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3 Things You Must Know Before You Ship Your Boat or Yacht

Subscribe July 10, 2014
Boat Shipping

Gondolas in Venice. Water taxis and ferries 'cross the Mersey, like the one on the oldies station. Tugs, houseboats, sailboats. Catamarans and trimarans. Cigarette boats and trawlers. Even paddleboats, kayaks, canoes, and dinghies. Are you feeling the wind in your hair yet? The rocking of the waves?

Sure, all boats are vehicles for getting from Point A to Point B across the water. (And for lounging and basking, of course.)

That doesn't mean all vehicle shippers are prepared to transport your boat.

1. Watercraft require special handling and shipping.

Auto transport companies are not necessarily equipped to haul water vehicles.
As you know, few boats have a flat keel. That means they require a special trailer, not a flat bed.

Most boats don't have wheels so they can't drive themselves on and off of their custom carrier.

Boats must be loaded in the water, which is easy enough if you're hauling a bass boat from one local lake to another. But if you're moving a bigger boat, or one that's not already in the water, you'll need a crane.

Of course, you'll want to give some attention to protecting your valuable possession from the elements during transport. That may mean a wrapping layer or some type of containerized shipping.

Premium vehicle shippers, like DAS, maintain a network of professional, independent contractors for shipping trailered boats behind one-ton pickup trucks. What's more, DAS offers non towable boat transportation with specially designed trailers, and custom racking and bunking, to ensure safe, secure delivery.

2. Shipping the boat, the whole boat, and nothing but the boat.

Have you heard that phrase about worldly belongings in the afterlife?

"You can't take it with you."

As it turns out, the same applies in vehicle shipping.

Your watercraft must be shipped empty, unencumbered by extra freightage. For instance, no life vests, no fishing poles, and no Jolly Roger flags.

On a boat with sleeping berths and a head, this means you must remove everything that didn't come with the boat, like bedding, decor, and cooking and cleaning items stored in cabinets and under seats. Any built-in extras may be allowed, however. That's to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

But, wouldn't it be so much easier to ship the boat with everything in it?
The whole kit and caboodle would be easier, on first blush. Until you weigh in replacement costs, that is. No matter how tightly secured your boat is, if the items inside are loose, they'll bounce and break.

It's just like a bag of potato chips or cereal. Somewhere on the packaging, you'll find the disclaimer that "product may have settled during shipping." That's why everything inside the boat must be packed and shipped separately.

Furthermore, if you're transporting your watercraft internationally, personal belongings stored inside the boat could be viewed as an attempt to circumvent customs and import/export duties.

3. If you can't be there to meet your boat upon arrival at its destination...

… you'll need to appoint a representative who will.

At both ends of the vehicle shipping process, from pick-up to drop-off, whether it's from your own location or the carrier's inland hub or port, you or your designee must be present. At each end, the carrier's representative and yours will inspect the boat thoroughly for dings, dents, scratches, or imperfections.

You will both note any of these "exceptions to the vehicle condition" on the official bill of lading and condition report. In the unlikely event that damage should occur in transport, the bill of lading is the document used to identify transport related damage and determine liability.

For this reason, you can see that it's doubly important that the watercraft be empty and clean. That way, any pre-existing blemishes or flaws, inside and out, will be accounted for and changes will be easy to note and claim.

Now that you have read more about boat and yacht transport, if you're ready to ship yours, click here to get a free custom quote today.


No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal


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