How to Find Boat Haulers Near Me to Safely Ship My Boat

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated April 6, 2023
How to find a boat trailer for my boat using boat haulers.

Boat shipping is a complicated matter. There can be a myriad of reasons why you want to ship your boat. Maybe you’re celebrating your retirement and want to move to sunny California — but your beloved fishing boat Bettie must accompany you. Maybe you want to take your boat from one end of the United States to the other because you want to enjoy that swanky Cape Cod lifestyle. Of course, you may just want to repair your boat and there aren’t any good boat mechanics in your neck of the woods. What do you do? What’s the answer? You need to find boat haulers.

Whatever reason you have to ship your boat, we’ll give you a rundown on how to find boat haulers in your area. Additionally, we’ll offer advice on boat shipping within the United States. 

We’re going to answer the questions that have been gnawing in your brain about what to do with your darling Dahlia. And finally, we’re going to provide you peace of mind that your cherished Miss Jules will arrive in its new home safe and sound.

Benefits of Using a Professional Boat Hauler

There are several methods of boat shipping:

  • The do-it-yourself option where you buy or rent a trailer and haul it yourself.
  • Transporting your boat on its bottom — which is literally just driving the boat via waterways to its destination. 
  • The easiest method by far, though, is using a professional boat hauler. You don’t have to do much, except pay for the haul.

First, let’s take a look at the do-it-yourself method.

Transporting your Boat on a Trailer

If your boat is small enough to be hauled and the distance is short enough that you can easily transport it yourself, then it’s an economical choice. 

  • If you don’t have a trailer or the hauling equipment, you can rent that and get a truck to trailer your boat somewhere else. 
  • If your boat is larger or you don’t have the time to haul it, the best option is hiring a professional boat hauler

Using a Professional Boat Hauler

A professional boat hauling company takes care of almost every aspect of the transport. You need to make sure your boat meets the requirements the Department of Transportation has put in place when it comes to boat shipping.

Your boat must meet these DOT requirements:

  • Cannot exceed 12 feet wide.
  • Unremovable parts must not be taller than 13.5 feet.
  • Make sure the pick-up and drop-off areas have at least 14 feet of overhead clearance.

If your boat meets these requirements, you’re good to go. You’ll pay more for a boat hauler than taking the do-it-yourself approach. However, these experienced professionals understand the ins and outs of the job better than the average boat owner. 

The costs for boat shipping will depend on various factors:

  • The distance of the transport.
  • The size of the boat.
  • The value of the boat, which affects insurance costs.
  • The destination — the more remote, the more boat haulers charge.
  • The timing of the transport — boat haulers charge more in the summer and holidays, which demand is higher. 

Get Quotes from Multiple Boat Haulers in Your Area

So you have decided that you don’t want to do your own boat hauling. It’s smart, really. It can be a major hassle to do it yourself because it involves a lot of variables. You have to take time off work to haul the boat. If you don’t have the equipment, you have to find a place that rents trailers and select the correct one for your particular boat. It’s just easier to hire a professional boat hauler.

Getting quotes from the boat haulers in your area starts with doing research online. Type in “boat shipper” and your city’s name to see what pops up. From there, once you find some, plug in your boat’s information and destination information, and wait until those boat shipping companies send you quotes.

Use an Online Boat Transport Marketplace

If you’ve reviewed your options and the quotes you get from traditional boat shipping companies are too expensive, there is another, better alternative.

Traditional boat shipping companies can be expensive. Using a two-way boat transportation marketplace like CitizenShipper can be just what you were looking for. Why is a boat shipping platform like CitizenShipper better?

  • It’s more affordable than traditional boat shipping companies because transporters compete for your business. 
  • CitizenShipper has a guaranteed booking assurance that offers payment refunds, driver replacement and no hidden fees.
  • It’s easy to compare haulers’ reviews, ratings and prices, so you can make an informed decision when choosing your boat transporter.
  • All transporters pass a stringent background check.

Quotes from CitizenShipper Transporters

The process is really easy, too!

