Full Boat Hauling Guide In 2022

A boat has always been a luxury to most people as purchasing one and taking care of it costs a pretty penny. So if you own one or are going to buy a boat, we can for sure say that you are either a workaholic or a very lucky person.

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Regardless of whether you are transporting your old boat from one place to another, buying a new boat, or selling yours, you will experience predicaments on how to ship a boat safely. Finding a reliable, trustworthy transportation company with a professional shipping manager that will take care of all the details of shipping can be quite time-consuming and exhausting.

That is why we have prepared an article with the most detailed description of all the details on boat transportation within the mainland and even overseas. Besides that, we also offer you estimated boat hauling rates so you can understand the price range and will not be tricked by some one-day companies. 

So in this article, we will cover the following points: 

Types of boats and peculiarities of their transportation
How does the boat transportation process work?
Boat loading on the trailer
How does boat hauling work with Сompare The Carrier?
How much does boat transportation cost?
How to move a boat overseas and how much does it cost?
Useful boat shipping tips
best boat and yacht transportation service

Types Of Boats And Peculiarities Of Their Transportation

It is widely known that a boat is a kind of watercraft that is used for cruising in the near-shore areas and inland waters.

There are lots of types of boats, but here we will not list down all of them and take a look only at the most popular ones. 

Foremost, let’s classify the boats into three main sections:

• Motorboats;

• Sailboats;

• Unpowered boats. 

boat types according to the its transportation process

Motorboats Transportation

Some of the most popular types of motorboats are:

• Pontoons;

• Houseboats;

• Power catamaran boats; 

• Deck boats;

• Cuddy cabins boats;

• Bowrider boats;

• Personal watercraft (PWC) boats;

• Cabin cruiser boats;

• Fishing trawlers. 

motorboat transportation. how to ship a motorboat?

The first three types are rather easy to transport as they are flat-bottomed boats, so there is no need to rent a special boat trailer. Whether a boat is on the water or stands, it can be loaded on a regular flatbed or lowboy using a crane. And in case the boat is already on the trailer, it can be connected to any pickup truck or semi-trailer truck and hauled to any location. 

As for other types of boats listed above, their transportation requires more detailed preparation. 

Deck boats, cuddy cabins boats, bowrider boats, cabin cruiser boats, small fishing trawlers are usually transported on a special boat trailer hitched to the pickup truck or the semi-trailer truck depending on the size of the boat. 

If the boat is in the marine, it can be loaded on a boat trailer using a winch or by simply driving it onto the trailer.

If the boat is on stands or it’s a brand new watercraft it can as well be loaded on the hydraulic boat trailer. It should be noted that transportation of a boat is much more difficult than shipping any kind of a car and one should pay special attention when choosing the transportation company.

Even the smallest details are important here and if the person is not very professional the boat may get damaged.

Concerning the fishing trawlers that are more than 120 ft long, they can only be transported via maritime transport like cargo ships or barges and are loaded using the deck or marine cranes.

Sailboats and Motorsailers Transportation

Of course, first of all, a sailboat is a watercraft propelled entirely by sails. But as we talk about the peculiarities in the transportation of different types of boats, we decided to include sailboats and motorsailers in one group as they have the same peculiarity that makes tier transportation completely different from motorboats and unpowered boats. The most popular types of boats in this group are: 

• Sailing catamarans;

• Cruising Sailboat;

• Racing Sailboats;

• Sailing Dinghies;

• Sailing yachts.

sailboat transportation. how to move a sailboat?

Unlike loading a regular motorboat which may take a couple of hours at the most, loading a boat with sails takes quite a lot of time as nothing can be missed out and everything should be packed and secured properly. 

First of all, the mast should be removed and properly secured in its cradle. All winches, spreaders, lights, wind indicators, rigging, and electronic antennas should be removed as well and wrapped to keep them clean while transportation. Anchors in a bow roller should be stowed instead of just being secured.

You should also remember that securing the mast to the boat is not a good idea as it will chaf the boat while transportation and the spots may be left. Besides that, the transport trailers provide a special space for the mast.

If you are planning to transport your boat during wintertime, you need to pay special attention to winterization in order to prevent freezing problems. 

Unpowered Boats Transportation

Operating an unpowered boat certainly beats going to the gym. First of all, it has the same effect on your muscles since you can choose between a pedal boat and a dinghy. Besides that, you can enjoy the weather, nature and spend time with friends. So the unpowered boat means there is nothing on the boat to provide power to itself, and you have to move the boat using pedals, paddles, an oar, or a pole. The unpowered boats may be of the following types: 

• pedal boats;

• gondola and punts;

• kayaks and canoes;

• rafts;

• dinghies. 

Unpowered boats transportation Full Boat Hauling Guide In 2022 6

Transportation of the unpowered boats is rather easy as they are usually not that large and can be transported on a regular flatbed trailer or a two-wheel trailer module hitched to a pickup truck or large SUV. The boats can be loaded manually, using a winch or a crane depending on the size and weight of the watercraft. 

