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Shipping A Boat Across Country

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Shipping A Boat Across Country
Shipping A Boat Across Country

How to Ship A Boat Across Country?

When shipping a boat across country, you can either decide to use road or sea transport. If you’re transporting the boat to a landlocked country, using the road is your number one option because it’s the least expensive. Transporting it by air is not an option if you’re on a tight budget. For either method, it’s the distance of travel, the size, and weight of the boat that determine pricing.

When shipping your boat across the country, there are five steps which must all take place for your boat to arrive its destination. To help you prepare and avoid unnecessary delays, have a look at the five steps your boat will need to go through.

Origin handling

Origin handling entails all the inspection and physical handling of the boat from the point the transporter receives it until the point of loading it onto a ship. There are many steps carried out under origin handling. In short, when the transporters receive the boat, they inspect it, then move it to the port and to the next step which is…

Loading it onto the ship

There are two commonly used methods of loading the boat onto the ship: Roll on Roll off and Containerization. Each method has its advantages and downsides and choosing either largely depends on the size of your boat and how much you’re willing to spend.

If you choose Roll On, Roll Off or RORO here are the pros and cons


  • The boat will undergo minimal handling thus less chances of damage.
  • There is no forklifting, and no trying to wedge the boat into a confined space.
  • All quarantine inspections can be done at the port.
  • Boat is transported in a secure weather-hold.
  • Larger boats in cradles are towed and secured to trailers.


  • Since this method is charged in total volume (including the cradle) It’s more expensive.
  • You are not allowed to load personal effects inside the boat
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  • To reduce cost, you can load many small boats in one container.
  • You can load any other items in the free space in the container.
  • Charges are per container irrespective of how many boats you load inside. This makes containerization cheaper.


  • The door opening limits the boat size, which means you can only use this method when shipping small sized boats.
  • In many cases, trailers are often too wide to fit through the door opening of the container. So, either the transporter removes the boats from the trailer and cradles it inside the container or removes the axles (in some cases cuts them off).
  • Damage occurs when trying to fit a large boat in the container. To make a large boat fit in a container requires many compromises thus the likelihood of damage.

Import customs clearance

Ideally, when shipping a boat across country, import customs clearance begins before the boat arrives at its destination country. While export customs clearance involves developing a declaration that enables authorities to register and levy any customs duty on the boat, imports customs clearance involves completing the appropriate entry form and lodging it with the customs. All boats must clear in at a designated port of entry, and all the proper clearance formalities must be completed.

Destination handling

Destination handling happens before the boat can be released to the owner. This step includes the transfer of the boat from the ship to the shore and then from the port to the owner. Destination handling also includes unstuffing the boat and reassembling all the detached parts.  The charges here can cover a wide range of services, e.g., unloading, inspection, weighing, and reassemble services. It’s also at this point that the owner has to confirm that the boat as arrived the destination undamaged.

Boat haulage

The last step of the transportation process is the actual delivery of the boat to the importer. Boat haulage can either be done by the shipping company or a local transportation company appointed by the importer. Typically, import haulage involves transporting the boat to a particular address given by the importer. However, the charges here do not cover unloading. If the boat needs to be transported by road, the transporter must shrink wrap the boat to protect it from damage. When choosing a transporter, it makes sense to use one who can take care of import haulage

Although shipping a boat across country involves many steps, we are here to hold your hand along the way.

If you have any inquiries on how to ship your boat across country, feel free contacting us.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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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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