Boat shipping companies often have to cancel their services during bad weather. However, trucking companies can still operate. That means you can ship your boat, even when it is raining or snowing.
  • You can ship your boat at any time. Boat shipping companies have set schedules, but trucking companies can pick up your boat anytime convenient.

Important Things to Bear in Mind when Transporting Your Boat

You must be well prepared if you're planning to transport your boat. Here are seven things you'll need to keep in mind:

  • The size of your boat: A boat owner must ensure that the truck is big enough to accommodate their prized possession. The last thing you want is to have your boat sticking out and taking up too much space on the road.
  • The types of boat: You'll need to consider the kind of boat you're shipping. For example, if hauling larger sailboats, you'll need to ensure that the mast is adequately secured.
  • The weight of your boat: You must ensure that the truck can support the weight of your boat before proceeding. If it's too heavy, it could damage the truck or cause an accident.
  • The length of your boat: Be sure to measure that the truck is long enough to accommodate your boat. It could be challenging to navigate if it's too long and also harm the boat.
  • The width of your boat: Check that the truck is wide enough to accommodate your boat. If it's too narrow, the boat could get damaged.
  • The maximum height of your boat: You'll need to check that the truck or trailer height is tall enough to accommodate your boat. If it's too short, the mast could get damaged.
  • The number of people: You'll need to ensure enough people to help you load and unload the boat. It could be challenging to get the boat onto and off of the truck if there aren't enough people.
  • Proper insurance: You'll need to ensure that your boat is insured to protect it while it's being shipped. This will safeguard you in case of an accident or the boat being stolen or lost.
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How Do You Prepare Your Boat for Transport on a Truck?

You'll need to do a few things to get your boat ready for the trip if you intend to transfer it on a truck. Here are seven tips to get your boat ready for shipping:

1) Clean your boat thoroughly before transport to protect it from damage during transit and make it easier to clean when you reach your destination.

2) Remove all loose items from the deck and interior of the boat including sails, lines, fenders, cushions, and personal items. During transportation, you don't want anything flying around within the boat.

3) Drain all water from the boat, including that from the bilge, the engine, and the livewell. Draining the water will help reduce the boat's weight and prevent any leaks during transport.

4) Secure all hatches and portlights to keep water and dirt out of the boat while it's being transported.

5) Remove the batteries from the boat to avoid any electrical system damage while being transported to the destination port.

6) Inflate the tires on your boat trailer to the proper pressure to help ensure a smooth ride and prevent any flats.

7) Check the lighting on your trailer. Be sure all the lights are working properly so you can be seen on the road.

Loading a Boat on a Truck

To properly and safely load a boat onto a truck, there are five key steps you need to follow:

1) Positioning the boat

The first step is positioning the boat in front of the trailer perpendicularly. This alignment will ensure that the boat will be centered and level when you back the truck up to hitch the trailer.

2) Hitching the trailer

Next, you'll need to hitch the trailer to the truck. Check the trailer is secured correctly and that all safety chains are in place.

3) Winching the boat onto the trailer

Once the trailer is hitched, you can begin winching the boat onto it. The winch line must fasten to the boat's bow eye. Gradually wind the line once the boat is securely on the trailer.

4) Securing the boat

Now that the boat is on the trailer, it's time to secure it. The boat should be connected at all four corners using straps or rope.

5) Checking the lights

The last step is to check the lights on both the truck and trailer to ensure they are working correctly. After completing that, you are prepared to leave.

Now that you know the steps, loading a boat onto a truck is easy. You won't experience difficulties if you take your time and are cautious.

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How to Drive with a Boat in Tow

There are a few things to consider if you intend to tow a boat behind your truck. Here are five tips to help you ship your boat safely and efficiently:

Plan your route

Before setting out, it's important to do some route surveys and plan for any potential hazards. Take into account the size of your boat and trailer and the weight and length of your rig. It would help if you had accurate dimensions of these parameters.

Check your tires

Verify the condition and amount of tread on your tires. If you're driving on long stretches of highway, it's a good idea to upgrade to heavier-duty tires.

Pack light

Even if you're driving a large truck, you must be careful with oversized loads for your vehicle. Packing light can impact your handling and braking and put unnecessary stress on your engine.

Take breaks

It's crucial to stop driving every few hours while you're towing a boat. Breaks will help you stay refreshed and alert and give you a chance to inspect your boat and trailer.

Obey the law

When you're driving with a boat in tow, be sure to obey all traffic laws. These include keeping to the speed limit, yielding to other vehicles, and using your turn signals.

Adhering to these easy suggestions can guarantee a safe and successful journey when transporting your boat.

Unloading a Boat from a Truck

When the truck reaches its destination, the first thing to do is find a place to park. The trailer's wheels must then be choked. This is crucial because it will stop the trailer from swerving off when you unload the boat. After the wheels have been chocked, you can begin lowering the ramp.

The ramp should be lowered slowly and carefully. If it is lowered too quickly, the boat could slide off of the ramp and onto the ground. Once the ramp is fully lowered, you can begin driving the boat off the trailer.

Driving the boat off the trailer should be done slowly and safely. You do not want to damage the boat or the trailer. Once the boat is off the trailer, you can secure it to the dock or a mooring.

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What Are the Dangers of Transporting Boats by Truck?

Everyone should be aware of a few risks and dangers associated with shipping boats on trucks. Here are the five most important ones:

Damage to the boat: One of the most apparent risks is damage to the boat during transport. Damage can happen if the boat isn't secured properly or if it's not loaded correctly onto the truck.

Theft: Unfortunately, criminals frequently target boats, especially if they are abandoned for extended periods. That is why your boat must be securely fastened.

Accidents: Another risk is that accidents can happen while the boat is transported on the truck. This could involve the truck driver losing control of the vehicle or hitting something, which could cause severe damage to the boat.

Weather: When moving boats on trucks, the weather might also be a consideration. Suppose it's raining or snowing, for example. In that case, it increases the risk of accidents and makes it more difficult to see what's happening around the truck.

Road conditions: Finally, it's important to know the road conditions when shipping larger boats on trucks. If the roads are in bad shape, it can make it more difficult to control the truck and increases the risk of accidents.

You should have insurance coverage to help you deal with boat transportation eventualities.

How to Find a Transport Company

If you aren't shipping the boat yourself, you'll need to find a reputable transport company to do it for you. Here are some pointers for finding a good one:

  • Ask around. Consult contacts who recently shipped boats to see if they may offer any advice.
  • Check online review sites. See what others have said about the different boat transport companies you're considering.
  • Ask for references. A good company should be able to provide you with a list of happy customers.
  • Get quotes from multiple boat transporters. This will enable you to make sure that the price is reasonable.

Take your time searching boat transport companies, and don't be afraid to ask for recommendations on the type of carrier needed. Finding a firm that will give the boat safe transport to its destination should be possible with little research.

Wrapping Up

Shipping a boat on a truck may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. By following these tips and taking your time, you can ensure that your boat arrives safely at its destination.

Want to take the stress out of shipping your boat? At A-1 Auto Transport, we can handle all your boat transportation needs, whether you need to move a boat from California to Spain or Rhode Island to North Carolina.

Contact us to request a quote. We look forward to helping you with all of your boat shipping needs.

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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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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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