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Preparing The Boat For Shipping

If you’ve decided to transport your boat from the UK to Canada then there are a few things to consider before the shipping process can begin.

It’s important to give your boat a thorough clean and assess its current condition before beginning the shipping process. Take photographs and make detailed notes to show any damage. Taking these simple steps will leave you in a better position to make an insurance claim should your boat get damaged during shipment.

If your boat contains any electronic equipment or valuable accessories then you should remove these before shipment and transport these separately. Alternatively, you can store these items in the cabin of your boat, but if you choose this route make sure that you lock the cabin before your boat is shipped.

Boat shipping to Canada is not a low-cost activity. Therefore, in order to minimise shipping costs, it’s best to dismantle any masts and sails because this will make your shipment more compact. We recommend that you take photographs as you dismantle each section of your boat because this will provide you with a point of reference when you come to rebuild your boat in Canada.

When looking for a shipping agent you will notice that they determine the shipping price depending on the size of your boat. You will find a lot of these measurements in the manufacturer’s manual for your boat; however, it is worthwhile taking your own measurements to make sure that the shipment carrier is going to be suitable. You will need to entrust a friend to help you take these measurements and together you need to measure the boat’s length, height and beam.

Now that you have your measurements to hand, it’s time to explore the different shipment methods available to you. To transport your boat from the UK to Canada you can either ship your boat on its trailer or independently to the trailer in an enclosed container. Both options are cost effective and safe; it really depends on the dimensions and style of the individual boat to decide which method will work best for you.

a boat being transported by trailer to Canada

Boat Transport Types

Registered Boat Transporter

It is recommended to choose a shipping company that is registered with an authorised trade body such as the British International Freight Association. By selecting a registered company you can rest assured that the shipment carrier will have undergone the required safety checks and that it will hold the legal licences.

Account Management and Customer Service

It’s important to follow your intuitions when choosing a shipping company. Do you find that they are cooperative and friendly to talk to on the phone? If not then you should probably continue your search. Boat shipping to Canada is not a quick task and you will need to be in touch with your chosen shipping provider often throughout the process. It is therefore important to feel comfortable talking to them over the phone. Before settling on a shipping company, check that they have a registered business address and ask if you are able to have a specific contact or account handler to manage your shipment.

Insuring your Boat>

Boats are valuable possessions and you should check that your shipping company provides insurance against loss and damage whilst your boat is being transported. The level of insurance needed will greatly depend on the value of your boat and your shipping company will likely ask you for a recent valuation in order to insure you competently.

Expert Packing Service

Packaging a boat for transit isn’t an everyday task and we recommend that you leave the packaging to experts. You should look for a full service shipping company who will handle all packaging on your behalf. Whilst this additional service may cost more in the short term, it’s bound to save you money in the long run because it will ensure that your boat remains safe for the duration of the voyage.


All shipping companies should offer guaranteed transit timescales so that you know when to expect your boat to arrive in Canada. Large shipping organisations will have regular slots on transit carriers and should be able to provide you with a regular timeline. If your shipping company is hesitant to provide a shipping timeline then it may mean that they aren’t reliable.

Customer Reviews

Reputable shipping companies will be able to share customer reviews and testimonials. Each transport provider registered on Shiply has user reviews displayed on their profile page, so you can make your choice based on the experience of previous customers as well as the quoted price.

Customs & Checks

From start to finish boat shipping to Canada is likely to take between 4 and 10 weeks, it certainly isn’t a quick process! Furthermore, when your boat reaches Canadian waters you won’t be able to set sail straight away. First your boat must pass through customs. Your shipping agent will help you to complete the relevant documents prior to shipping, these will include providing copies of your passport and proof of ownership/registration. These documents will need to reach the Customs Office prior to your boat reaching the border and your shipping agent should help you with this process.

If you are bringing your boat on a trailer you will also need to provide documentation for the trailer. Contact the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles ahead of shipment in order to register your trailer. You will also be required to provide details of any stores and supplies held on the boat.

When your boat reaches the border, it will be checked by the Canadian Agricultural Inspection Agency before it can be cleared into the country. The inspection agent’s job is to prevent agricultural diseases from entering the country and they may require that your boat is fumigated or steam cleaned.Due to the seasonal weather, Customs Offices at each Canadian port are only open at certain times of the year. Your shipping agent should make you aware of any delays that this will cause prior to shipping.

Once your boat successfully clears Customs, your shipping company will be ready to deliver it safely to your chosen location. On clearing Customs you will receive a clearance number and we recommend keeping this safe. You should check your shipment to ensure that all parts arrive in good condition, including any separate masts or sails. It is also advised that you set some time aside to perform these checks as soon as your boat is delivered, so that you can rest in the knowledge that your boat has arrived safely and is ready to be enjoyed in Canadian waters.

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