How Do You Find the Right Company to Haul Your Yacht?

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: May 31, 2023 / Published: January 12, 2021
Two white boats, possibly yachts, docked in the clear blue water.

Many companies offer world-wide relocation services for yacht owners, but it can be hard to find the right one. There is a lot to consider before choosing a yacht shipping company, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are a few key things to pay attention to, which will ensure that you have a smooth and positive yacht moving experience.

Check out the Transport Options

Before you decide how to move your yacht, you should determine which shipping options are available for your case. Usually, your yacht’s size, length, beam, and weight determine the shipping options.

Container vessels: You can transport your yacht over water by loading it on a container vessel. Just as it sounds this requires your boat to go inside a container which is then  moved via truck, train or on another boat. This option is often used for medium-sized yachts but is available for boats between 40 to 80 feet. While this is a good option for overseas shipping, it is considered a risky transport option in the yacht shipping industry. The shipping companies have to give over your yacht into the hands of dock laborers responsible for the loading and unloading of the vessel. This opens the possibility to damage as does the transport period itself. 

Road transport: Yachts can be hauled overland by a tractor-trailer. The price is strongly dependent on the size of your boat. Many yacht road shipping services set a limit on this possibility with a maximum width of 12 feet and a maximum height of 13 feet and 6 inches. But the transport of bigger yachts is possible. The precise full sizes (length, beam, height, and weight) vary enormously between different providers and have to be communicated with each company for each route. 

Find a shipping company that is either an all-rounder or offers the shipping option you need for your yacht size and the route you want to take.

Choosing Between a Yacht Broker or a Yacht Carrier

Yacht shipping companies operate in different ways. Yacht broker companies, mostly the ones found on the internet, function between the client and the shipping vehicle with the driver. They don’t own their transportation ship or trucks but outsource to a company or person who does. This has the advantage that they usually operate with a huge network of carriers and therefore have access to the resources and flexibility to make all kinds of shipping possible quickly. Some broker companies call themselves carriers, and there is an ongoing phenomenon in the industry that they promise a too-low price, which no carrier will cover. Be careful, and background check the companies well. Try and get a recommendation for shipping from a reputable yacht club or boat owner. 

Yacht carriers are people or companies owning and driving ships or trucks. Therefore they are the people who handle your yachts’ transport from the beginning to the end of the shipping. Instead of talking to an intermediary, you are in direct contact with the hauler. This also has the advantage that you don’t have to pay the middleman, but just the carrier itself. Another big plus is that you can speak to the person in charge directly before, during, and after the move. Often carriers are not easy to find because they work with brokers or just on internal industry platforms. 

Therefore, it can be convenient to work with a platform, which operates between these two company structures. CitizenShipper functions as a marketplace that connects clients and huge network carriers all over the country. You can post your yacht’s and route details and carriers will contact you directly with quotes. You get both the advantages of working with a broker and working with a carrier. Another plus – reviews of other clients will provide insight into the quality of the shipment.

Insurance Coverage

Ask your moving company directly which insurance they have to cover all possible incidences during the move. Understand the limits of the insurance by reading through the fine print. For example, there is a separate Cargo Insurance policy required when transporting your yacht aboard an ocean-going vessel. It covers the exposure for loading, discharge, and ocean transit. 

Tip: Before the shipping of your yacht, you should take pictures of it’s interior and exterior, so you have proof if something gets damaged during the transport. If available, we recommend working with a Marine surveyor to make a load and stow survey at the loading port. If your yacht gets damaged, you will have to report it to the Marine Cargo Insurance Policy Underwriter, which takes care of repairing the vessel.

Delivery Times & Cancellation Dates

Most yacht shipping companies will offer a delivery window instead of a date. Sometimes it’s the weather, regulations for highways, or port delays: No matter if they are road shipping or water shipping, many factors can influence the pace. A standard loading window is between 10 to 20 days. The closer the loading date gets, the more precise this window. Ensure that the companies you are considering are clear and communicative about a possible arrival window or date. And although it’s hard to predict the dates, there are strongly unreasonable delays. There have been cases where brokers claimed a one-year delay is normal, so make sure that there is a cancellation date in case of non-performance in your contract when choosing a yacht transportation provider.

We wish you good luck with your hauler research and the shipment of your yacht!