Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions we get asked most often about shipping boats by land
How Do I Measure My Boat For Transport?
It is vital that we have accurate measurements in order to transport your boat safely and determine whether your boat would qualify as an oversized or super load. We will look up your boat’s specifications, but modifications or customizations often render boats different sizes than the original specs. Please call us if you have any questions:
This is often the most difficult part of measuring a boat. If your boat is in the water, then the only thing that you can do is take a measurement from the waterline to the highest point and then add the height of your draft. Measure your boat from the lowest non-removable part to the highest non-removable part of the boat in order to determine the overall transport height.
If your boat measures under 12’8” in height, then there will usually be no reason to remove anything to reduce the height of the boat for road transport.
Measuring Beam (Width):
The Beam measurement is typically available from the manufacturer, but if we can’t find this measurement, measure at the widest point on your boat (including anything that is attached to your boat and can’t be removed). Boats wider than 8’6′ are regarded as oversize permitted loads and require state permits, though your boat generally won’t require escort vehicles unless they are 12′ wide or over. The accuracy these measurements is very critical for this reason. North American Yacht Transport specializes in oversized boat transport, though we rely on our customers to provide accurate measurements so that we are able to plan routes & obtain permitting seamlessly.
Include bow pulpits, swim platforms, outboard motor brackets, outboard motors in the measurement
How Should I Prepare My Boat for Transport?
Prepare your Boat’s Interior
Any loose items down below may damage your boat or be damaged by fall when it’s going down the highway, so make sure to thoroughly inspect your interior cabin and make sure all objects and hatches are secured (and hatches and latches taped). Any valuable items that you have aboard, such as cash, jewelry, watches, or other valuables should be removed. Lock the cabin and take the key with you, or store it in a hidden location in the flybridge/cockpit.
Prepare Your Boat’s Exterior
Remove any loose items on deck. Stow and secure all loose gear. Remove anchors from the deck. Remove seat cushions. Remove all canvas and clear marine vinyl (eisenglass), as it will likely tear or fly off in transit. Store all loose items in a secured locker or below deck. Consider removing all electronics and other valuable items from your flybridge/cockpit. The driver will be staying with your boat overnight, and will only leave your boat unattended for short periods of time for eating and hygiene at truck stops, but it is still advised to err on the side of caution.
Remember that the length, width & height that you specify are the measurements that we use to determine your transport route & permits that we obtain to transport your yacht. It is vital that these measurements remain absolutely accurate. Therefore, remove ANY object that would alter these measurements, such as radar, antennas, other protruding electronics, arches, horns, propellers, flag masts, outriggers, screens, captain’s chairs, steering wheels, cushions, lights, windshields, or any other features affecting boat dimensions need to be removed and securely stored. If these items do not affect measurements and do not need to be removed, still make sure they are securely fastened for interstate travel.
Make sure that any inboard/outboard or outboard motors are raised and locked. Consider removing propellers and storing them securely. Anything else that can move in the wind such as rudder, sticks, ladders, outboards should be either removed or very well secured for transport by road.
Canvas boat covers are sure to tear or fly off while your boat is moving down the highway, and this can cause considerable damage to the boat. Please remove and store your covers.
Tape your hatches closed for transit. Make sure they are securely sealed. Also tape your latches to make sure they don’t open while the boat is moving down the road.
Fuel & Water Tank Preparation
Water takes should be emptied and fuel should be kept to a minimum. Fuel can add a great deal of weight (and not to mention hazard) to a boat being hauled by road. If we are hauling your boat in the Winter through freezing weather, take steps necessary to winterize your boat (drain water systems & add antifreeze, etc). Check your drain pump and remove water in the bilge.
Make sure you disconnect your batteries and tie off the cables so that batteries don’t die in transit.
Make sure all windows are latched and taped from outside the boat. If windshields extend past the flybridge they should be removed and securely packed.
Your boat should not have any kind of growth on the bottom. It is very important to make sure it is clean as DOT officers will inspect the hull at weigh stations on the road.
Should I Shrinkwrap My Boat for Transport?
Shrinkwrap can be a useful way to protect your yacht during road transport, and if done well, means that your yacht may arrive in its destination in pristine condition. But there is a caveat: shrinkwrapping is only useful if it’s done correctly.
The risk of shrinkwrapping a boat is that if it’s not done correctly, the tape can pull away from the boat and the adhesive can collect road debris and even potentially damage the side of the boat as the wrap flaps from highway winds.
Shrinkwrapping can also cost thousands. In our experience, we are hesitant to recommend shrinkwrapping due to the risks, and typically all you need is a good detail and cleaning of the boat when it arrives to get it nice and clean again.
Read our tips on preparing your boat for shipping to understand how to protect your boat while it is being transported on the road.
Oversized Boats: Additional Preparation
Keep in mind that if your powerboat is oversized, it may need to be loaded onto our trailer backwards. This means that wind pressure on the windshield will be compounded when your boat is moving down the road, so if there is any question about your windshield being able to withstand the wind pressure, it’s a good idea to remove the windshield and secure it underneath.
Wood Boats: Additional Preparation
There are additional preparations that should be taken for wood boats as they may have structural weaknesses that could lead to damage if not properly detected & prepared.
First, if you are planning to transport a wood boat by road, always make sure to get a full and thorough inspection of the entire boat by someone highly qualified.