  • Create a shipment listing with your boat’s information. From there, boat haulers using the marketplace will bid on the job.
  • You’ll receive quotes from the haulers — usually within minutes. Once you find one that meets your experience requirements and fits your budget, you can book the transport!
  • Before you book, you can chat directly with the transporter to negotiate costs and provide additional details about your boat.
  • You can arrange for regular updates from the transporter. Some even offer GPS tracking.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boat Hauling Company

When it comes to hiring a boat transport company, it’s important to hire the right one. After all, your dear Lucille means so much to you. There are qualities that you should look for when choosing the best company.

Read Reviews and Testimonials from Previous Customers

  • Do your research and search for positive reviews. 
  • Join Facebook or social media groups related to boats and boat hauling. 
  • Other previous customers can share their experience with specific boat hauling companies you’re considering.

Check the Credentials and Insurance of a Boat Hauler

  • High quality boat transport companies have the appropriate licenses and credentials to ship boats.
  • They’re registered with the Department of Transportation and with the Federal Motor Carrier Authority. 
  • These licensing, credentials and registration should be posted on their websites — if not,  ask them to provide that information.
  • A good transport company should have a strong insurance policy. While accidents are rare, having your boat covered by the required insurance amounts gives you peace of mind that in a worse-case scenario, you’ll be compensated.

Boat Shipping Experience

Boats are delicate vessels that must be taken care of properly, including when it comes to transporting them. 

  • The best boat transportation companies have years of experience hauling boats. 
  • They have a proven track record of successfully providing domestic boat shipping services.

Customized Shipping Solutions Offered by Some Boat Haulers

The best boat haulers will offer customized shipping to their customers. When you use CitizenShipper, you can chat with transporters before booking to make sure every detail is hammered out.

  • You may want to ship your boat during a particular time of year. 
  • Or your boat requires a certain way of being transported. 
  • When customization is possible, it means the boat shipping company cares about its customers and their vessel.

Importance of Communication with Your Boat Hauler

The best boat transportation company has good communication with you throughout the entire process. It’s all about having excellent customer service skills. The beginning is seamless and easy. They give you all the fees and pricing information upfront. During the boat’s journey to its final destination, they give you updates.

When you have communication with your boat hauler, it gives you the peace of mind that everything is fine and that your boat is in the condition it’s supposed to be. Communication is important for both parties involved, the boat shipping company and you.

How to Start Getting Quotes from a Local Boat Hauler in Your Area?

The easiest way to get boat hauling quotes is to contact the boat shipping company with the information of your boat and the destination it should be hauled. Most companies have an online form that makes it easy to get a quote.

Based on several factors — including, but not limited to boat size, value of the boat and its final destination — you should have a quote from the company. Most transporters charge a per-mile rate for boat shipping. 

How to Get Your Boat’s Dimensions?

Know your boat’s measurements, because it’s important information that the hauler needs. Measure your boat for:

  • The width of the boat
  • Length from the bow to the stern
  • The boat’s height — measured from the bottom of the keel to the highest permanent part of the boat

Things To Do Before Boat Shipping

Preparing for boat shipping is time consuming but essential. The preparations you make ensure that your boat arrives safely to its final destination. 


You should have a copy of the bill of lading, your boat title and bill of sale.

Item Removal

Make sure you remove all personal items from the boat before shipping. You should also remove any items that could be damaged during transport. These include: 

  • Antennas
  • Anchors
  • Screens
  • Electronic items
  • Flagpoles
  • Flag masts
  • Outriggers
  • Propellers
  • Cushions or removable furniture
  • Fishing equipment.

Tie Down Loose Items

Make sure you have crossed off doing these items before handing over the keys to the boat shipping company.

  • Keep at least a quarter of a gas tank in the boat.
  • Drain water tanks and secure engines.
  • Lock or tie any hatches, doors and lock or tape windows from the outside.
  • Ensure all water systems and pumps are drained, and everything that is plugged in unplugged.
  • Give a spare set of keys of the interior to the boat shipping company, just in case they need to enter for an emergency.
  • Keep the dinghy or large objects padded and secured to avoid damage and movement during the transport.
  • Clean your boat, and do it with hot water, as required by the Department of Transportation because if you don’t, you will get fined.
  • And finally, winterize your boat by buying a cover for it or shrink wrapping it (to protect it from any dastardly weather conditions).