How Does The Boat Transportation Process Work?

What Are The Ways To Transport A Boat?

As we have mentioned earlier, there are three main types of shipping watercraft:

• On the specially designed boat trailer;

• On a flatbed or a lowboy;

• By towing on water or loading on another ship. 

types of boat transportation. how to haul a boat?

Now let’s take a closer look at each of them. 

Hauling boat on a specially designed trailer

Transportation of a boat on a specially designed boat trailer is rather easy as it can be towed by any pickup truck or a semi-trailer truck. The carriers we collaborate with can help you with loading the boat on the trailer if the vehicle is in marine or on stands. If you do not have a trailer, you can rent or buy it at a local marine shop or a boat dealership. The driver can help you load the boat or you can hire a person to do it for you. 

Hauling boat on a flatbed or lowboy trailer

If you are an owner of a flat-bottomed boat, like pontoons or punts, your watercraft can be loaded on a lowboy or a flatbed using a crane or a winch. Other types of boats can also be shipped on these types of trailers if they have boat cradles.

Towing boat on water

Huge watercraft like shipping trawlers or extremely long yachts can be towed with another boat or loaded on a large vessel using a crane and then shipped to the destination. 

Boat Loading On The Trailer

Loading a boat onto the trailer may be quite hard for a new newcomer, but for experienced drivers, it is very easy.

If your boat is in the marine, a special boat trailer should be put into the water so that only the front part will be seen. Then the boat should be moved onto the trailer either nys starting it and slowly moving onto the trailer or by using a winch.

boat loaning for futher boat transportation Full Boat Hauling Guide In 2022 9

In case the boat is on stands, a special hydraulic air ride trailer should be used for loading and transportation. First of all the trailer should be lined up with the keel, then the trailer airbags and hydraulic trailer arms are lowered and the trailer should be backed under the boat.

After that the trailer gate should be closed, and wood blocking is placed on the gate under the keel. Then the hydraulic arms are closed and raised to meet the hull of the boat, after which the boat is strapped, signed, and flagged for transport if required. 

How Does Boat Hauling Work With Сompare The Carrier?

Our number one priority is our customers and we do our best to provide you with top shipping companies. We want our customers to advise us to their friends. The companies we collaborate with offer the best transportation services within the US, overseas, and even internationally. 

step-by-step boat hauling

Once you decide to have your watercraft transported you start looking for a moving company and asking your friends for any references. Unfortunately, sometimes they have no one to recommend and you look for more information about boat transportation on the Internet.

In most cases, advertisement websites are the first results you see. After submitting a quote with one of such websites, you can be sure to receive hundreds of calls with lots of different quotes. Please note that the so-called shipping companies are lead providers that just provide your request to other companies. 

To be sure that you’ll get rates from licensed and professional companies with the big experience we recommend you to use our boat shipping rates comparing service.

Setting Up The Boat Shipping Quote

To set up transportation with Compare The Carrier, you don’t have to search the Internet and look through dozens of quotes. You only need to provide us with the zip-codes for pick-up and drop-off locations, the name of the watercraft and its estimated size, and the dates it is available for shipping.

After you provide these details, our company will check the database, choose some of the best shipping companies going your route. After that, you will receive the quotes from these top companies and all this will take only 10 minutes.

The Boat Shipping Process

Once you decide what company to proceed with, you need to provide the shipping manager with the exact addresses, size of the boat, and its photo, so there will be no misunderstanding regarding the type and size of the watercraft. 

After the details are negotiated, the personal manager will send you the paperwork to sign to finalize the booking and will start checking the carriers to schedule one within your time frame. The available carrier then will be assigned to your order and you will receive his details including the name and phone number via email. 

Once your shipping date comes, the carrier will call you in advance to negotiate the pick-up and delivery time.

When you choose Compare the Carrier, we guarantee you will have a company to recommend to your friends. 

How Much Does Boat Transportation Cost?

Whether you are shipping a car or a boat, the cost of the transportation depends on the very same aspects: mileage, type, and size of the watercraft and the season.

General Boat Moving Factors Affecting The Price Full Boat Hauling Guide In 2022 12

The longer the route is, the higher the price will be. Depending on the type of vehicle, sailing boats are usually more expensive to transport. That is all because they require more preparation as the sails, the mast, and lots of other details have to be removed and properly packed.  Motorboats and unpowered boats are easier to transport as they just need to be loaded on a trailer, properly secured and they are ready to be shipped.  

Of course, it also depends on the size of the watercraft since sailboats may be small and there are lots of huge motor yachts. 

Besides that, the season of shipping also affects the price a lot. For example, spring is a high season for moving vehicles from southern to northern states and early autumn is a high season for moving from northern to southern states.

So if you are planning to move the boat within this timeframe, we highly advise you to plan the move far in advance or be as flexible with dates as possible.

