How to Ship a Powerboat

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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By Ron Watson, Jr.

Powerboats are among the largest, most valuable cargo that can be shipped over the road. If you’re looking at shipping a powerboat, it’s crucial to pick the right driver – especially their credentials, feedback and experience.

Powerboat shipping also requires the right equipment as well as industry-grade block and tackle. Add fuel expenses to the mix and you can expect increased costs to deliver your vessel, although the total amount will be cheaper by going with an online shipper.

There are also laws governing powerboat shipping in many U.S. states, particularly in the Northeast. Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia are just a few states that regulate large vessel shipping to daylight hours on business days, so don’t expect much weekend road time shipping in or out of that corridor.

There are also size limits to consider, according to Patrick Ghirardi, a boat transporter based in Bay St. Louis, Ms.

“Powerboats with a beam of 12 feet or less can travel well on interstates, but when you get close to the water, transport time generally slows down because the roads usually get smaller and you’ll probably pass through areas with traffic controls,” he said. “If a boat is 16 or 20 feet wide, it’s a whole other ballgame. It can be done, but it just takes time, as well as the right permits.”

It may be tempting to think about transporting your powerboat port-to-port in the water instead of overland, but time and vessel fuel costs are to be considered. A general industry standard is that it takes twice the time in the water as it does over the road. Also, weather conditions can keep you in harbor, particularly early in the year.

Here’s a checklist for preparing your powerboat for shipment:


-Disconnect all batteries and electronics

-Drain your main and auxiliary fuel tanks, as well as the generator tank. Also check fuel lines for leaks

-Apply industrial tapes to all hatches and seal all portholes

-For ventilation, wedge open refrigerator door with Styrofoam and secure with tape

-Label boat’s keys with her name and relevant contact information. Keep a separate set of keys.

-Take the time to inspect the boat’s hull once the vessel is on the hauling vehicle, especially if it’s fresh out of the water. This is a good opportunity to check the entire boat.


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