If you’re a first time boat owner, transporting your new vessel might be slightly alien to you. If you need to move a boat you can either use your own trailer, should you have one, or employ the services of a professional boat transport company.

Depending on the size of your boat, self-service might be unfeasible. If you’re going for a small craft that you’re keeping on land then investing your own trailer in the future might be prudent.

Before Your Boat’s Move

Whether it’s a yacht or a speedboat, you’ll want to plan as far ahead as possible to give yourself to time to prepare for the transport and to enable you to find a suitable transport service. However your boat is going to be moved, make sure you:-

Check the boat’s condition: Make sure you check the interior and exterior of your vessel for any damage, this way you can see if it suffers any damage during transit.-

Remove valuables: Make sure you take anything valuable off your boat before it’s transported as these will not be insured.

If your boat is being transported by land there are a number of preparatory jobs to do to ensure that the transportation goes as smoothly as possible:-

Drain the bilge: Pumping out waste water and other liquids will make the boat lighter to transport and prevent any potential leakages during transport.-

Empty water and refuse stores: Any freshwater tanks and rubbish should be emptied from your boat.-

Empty the majority of fuel: Disconnect fuel tanks and empty the majority of gasoline, it’s only extra weight and another potential leak.-

Disconnect battery and tidy cables: A precaution that will help avoid draining the battery and any shortages in electronics.-

Make things watertight: Despite being a waterborne vehicle your boat might be exposed to different weather conditions when it travels on a trailer. So make sure that all exposed electronics are covered and battery cables are tucked away.-

Make things secure: If they aren’t travelling separately make sure all accessories and life jackets are stowed away in lockers. Secure all doors and compartments in the galley and washrooms. Also make sure that the canopy is extra secure as it might not be built to travel at the speed of a trailer.

For sailboats: removing all winches and rigging etc. from the mast is important (also provide padding for points at which the mast will be tied down). Pulpits, stanchions and lifelines should only be taken off if they will make the boat too large to transport easily.

You can also check with your boatyard for any other precautions that they might think important for safe transport.

If your boat is going to be sailed to its destination make sure you arrange with the captain what preparations need to be made prior to the handover.

As mentioned, there are two major ways to transport your boat, which method you choose will depend on where you need the craft transported to.

By road – If you’re boat is going up or down the country then a professional boat transport company is called for. Choosing a dedicated boat haulier will put you in safe hands; these specialists will know the ins and outs of working with marinas and ports and should help you out with all the aspects of the boat move. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about the transportation process as they’ve probably got the answer!

Smaller craft can potentially be towed by a wider range of courier services, but be aware that they might not have as much experience as a specialist. If you’re moving boat parts or a non-starting boat then road haulage is your only option.

By Sea – If your craft needs to be sailed port to port then you can hire a boat delivery crew to do just that. In order to get the best level of service make sure you check the credentials of any skippers and crew hands. If you’re moving a sailboat then RYA or MCA accredited crews are the highly qualified.

Crews should inspect your vessel, plot courses and check shipping forecasts all for you.With any type of transportation it’s prudent to check the level of experience and professional insurance cover that they offer (do not accept personal insurance). 

Finding the proper boat transport service can be fairly longwinded if you intend to compare all the prices and credentials. Larger companies might charge less, whereas smaller family run boat transporters could offer you a more bespoke personalised service.

Searching for boat transport can be done the old fashioned way, in the phonebook, or online. Because these are highly specialised services it might be easy to get recommendations from other boating enthusiasts, ask friends around the marina or boatyard for advice on boat transport companies.

Shiply can also help a boat transport service find you: Listing your boat move on Shiply will allow our network of transport providers to quote you a price for your boat’s transportation. You will be able to compare the cost and credentials of transporters as well as see what other Shiply users think about them via the customer feedback system.

Completing the Move

When your vessel reaches its destination your boat transporter should help you with the unloading or docking and may help you with other parts of the boat maintenance and checks (depending on what you agreed).

Either way, it’s important that you check your craft post-transit to ensure that it hasn’t been damaged and ask the transporter about any discrepancies.

Once your boat’s safely docked or secured you can remove tape and other securing materials, refill water tanks and reattach batteries and motors or re-rig your sailboat.

When you’re happy that the transportation job has been a success please leave a review for the service you used on Shiply. Feedback not only helps our other users compare services, it also helps transporters improve.