All the professional drivers schedule their route in advance and sometimes work even without weekends during the high season, so if you don’t schedule the transportation in advance, you may have to wait for the closest available date. 

Average Boat Transportation Rates

With all the above mentioned in mind, let’s take a look at the average prices for boat shipping. In the table below you can see the rate for shipping per mile for motorboats, sailboats, and motorsailers and also unpowered boats depending on their size.


Unpowered Boats

Sailboats & Motorsailers


Up to 9 ft long

$1 per mile

$1.8-2 per mile

$1.5-1.8 per mile

Up to 15 ft long

$1.2 per mile

$2-2.5 per mile

$1.8-2.3 per mile

Up to 20 ft long

$1.4 per mile

$2.5-3 per mile

$2.3-2.8 per mile

Up to 30 ft long

$1.7 per mile

$3-3.5 per mile

$2.8-3.2 per mile

Up to 40 ft long

$2 per mile

$3.5-4 per mile

$3.2-3.7 per mile

Up to 50 ft long


$4-4.5 per mile

$3.7-4 per mile

Up to 60 ft long


$4.5-5 per mile

$4-4.5 per mile

How To Move A Boat Overseas And How Much Does It Cost?

The easiest way to ship a boat overseas is to work with a shipping company that has boat transport experience and will take care of all the details for you. Compare the Carrier collaborates with some companies with a dedicated staff that knows all the pitfalls of preparing and transporting overseas.

All in all, there are 4 main ways to transport the boat overseas:

Roll-on/Roll-off Boat Transport (RO/RO)

This is the most common way to ship any kind of vehicle overseas and boats are not an exception. With Roll-on/Roll-off transport the boat should either stay on the trailer or a cradle.

Overseas ro-ro boat hauling

Enclosed Container Boat Shipping

This way is also a popular method of shipping vehicles but it is not used very often for boat transportation as it is only suitable for small boats that do not exceed the following dimensions: 40’L, 7’10”H, 7′ 8”W. 

overseas boat hauling in enclosed container

Flat Rack Boat Hauling

It is the most popular way of shipping huge watercrafts. With this method of shipping, the boat is placed in a cradle and strapped to the flat rack that is secured to the cargo ship.

flat rack boat hauling overseas


That’s another popular method for oversized boats. In this case, the boat is loaded and unloaded directly from the water with the help of the crane.

submersion boat transportation

The price for boat transportation overseas depends on the method of shipping, size of the boat, and the destination point. Unfortunately, the price can vary greatly here and even a 1 feet difference in height or length of the boat can change the price considerably. Despite that, we can for sure tell you that the price for shipping a boat to Hawaii starts from $2000, and to Alaska, it’s at least $2760.

Useful Boat Shipping Tips

Once you have booked the shipping and decided on the dates, it’s time to get your watercraft ready for shipping. Here are some tips that we highly recommend you check to make the move as easy as possible:

• Make sure your insurance documents are valid. Even though each driver has his own insurance and the boat will be fully insured during the shipping, we advised you to have your own insurance as well.

• Remove sails, mast, and all the required details to make it easier and faster for the driver to load the boat. If you are not sure, please let your shipping manager know about that and they will advise you what to do or choose the driver that can do that for you.

• If you have a boat trailer, you can load your boat on it before the driver comes as it will save both of you some time. 

• Empty liquids and make sure to disconnect the fuel tanks so any potential leaks will not occur while the boat is in transit.

• Clean your boat. Once the driver comes he will check the boat for any pre-existing damages and if there are any, he will note them down in the Bill of lading. 

• Check your boat for any damages at the drop-off location so if you find any you could note them down in the Condition report and the Carrier Insurance company will cover it. Unfortunately, if you don’t note the damages in the Condition report, the Insurance company will decline the claim. We also advise you to take some photos of the boat before transportation. 

Useful Boat Shipping Tips Full Boat Hauling Guide In 2022 18


Can I transport some personal items like luggage or tools inside the boat while it is being transported?

Unfortunately, no items are allowed to be shipped inside the boat except for the tools that were provided by the manufacturer. Luggage may damage the interior of the boat and the insurance does not cover it.

What documents do I  need for boat transportation within the mainland?

If you are shipping the watercraft within the mainland, no documents are required. For international shipping or shipping to overseas territory, the documents may vary depending on the destination.

How far in advance is the perfect time to book the boat shipping?

As soon as you know the destination and estimated dates of shipping, you can start to plan the shipping. The perfect time is at least a month ahead of the available shipping dates.

Can I pay for the boat shipping with a bank card? I do not want to withdraw thousands at the ATM.

We totally understand that boat shipping costs a lot, so most companies allow paying with bank cards, money orders, cashier’s checks, or company checks.

Can I put a special cover on a boat when it is transported?

Yes, you can put a cover on the boat but only if it is a special cover provided by the manufacturer.

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