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Boat transport

Hire a professional transport company to help you move your boat safely.

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Whether you've bought a boat located in another state or you're relocating to another marina, finding the right service to transport your boat can be challenging. You want to make sure you use a reliable company that will take care of your valuable cargo.

We've compiled a guide with what you need to consider when booking boat transport.

What boat transport services are available?

There are specialist removal and transport companies that deliver boats locally or interstate via road or on the water. Companies can transport boats on trailers, trucks, ships, cargo planes, or sail them to your destination for you.

If you are transporting a boat overseas, a licensed non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) or ocean freight forwarder can book a space on a ship and handle the paperwork for you.

What is included in a boat transport service?

A boat transporter will collect and deliver your boat to your destination. Most transport services will provide a boat trailer that they will adjust to your vessel, although you can choose to use your own trailer. Companies will also have equipment to load and secure the boat and they will help dismantle your boat's equipment to transport it safely. Some companies provide shrink wrapping services to protect the boat.

The transporter will check the intended route to identify potential hazards on the road, height limits and toll gates. They will secure your boat and transport it with care, especially over any bumps in the road and around tight corners.

Some transporters offer tracking so you can follow the location of your boat along the way.

How do I transport my boat?

You can either transport your boat by water or road. Road transport has become a common option because it saves on fuel costs, engine hours, and wear and tear to your boat. There is less likely to be a delay because of bad weather, and you don't have to worry about the boat breaking down in the water.

How much does boat transport cost?

The cost of relocating your boat depends on the type and dimensions of the boat, how far you need to move it and the type of transport you'll use. For most boats, relocation by road is cheaper than on the water.

Prices can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The average cost to transport a smaller boat a short distance is approximately $150-350, and longer journeys can range between $500 and $1,000. Transporting large boats can cost $2,000-4,000 and above depending on the location.

How do I compare boat transport services?

To find the best service to move your boat, you should get several quotes from different licensed transporters. You can search for companies online, in directories or through platforms like Airtasker or Oneflare. Some of the details you'll can use to compare services include:

  • Cost
  • How they will load and unload the boat
  • Options for the boat trailer and other equipment provided
  • Safety records
  • Insurance coverage
  • Previous transport experience
  • References
  • Customer reviews

How should I prepare my boat for transport?

There are several things you need to do make the process go smoothly and minimise the chance that your boat will be damaged during transit:

  • Arrange a loading spot with enough clearance
  • Remove personal items, especially valuables
  • Secure loose gear, windows and hatches
  • Drain the fuel and water tanks
  • Disconnect batteries and secure cables
  • Have the boat inspected by a licensed surveyor
  • Check for existing damage and take photos of the boat for reference
  • Have payment ready

What to consider when booking boat transport

Note that some state laws limit the size of boats that can be transported by road. You might need to use signs and warning lights and obtain an oversize load permit. If the boat exceeds height limits the transporter might not be able to travel on interstate routes. A wide boat requires a certified escort. These can all add to the cost of the service.

You will also need to consider the trailer or other type of carrier that the transporter will use, the route they will take, where you will meet them for collection and/or delivery, and their insurance coverage. You might also want to take out your own insurance for extra protection.

Also note the season and the likely weather conditions will affect the transport of your boat.

Do I need to be there when my boat is picked up for transport?

You can arrange for your boat to be collected without having to be there, although you might choose to oversee the pickup and loading. You could alternatively arrange to be present at the destination for the unloading.

Pros and cons of using a boat transport service

Pros

  • A transporter will take care of loading, relocating and unloading your boat for you
  • A specialist transport service will have experience in moving boats safely

Cons

  • Collecting quotes and arranging a service is time consuming
  • Potential for damage to the boat or theft of equipment/valuable items

Frequently asked questions about boat transport

What risks are there with boat transport?

While a specialist service will have experience in transporting boats, there is still a risk that your boat could be damaged in transit, especially during loading and unloading. Bad weather can disrupt your plans, causing the delivery to be delayed or cancelled.

Should I transport my boat myself or hire a professional?

Transporting your boat yourself will be cheaper than hiring a company. However, a professional transporter will have the right equipment and ability to safely relocate the boat for you, reducing stress and hassle.

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