Boat Hauling Rates: How to Ship a Boat Safely?

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated July 1, 2024

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You have just made your cherished dream come true and bought a boat. Now you need to ship it safely to your desired location, and there are a few things to keep in mind before you do it. First of all, you need to make sure you document your vessel with the United States Coast Guard. Even though only some states require boat insurance, it is still advised to get a policy for peace of mind. Yearly boat insurance ranges from $250 to $500. However, several factors can impact your boat insurance rates, such as the specifications of your boat, the country’s region, and even your gender and age!

If your boat did not come with a trailer, you might have to consider buying one. There are several points to consider when purchasing a trailer, such as your boat’s length and weight, if you will be also storing your boat on your trailer, trailer, and more. Depending on all of these factors, the boat trailer price can go from $600 to over $8000. If this is a bit out of your budget – not to worry! Many shipping companies offer their trailers for the boat haul.

As boat transportation is a complex process, you will want to make sure that you choose a well-respected company to ship your valuable possession. Follow the steps below to ship your boat safely. 

Take Time to Plan

Shipping a boat is a significant logistical and financial investment. To make sure you have the best experience, take the time to plan every aspect of the move, from your preferred dates to your budget, and any other preparation tasks. Allow for plenty of time to research potential shipping companies as well as preparing your vessel for transport. 

The final price will depend on the size of your boat  (the bigger the boat, the greater the price) and it will also depend on the distance. The average price can go from around $1.5 per mile for smaller boats (around 9 feet long) to around $3.5 for larger boats (greater than twelve feet long).

When looking for a reliable shipping company, you need to check if they are licensed. Some companies will verify their licenses upon your request. Also, even though you might have boat insurance, this most probably does not cover boat transportation insurance, so you will need to check with the shipping company what kind of transportation insurance they can provide, and for what price. Perhaps you can consider your boat insurer to collaborate with the shipping company to ensure that everything is covered.

Preparing Your Boat for a Safe Move

 Road boat shipping demands proper preparation from the owner, as the boat transport companies usually do not prepare boats for transport. Nevertheless, some of the companies may go the extra mile by providing you with advice as to how to prepare your boat for a safe move. 

Inside Your Boat

Inspect all the items in the interior cabin carefully, to make sure they are battened down securely. All locker doors and hatches should be well-secured and locked down. Hatches and latches should be secured and sealed with tape. This will prevent the latches from coming open during the transit, and the hatches safeguarded from damage from the wind. Fuel and water tanks should be drained as much as possible. Furthermore, all batteries need to be disconnected and the cables tied. Electronics should be shipped separately if possible, or firmly stored in the cabin.

Outside Your Boat

All the windshields should be removed, and safely packed below. Canvas covers also need to be removed as they can be damaged or fly off during transit. All items on the deck should be securely tied down. Propellers, horns, anchors, outriggers, lights, electronics, or any other items that stick out of the dimensions of your boat need to be removed and securely packed to prevent damage during transport. The bilge should be checked so that there is no water in it during the shipping.  You should fix and tape the cabin windows from the outside. Inspect your boat hull, engine intake strainers, and all possible areas of attachment for Zebra mussels. Boats may be checked for Zebra mussels at weigh and boat check stations; if they are found, it can cause further transportation delays, resulting in additional charges. You should not attach additional items to your boat as this can increase the dimensions and or weight of it.

It is highly advisable that you use shrink wrap to protect your boat from the weather or scraps during the transport. This is also something that you need to consider when thinking about your budget and the time you need to prepare for your boat to be safely shipped.

Deciding on a Moving Company for a Safe Haul

You may want to go for a moving company that provides tracking options. This way you will be able to check at your own convenient time where your boat is or keep track of it all the time, as it may be one of your dearest owning. The shipping company may provide tracking through GPS apps. Good communication with the shipping company is of utmost importance, as they should be willing to answer any of your questions and concerns before you choose to entrust them with your boat. Some moving companies can also offer a trailer for your boat haul, in case you do not have one, and that way you may save some money. For example, when you request a quote for shipping your boat on the shipping marketplace,, you will be asked if you have a trailer. If you don’t, you will be connected to the transporters who can provide a trailer for you. Your quote will be based on the distance of the haul, and the size of your boat. Once the quotes start to come in, which will happen in a matter of minutes, you will also be able to check the reviews of transporters’ previous customers. This way you can choose a shipping company that can be relied on to haul your boat safely. The prices can also be as low as $4000 for a haul of a 20 feet boat from coast to coast.

We wish you the best of luck in transporting your boat