As an extra precaution, you may consider having a cradle built for your wood boat that allows for ideal weight distribution. We could load the boat onto our trailer secured in the cradle. Please always consult with us first so we can discuss the best option together.
Linseed oil will help prevent your wood boat from drying out while being transported.
Sailboats: Additional Preparation
There are additional preparations that should be taken for transporting sailboats.
Make sure the mast of your sailboat is un-stepped and wrapped to protect it from road debris. We have a mast stand which is a cradle that the mast sits in alongside the boat on our trailer. If your mast is painted, it is possible for the paint to chip during transport.
Sailboat Height Considerations
The bow rails might stand higher than the rest of the boat, if the bow rails make the boat problematically tall, they should be removed for transport. The same goes for other objects that may render a sailboat over-height. It’s not usually necessary, but if they render the sailboat over-height, stanchions, winches, stern pulpits and davits must be removed and stored.. A dinghy cannot be on davits while being transported. If a keel can be retracted, it should be.
Is My Boat Too Big To Transport By Truck?
Whether or not your boat is too big for road transport depends on where you boat is and where you want it to go, because every state has different restrictions on what size loads can and can’t be transported over the road. If you give us a call or shoot us an email, we can very quickly tell you what is possible given your boat specifications & route.
Generally, in the Northeast (where bridges are shorter and roads narrower), restrictions are tighter. In the Southwest (where roads are generally wider, and bridges taller), height and width limits can increase. You should always call us so that we can tell you over the phone if your route is possible with your yacht’s specifications.
That being said, at North American Yacht Transport, we specialize in long-distance Oversized & “Super Load” yacht transport. We have the equipment & the driver experience to handle large transports. We do this very often & know exactly what permits, number of pilot cars or escorts and additional approvals we need and where. Your transport route & all of the necessary arrangements will be planned well in advance. This special consideration and planning is our expertise.
Yacht transporters with less experience, carelessness or or lack of expertise with oversized loads may not be privy to each state’s requirements for these types of transports and will quote you an unrealistically low price to do the transport, only to inform you later (perhaps on loading day) that they didn’t account for the permitting they will need to transport your oversized or super sized yacht by truck. Obtaining these permits & accommodations takes time, and your transport will be delayed. As long as we are provided with the accurate specifications, this will never happen with us.
How Much Does Yacht Transport Cost?
Transport prices are generally based on the miles from origin to destination and the size and weight of the boat being transported. Really undermarket prices are a red flag in this industry. When this happens, something is either wrong with the company or their equipment or perhaps they have left something out.
When it comes to pricing based on the size of your boat, oversized loads (especially being transported through multiple states) become more costly due to the need for permits & pilot cars. If the beam of your boat is greater than 8’6″ wide, or the boat on the trailer is greater than 13’6″ high (in most states) then it is considered an oversized load. All states require permits on oversized loads but each state differs on what their requirements are pertaining to when and how many escorts may be needed. When multiple escorts are needed for a long haul, the drivers need to get paid and may also need accommodations if the trip takes more than one day to complete – this can all add to the cost.
North American Yacht Transport specializes in complex transport: large boat transport and long routes. That being said, each transport is custom to your needs. Price is effected by the number of state permits & pilot cars that are required if your yacht is oversize. We take all of that in account in our quote, so there will be no surprises.
We can generally provide a ballpark estimate for price over the phone if you know your specifications (or we can look them up for you), so give us a call! We are free to speak to you 7 days a week and we’d be happy to talk to you about your yacht transporting needs.
Where Do You Operate?
North American Yacht Transport can ship boats by truck everywhere in the contiguous United States & Canada. We operate with our own equipment & employ our own drivers. If you need your yacht moved to Mexico by road, we operate with trusted partners.
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Red Flags To Look For When Selecting a Yacht Transporter
If you are considering other transporters, make sure to address these questions when you are evaluating.
They Quote You A Price Way Undermarket
We see this happen all time time and it only happens for two reasons:
The transporter isn’t experienced enough to accurately determine the permits needed to move your boat. In this case, they will realize their mistake and hit you with extra charges and delays.
Or even worse, some transporters may not intend on obtaining said permits – known as “bootlegging,” it means that they are intending to do the transport without permits or any necessary escorts, and they may not even be licensed transport carriers.
They Don’t Ask The Right Questions
If you are speaking with a transporter who isn’t adamant about knowing the exact height and width of your boat, chances are they are inexperienced & will not show up with the right equipment for moving your boat, leading to delays and new costs.
If you are speaking to other yacht transporters, try to deduce whether they are highly trained and experienced at boat transporting. A good transporter should also have an extensive knowledge of the interstate highway system as it pertains to transporting boats to avoid any harm or delays during your yacht transport.
They Also Transport Cars…
Yacht transport is extremely specialized – it requires specialized equipment to be done safely and responsible drivers who has worked with boats their entire career. You should select a transporter that specializes in moving yachts, not other cargo.
Since it is all that they do, An experienced yacht transporter will have experience working with The DOT, State Permitting Departments, marinas, boat yards and ports, guaranteeing a seamlessly organized and well-planned transport.
The Gold Standard in Yacht Transport
We employ North America’s best most experienced boat haulers & own the best equipment, but we don’t believe in standardized methods. We consider the logistics of each and every boat from every angle, making sure there will be no surprises along the journey to your destination. From loading, to transport, to unloading, we handle every detail. We will find the safest and most cost effective method for shipping your boat with the highest level of professionalism and customer service in the industry.