The Truth About Shipping a Boat – Is It Really Expensive?

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated April 17, 2024

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Shipping a boat can be prohibitively costly.

Boat shipping can be an essential part of boat ownership, whether you’re moving your boat to a new location, transporting it for repairs, or shipping it to a new owner. But many people wonder, is shipping a boat expensive? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, as the cost of boat transport varies depending on many factors.

In this article, we’ll explore the truth about boat transport and help you understand how to get the most for your money while protecting your valuable investment.

The Cost of Boat Shipping

The cost of boat transport is determined by many different factors. Let’s take a look at them below.


A small boat will cost less than transporting a larger boat. The weight, width and length are all factored in to determine the cost. The other part of the cost is the boat transport trailer — the more expensive trailer will increase the cost of boat shipping.


Boat shipping costs are determined per mile, which means that a larger distance will increase the overall cost of your boat shipping.


If the destination is remote and hard to get to, then it will cost more. If the port that you are putting the boat in has costly fees, then this will increase the cost more, as well.


The summer months will end up being more expensive. The spring and autumn months are usually the cheapest. The winter months end up being more expensive because of the weather conditions that could impact transport.

Mode of Transport

One of the most significant factors in the cost of boat transport is the method you end up choosing. Boats can be moved by land or by water, and each method has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them.

Flatbed Boat Trailer Transport

This method involves loading your boat onto a flatbed trailer, which is then hauled by a truck or other vehicle to the destination. Flatbed trailer transport is typically the most cost-effective option for boats that are less than 30 feet in length.

Enclosed Transport

An enclosed transport trailer is a more secure option for transporting your boat, as the trailer is fully enclosed and provides protection from the weather and other elements. Enclosed transport is typically more expensive than flatbed trailer transport, but it’s a good option if you have a valuable or delicate boat (like yacht transport).

Water Transport

Water transport involves shipping your boat on a barge or other watercraft to move it to its destination. This usually is used for boats that are too large to be transported over land or are located in areas that are difficult to reach by land.

Roll-On, Roll-Off Transport

Roll-on, roll-off transport involves driving the boat onto a trailer, which is then lifted onto a transport vehicle. This method is typically used for boats that are too large to be transported by flatbed trailer.

Tips for Saving Money on Boat Transport

Boat transportation can be expensive, but there are ways to save money and get the best value for your shipping needs. Here are some tips for saving money on boat transport:

Compare Rates

By getting quotes from different boat shipping companies, you can find the best rates and get the most value for your money.

Be Flexible

If you’re able to be flexible with your schedule, you can often save money on boat transport by booking during slower periods.

Opt for Overland Transport

Water transport can be significantly more expensive than overland transport, so if possible, choose overland transport to save money.

Consider Sharing a Transport

If you’re transporting your boat a shorter distance, consider sharing the shipping costs with another boat owner.

Choose a Reputable Transport Service

Make sure you’re working with a trustworthy and experienced boat transport company. Don’t be tempted to sacrifice quality for a lower price. The safety and security of your boat should be the top priority.

Bottom Line

When it comes to boat delivery, there are many factors that impact the overall cost. However, with a little research and care, you can get the best value for your shipping needs. At the same time, you will ensure the safety and security of your boat. By following these tips, you can make the most of your boat transport experience and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a job well done.