Transporting Your Boat


Moving? Here’s how to safely transport your boat
 By Greg Hutchens, CEO Boats Express Corp.

In this highly mobile society, we might have to, at some time, pull up stakes and set up your homestead in some other part of the country. Among your prized possessions is your boat, and here are some valuable tips from Greg Hutchens on transporting your pride and joy.


This boat preparation guide was compiled to assist the boat owner in properly preparing and securing the boat for overland transportation. Please make every effort to prepare the boat according to these guidelines. Oversee the preparation yourself or have a qualified yard do so. The carrier cannot be responsible for damage due to improper preparation or loading by the shipper, for faulty or defective cradles, trailers, chains, binders, or other equipment provided by the shipper to secure the cargo.


The legal height for transporting over the road is 13′ 6.” Please choose a marina or boatyard with at least 14′ overhead clearance, with no low tree branches or wires on its approach.

If you choose a marina or boatyard to which there is no clear access, the carrier cannot accept responsibility for damage caused by branches or wires. The larger the boat, the higher the load, the more clearance required. Unless previously discussed, freight amount quoted is for legal height of 13′ 6″ loaded on the carriers trailer. If your boat loads higher, a freight surcharge will be added to your freight amount.

The driver will perform a survey only of the exterior of the boat. The condition of the boat will be noted on a condition report. You or your agent will be asked to sign this report at the point of pickup; a copy of this report will be given to you or your agent at that time. At delivery, the boat will again be inspected; the condition report again signed and another copy will be given to you or your agent. Any damage noted by you or your agent upon delivery must be noted on the bill-of-lading that you sign when you or your agent accepts delivery of the boat.


1. Stow all loose gear and secure. All gear stored below must be well secured. The carrier will not accept responsibility for damage caused by loose gear. Lock the cabin.YOU keep the key. DO NOT give the key to the driver.

2. Boats cannot be shipped with fuel or water in tanks. Drain fuel and water tanks. Remove any drain plugs from the hull. There should not be any water in the bilge while it is being transported. During winter months, water should be drained from water systems, pumps, air conditioners, etc.

3. Disconnect batteries and secure. Remove anchors from the deck.

4. Wooden boats can be expected to dry out. A coat of linseed oil will help. Please expect normal road dirt on the boat.


5. All canvas covers must be removed as they will tear or fly off during transit. If they are not removed, the carrier cannot be responsible for damages.


6. If your boat has its own cradle, please inspect it carefully for loose

bolts or weakness of any kind. If your cradle breaks in transit, causing damage to your boat, the carrier cannot accept responsibility. If you are shipping your boat on its own trailer, the carrier cannot accept responsibility should the rollers or frame cause damage, or if the trailer breaks apart, causing damage.


7. If you are shipping a dinghy on board or if you have had to remove any superstructure, these items should be well padded. DO NOT leave dinghy on davits.


8. All electronics, radar, hailers, horns, antennas, propellers, flag masts, lights, anchor lights, etc., must be removed, packed securely and securely stored below. The carrier will not be responsible if they are damaged or if they vibrate off. HATCHES

9. Tie and/or tape hatches from the outside. The carrier cannot be responsible for the damage they may cause if they blow off in transit, or for damage to the boat caused by rain water if a hatch blows off. 10. If the hatches leak, seal them. A boat will not sit in the same position on the carrier’s trailer as it does in the water and the carrier cannot be responsible for rain water entering through a leaky hatch or deck.


11. Cabin windows should be latched and taped from the outside.

12. All windshields and/or Plexiglas that protrude over the flying bridge should be removed, packed with a cargo blanket and should be well secured below. The carrier will not be responsible for any damage that occurs if they are not removed and properly packed and secured.


15. Remove all propellers, flag masts, lights, outriggers, antennas, etc.

16. If your boat is low enough to ship with the flying bridge on, remove all lights, wheels, masts and windshields that protrude over the bridge. All Plexiglas should be removed and packed below with a cargo blanket. If your power boat is not low enough to ship with the flying bridge on, you will have to have a cradle built for the bridge to be shipped in on the forward deck or cockpit area. Every point touching the deck or rails must be sufficiently padded. Remove all electronics and valuable items from the bridge, pack securely, and store below.

Article Courtesy:
Greg Hutchens. CEO
Boats Express Corp.

1-800-926-2875 X 100


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