How to find a reliable boat hauling company?

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated March 8, 2023

boat hauling company

You have to transport your boat, but lack the equipment or the expertise for transporting it yourself? In many circumstances working with a boat hauling company is a necessary decision to make, but deciding which one can come with stress and uncertainty. In the jungle of various businesses with their webpages and promises, it’s hard to know who to trust with your precious boat. Rule number one: You should take your time and do your research. But where to start? This article will guide you step-by-step through the process of finding the right boat hauling company.

1. Authorization and certification

First, you should find out about the company’s authorization and certification. In most states of the U.S., there is a set of standard legal requirements for boat hauling companies to run their businesses, which already give you a safe base. A high-quality shipping company is authorized through the Federal DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Authority. There are two ways to get this information: Check their website for the certification or search for the company you have an eye on through the website SAFER to verify the carrier’s MC and DOT license numbers.

2. Insurance

Second, you should find out if the shipping company’s insurance is covering the value of your boat. For this step, you first have to know this value. If you don’t, you could either research the price of similar boats online and offline or contact a professional for an evaluation. Equipped with this knowledge, we advise you to contact your boat hauler, asking them if their insurance covers the full cost of your boat in the case of something happening to it during the move. Before signing the contract, you should be sure to know everything about their policies. Important note: Read the fine print thoroughly because it might hide extra fees or loopholes. Consult with your insurance company with all the details about how and where you transport your boat. Inform yourself about additional insurance possibilities for the transport.

3. Experience

Like in every business, experience is the basis for high-quality services. Ask your potential transporter about how many boats they transported in their professional life and how long they are in the business. More specifically, it’s essential to ask them which experience they have with the kind of boat you want to be transported, mainly if you have an unusual vessel that demands special treatment. When asking these questions, you will get a sense if the haulers know their job and, therefore, if you can trust them with your boat.

4. The right equipment 

Even a well-experienced hauler can’t do their job correctly without the right equipment. Many professionals give a detailed overview of which equipment they own. If you can’t find it, contact them directly, because the right equipment makes the boat transport safe and comfortable. Make sure the hauling company owns the adequate gear for your size and weight of the boat as well as a proper towing vehicle. If your boat needs special care or protection in extreme weather circumstances, it is good to be informed about enclosed transport possibilities. You should ask upfront about the options and limits of the hauling company you are in contact with. If you feel insecure about their trustworthiness or the quality and safety of their equipment, you might consider looking at the equipment’s condition in person before making any decision.

5. A fair price and unambiguous terms of payment

After narrowing down different transport companies through the previous steps, the price and the details of the payment demand your special attention. 

Before making any final decision, you should ask for several quotes from different companies to understand the current market price for boat transports. Having another more reasonable offer can also be a good base for negotiating the price down with other companies. You should also consider working with a marketplace provider like CitizenShipper. You can post the details of your shipment details on the online platform, and available drivers contact you directly with quotes while the marketplace structure keeps the price down.

6. Customer reviews. 

Reviews are an excellent indicator of the quality of service. Before going into the online world, you should ask the boat owners you know and trust, which hauling they worked with, and if there is any company they would recommend in your area. Maybe your local sailing club can also help you with a piece of good advice. The next step is to review the world wide web: You should use multiple sources to read about customer experiences, like Google and Yelp, to ensure you have many perspectives on a provider. Marketplace based providers usually have an internal rating system. If you find any bad reviews, you should read the hauler’s reaction and determine how they dealt with the situation. You can also ask them directly about it. 

7. Can you track your boat?

While this seems like a luxury gadget, this possibility can give you peace of mind during the transport process. Boat haulers, which are reliable and care about their customers’ well-being, often offer online-tracking options or regular updates about the journey of your boat. This is also a great advantage of the chat function of CitizenShipper because it functions as an easy communication tool for regular information by the driver of your choice.

Make your choice

Did you go through all of these steps of research? It’s time to decide! The hauling company of your choice must fit your needs and your boat. You should work with an authorized business, which is experienced, insured, and offers high-quality services in their transportation and customer relation. And in the end, you also have to follow your guts on which company feels right for you individually. 

Are you interested in shipping your boat with CitizenShipper? Simply post the details of your boat today and receive quotes shortly after. 

Good luck with moving your boat!