Cost to Transport a Boat Using Overland Boat Transportation

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated January 16, 2024

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Cost of transporting a boat on a highway.

Attention boat owners! There’s nothing better than having the feel of the wind in your hair and the sea spray on your face as you glide across the water on your prized vessel. But what happens when you need to transport your boat from one location to another? What’s the cost to transport a boat?

The thought of hauling it on the open road is enough to make even the most seasoned boater break out in a cold sweat. Fear not, because Citizen Shipper is here to take the stress out of boat transportation. From coast to coast, our professional and reliable shipping process will ensure that your boat arrives at its destination safely, securely and in tip-top shape.

So whether you’re moving to a new marina, delivering a boat to a new owner or simply bringing your baby home, sit back and relax as we take you through the shipping process step-by-step. Trust us; this will be a ride you will remember!

What’s the Average Cost of Transporting a Boat

The average cost to transport a boat depends on various factors such as the size and weight of the boat, the distance to be covered, the mode of transportation (road, rail, water or air) and any additional services required.

As a rough estimate, transporting a small boat over a short distance (up to 100 miles) can cost between $1.50 to $3.50 per mile. The cost can range from $4.00 to $7.00 per mile for larger boats or longer distances.

Additional services such as craning, loading, unloading or insurance can add to the overall cost. Obtaining quotes from a shipping company is essential to get the best service and prices for your specific needs.

Cost of Transporting a Boat Via Land Versus Sea

The cost to transport a boat via sea is often cheaper than transporting it via land; this cost can vary depending on the boat size, distance to be covered and the mode of transportation.

Land transportation involves using a trailer or a flatbed truck to move the boat from one location to another. The cost of land transportation depends on the distance to be covered, the size and weight of the boat and any additional services required. 

The average cost of land transportation for a small boat can range from $1.50 to $3.50 per mile, while larger boats can cost $4.00 to $7.00 per mile.

On the other hand, sea transportation involves using a freight carrier to transport the boat on a ship. The cost of sea transportation is generally lower than land transportation, especially for larger boats and longer distances.

Although, sea transportation can take longer and require additional services such as craning and port storage fees. It’s essential to compare the cost and time needed for land and sea transportation to determine the most cost-effective and efficient option for your boat transport needs.

Effect of Boat Size and Weight on Cost

The size and weight of a boat can significantly affect the cost of transportation. The larger and heavier the boat, the more it will cost to transport. Larger and heavier boats require specialized equipment and permits and may require more time and labor to load, unload and transport.

For instance, a small boat may cost $1.50-$3.50 per mile to transport via land, while a larger boat, such as a 30-foot yacht, may cost $4.00 to $7.00 per mile. Similarly, the cost of sea transportation for a smaller boat may be a few thousand dollars, while the cost for a larger boat might be tens of thousands of dollars.

Apart from the size and weight of the boat, the boat’s shape and design can also affect transportation cost. Boats with irregular shapes, such as catamarans or boats with flybridges, may require special handling or oversized permits, which can add to the cost.

The Role of Distance in Determining the Cost of Boat Transportation

Distance is a significant factor in determining the cost of boat transportation. The farther the distance, the higher the transportation cost will be. Transportation companies can factor in additional fuel, labor and equipment maintenance expenses for longer trips.

For example, the cost of transporting a small boat over a short distance (up to 100 miles) can cost anywhere between $1.50 to $3.50 per mile, while transporting the same boat over a longer distance (over 1,000 miles) can cost $4.00 to $7.00 per mile.

Sea transportation costs can also vary depending on the distance traveled. Shipping a boat across the ocean can cost several thousands of dollars, while transporting a boat along the coast or to a nearby island may be more affordable.

It’s essential to consider the distance involved in transporting your boat when obtaining quotes from transportation companies. Some companies may offer discounts for longer distances or have different pricing tiers depending on the distance traveled. 

By considering the distance, you can better estimate the overall cost of boat transportation and make informed decisions about the most cost-effective option for your needs.

The Impact of Fuel Prices on the Cost to Transport a Boat

Fuel prices have a significant impact on the cost of transporting a boat. Transportation companies need to factor in the cost of fuel when calculating their rates and fluctuations in fuel prices can affect the overall cost of transportation.

When fuel prices are high, transporting a boat will also be higher. The company would have to factor in the increased fuel cost and other related expenses, such as maintenance and equipment. In contrast, when fuel prices are low, the cost of transportation may be more affordable.

In addition to the direct impact on transportation costs, fluctuations in fuel prices can also affect other factors that impact the cost of boat transportation, such as the cost of materials and the manufacturing of boats. For example, if fuel prices are high, the cost of raw materials used to manufacture boats, such as fiberglass or resins, may also be higher.

Some transportation companies may have variable rates that adjust with changes in fuel prices, while others may offer fixed rates that remain the same regardless of fuel prices. By understanding the impact of fuel prices on transportation costs, you can better estimate the overall cost of boat transportation and make informed decisions about the most cost-effective option for your needs.

