How Can I Ship a Boat Overseas?

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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Finding the Right Boat Hauler;”>You just found the boat of your dreams, but to buy it, you would have to ship it from overseas? You are moving overseas, and you want to take your boat? Whatever reason you have – if you need to send your boat overseas, this article will provide you with all the necessary information about “how-to”! 

Prepare Your Paperwork 

One of the most critical steps to take before shipping your boat overseas is to take care of your paperwork. Make sure that you have all the documents you need in time. Contact foreign embassies in the country to which you are transporting your boat. Here you will get all the information you need about correct registration processes. 

Measure Your Boat

To investigate which shipping option is the best one for you and your boat, you must first measure your vessel. But how? An excellent place to start is to look into the manual if you have it. But it’s always good to measure your boat manually on top. 

You measure the overall length from the bow’s tip in a straight line to the stern center. The height is measured from the base of the keel to the highest non-removable point of the boat. And the overall width is measured from the widest points of the boat (rub rail included).

If your boat is higher than 13’6”, you should talk with experts about specialized transport options. If your ship is over 8’6” vast, you’ll need an oversize load permit for transport. 

>> Read our tips for how to get your boat measurement correctly and easily here.

Options to Ship Your Boat

If you want to ship your boat overseas, there are a few different options for different preferences and boat sizes. 


If you or the former owner have the time and both you and your boat are ready for an overseas journey: You could consider going on a cruise and pilot your ship overseas yourself, possibly with the assistance of a yacht delivery professional. This could save you money, but it’s also a big undertaking and takes a lot of time. 


With the roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) option, your boat is staying on your own or the carrier’s trailer for the whole trip. Your boat will be driven on and off the ship. This option is widespread for overseas boat shipping. The price of this shipping method depends on the overall height and volume of the boat and the trailer – So you should prepare your boat by removing or lowering the booms, antennas, and radar towers.

Enclosed Container

This service is usually more affordable than RO/RO, especially if your boat fits into the standard container size (40’ long, 7’10” high, 7’8” wide). Almost every big shipping vessel carries these containers.  Make sure you ask your carrier about the different container sizes available.


The lift-on/lift-off (LO-LO) option is used regularly for big boats, which don’t fit into a trailer or a container. A crane is used to lift the ship directly from the water. The boat gets secured on the deck of a large vessel. This option is more pricey because of the special equipment needed. 

Flat Rack

Shippers use this option usually for over-sized boats. The boat is in its custom cradle, strapped into a flat rack, and attached safely to the vessel. If you go for this option, we highly recommend you to remove bulky items like arches or the bridge, because it can save you a lot of money.

How to Prepare Your Boat Before the Big Day

Before you give your boat into the hand of a shipper, you should make some preparation steps yourself. 

First, you should secure all the loose gear above and below the deck with tape, rope, or something similar. Loose items can cause damage the boat and transporters, so make sure that everything is securely fixed. You should close and seal all the hatches and fasten and tape the doors and cabin windows securely. Secondly, you should drain all the fuel and water tanks, in case something leaks. You also have to remove any drain plugs to allow water to transit through the drain in the chance of rain. Lastly, you should disconnect all the batteries and secure the cables separately to prevent any ignition accidents or the loss of charge.

We highly recommend you to take pictures of your boat from all angles before you pass it to the shippers for your own insurance policy. Then you have proof of the initial condition of the boat in case it gets damaged. 

Finding the Right Boat Hauler

You don’t ship a boat every day, and sending a boat comes with many specific rules and organizational tasks. It makes a lot of sense to work with a professional hauler, organizing everything from pick-up services up to door-to-door transports. Experts know the ports, international travel restrictions and can help you with the preparation of your boat and its papers. You might especially consider a full-service boat transport if you don’t have a lot of time. There are different kinds of companies you can work with for transporting your boat. Boat transport broker companies are the middleman between interested clients and boat carriers, which own the equipment to do the relocation for you. There is also the possibility to work directly with boat carriers, but often they are not easy to get in contact with.

A marketplace based provider like CitizenShipper can be a great option in between. You can post the information about your boat and the route. Based on your post, available haulers get in contact with you with a price offer. With this possibility, you can negotiate the details of your move directly with the driver. The platform offers you an insight into the experience of previous customers with every provider.  

We wish you good luck with your shipping!