How to Prepare Your Boat for Transport?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated July 1, 2024

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A white boat on a trailer

If you need to transport your boat, no matter if it’s just from the lake to your home, preparing to put your boat on a trailer and then on the road requires some careful preparation. This is essential to make sure your boat arrives in one piece. Here are the various steps you need to take to prepare your boat for transport and some tips on choosing a boat transporter.

DIY or Choosing a Boat Transporter?

If you own a trailer and an appropriate vehicle, this question is a no-brainer. But if you need to move your boat long-distance or don’t have a proper trailer or towing transport, you may need to consider paying a professional. Professional boat transporters can move your boat anywhere you want quickly and safely. Yet they do come at a cost. At the end of the article, we go into more detail about finding a good deal. But let’s start by thinking about how to prepare your boat once it’s on the trailer.

1. Remove unrestrained items

Remove all personal items from the boat, such as fishing gear or diving equipment. Then secure anything else with straps, such as rubber matting.

2. Protect and remove navigation equipment

You should remove or lower the antennas and radio equipment on the boat. If you need to remove them, store them in soft cloth, paying particular attention to the fittings, which can be damaged easily. If you have built-in radios or entertainment systems, you should cover them well to protect them from dirt and dust. This also increases the security of your expensive equipment.

3. Remove fuel and secure outboard motors

Whether you have an inboard or outboard motor, it’s better to travel with as little fuel as possible. This helps to reduce any incidents of fire or contribute to a spill in the case of an accident. You should drain the tanks at a secure fuel safe area at a port or petrol station and store this excess fuel safety in official fuel-safe canisters. If you have an outboard motor, use a motor lock to secure it in place for the journey. This not only protects it from unnecessary movement and reduces the risk of theft.
If you have an inboard motor, you may want to ensure the propellers are also secured or locked off.

4. Consider a cover

Depending on how far you need to go, a tight-fitting canvas cover is an excellent way to protect your boat during transport. Not only does it protect the boat from inclement weather, but it also assists to protect the boat from dust and debris of the journey.
You can buy a boat cover from the but manufacturer or through a third party. A third-party seller can either find a generic cover that fits your vessel or customize one with clips or straps to secure it. If you need to ever store your boat for a period of time, a tight, well-fitting cover is a must.

Covered boats at the seaport

Cost of Hiring a Transportation Company to Ship a Boat

If you need to hire a professional to move your boat, it’s essential to understand that the total cost will fluctuate depending on the size of the boat and the distance that the boat needs to be hauled. The bigger the boat and the longer the distance – the higher the cost. But it’s essential to consider a transporter’s reputation, availability, flexibility, and equipment before making your decision.

Choosing a transporter

As with any type of service, it pays to get several quotes before making a decision. The way that a quote is generated will differ from company to company – this may also influence your decision-making. One good tip to remember is that offseason transportation will likely be significantly lower than in the middle of summer.

Shipping a boat with CitizenShipper gives you the ease of accessing various experienced boat transporters. CitizenShipper is a shipping marketplace. It works by matching drivers and transport companies with individuals who need boats or anything else for that matter moved. To get started, you just fill in the details of your trip online. The basics required include starting point and final destination, the size and type of your boat, and other specifics such as if it has its own trailer or cover. Then, you only need to choose the pickup and delivery date and wait for the quotes from drivers to start arriving.

CitizenShipper has plenty of trustworthy boat transporters to choose from. Once you receive quotes, you can review them based on the driver’s experience, their equipment, and reviews left by previous customers.

First, make sure they have the right equipment for the job. This is where knowing exactly how heavy your boat is will be important. The drover must ensure they have adequate towing power. Secondly, check they have the experience you feel is necessary for the job. Driving with a boat is different from driving with a regular trailer; you must be conscious of crosswinds and the extra length. Feel free to ask if they have taken similar trips before or what the other driving history is.

You can then speak to them about the details of the journey, any other factors you need to consider to prepare your boat for transport, and more information such as the best route and timing for the trip.

Final Things to Consider 

Although insurance is not required in all states, it’s always better to be cautious. Check with your existing insurance agent whether your current policy also covers transport.
Good luck with preparing and shipping your boat.