Hiring a Professional Boat Transport Company Versus Doing It Yourself

Deciding between hiring a professional boat transport company and doing it yourself depends on various factors. You should consider the following:

#1. Convenience

Hiring a professional boat transport company is a convenient and safe option, especially for larger boats or long-distance transportation. Professional companies have the necessary equipment and experience to handle boats’ loading, unloading and transportation, ensuring that your boat is transported safely and securely. They also have insurance coverage that can protect your boat in case of any damages during transportation.

Doing the transportation yourself will not be convenient. Aside from the fact that you would have to do the work yourself, you would also bear the effect of any damage. Not to forget that you may lack adequate equipment to transport your boat.

#2. Cost

Hiring a professional boat transport company is expensive and costs can add up quickly, especially for larger boats or longer distances. It’s essential to obtain multiple quotes to compare prices and services.

Doing it yourself is a better alternative, especially for smaller boats or shorter distances. The cost of transporting a boat on your own is considerably less.

#3. Time And Effort

Transporting your boat requires more time and effort, as you will need to obtain the necessary permits, secure equipment and handle the boat’s loading, unloading and transportation. This option also requires a certain level of experience and expertise in handling boats and knowledge of the rules and regulations for boat transportation.

The decision to hire a professional boat transport company or do it yourself depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Ensure you weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that best meets your needs and budget.

The Cost of Insurance for Boat Transportation

Most boat transport companies offer insurance coverage to protect your boat during transportation, but the level of coverage and the cost can vary. Some companies offer basic coverage that only covers damage caused by the transportation company. In contrast, others offer more comprehensive coverage that can protect against various risks, including theft, weather damage and accidents during loading and unloading.

The cost to transport a boat is typically calculated as a percentage of the boat’s value. The percentage can vary depending on the level of coverage required and the risk factors involved. For example, transporting a boat worth $50,000 with basic insurance coverage may cost around $500 to $1,000 in insurance fees, while transporting the same boat with comprehensive coverage may cost around $1,000 to $2,000.

It’s important to carefully review the insurance coverage options the transportation company offers and understand the cost and level of coverage provided. By choosing the appropriate level of insurance coverage, you can ensure that your boat is protected during transportation and minimize the financial risks associated with any potential damages or losses.

Hidden Costs of Boat Transportation To Be Aware Of

There are several hidden costs to transport a boat that you should be aware of to avoid any surprises and ensure that you can budget appropriately for the transportation of your boat. Some of the most common hidden costs include:

#1. Permits and Fees

Depending on the size and weight of your boat, you may need to obtain permits from various agencies to transport it legally. These permits can come with fees that can add up quickly.

#2. Storage Fees

If you need to store your boat before or after transportation, you may need to pay storage fees, which can vary depending on the location and duration of storage.

#3. Preparation Costs

You may need to prepare your boat for transportation, which can include removing accessories, draining fluids and securing loose items. These tasks can require special tools or equipment and may come with additional costs.

#4. Fuel Surcharges

Transportation companies may apply fuel surcharges to account for fluctuations in fuel prices, which can add to the overall cost of transportation.

#5. Access and Delivery Fees

Depending on the location of your boat and the transportation route, you may need to pay additional fees for access and delivery to your pickup or drop-off location.

#6. Insurance Fees

Insurance is an essential aspect of boat transportation and insurance fees can vary depending on the level of coverage required.

It’s important to discuss all potential costs with the transportation company and obtain a detailed quote that outlines all charges associated with the transportation of your boat. By understanding the potential hidden cost of transporting a boat, you can budget appropriately and ensure that you’re getting the best value.

How to get Affordable Boat Transportation

Getting affordable boat transportation requires careful planning and consideration of various factors that can affect the cost. Here are some tips to help you get affordable boat transportation:

#1. Plan Ahead

Booking transportation services in advance can help you get a better price, as last-minute bookings can often be more expensive.

#2. Choose the Right Time of Year

Some transportation companies offer seasonal discounts at different times of the year, so it’s worth considering the best time of year to transport your boat to take advantage of any available discounts.

#3. Consider Multiple Modes of Transportation

Depending on the distance and location of your boat, it may be more cost-effective to transport it by a combination of land and sea rather than by sea or land alone.

#4. Share Transportation Costs

If you know other boat owners who need to transport their boats, you can share the transportation costs by booking a joint shipment.

#5. Opt for Open Transportation

Open transportation involves transporting your boat on an open trailer, which is more affordable than enclosed transportation, which offers more protection but is typically more expensive.


Overland boat transportation is a convenient and cost-effective option for boat owners looking to transport their boats within the United States. The cost of transportation varies depending on factors such as the distance, boat size and the transport company’s fees. 

By choosing a reputable and reliable overland boat transport company, boat owners are assured that their vessels will be transported safely and efficiently. At CitizenShipper, we offer a platform that connects boat owners with qualified and vetted transporters, making it easy to get quotes and select the right transport company for their needs. 

So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step towards shipping your boat today and connect with CitizenShipper to get a quote and start the process.