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Choosing a Boat Transporter

Choosing a Boat Transporter

Most of the boat transporters we know are hard working people that sincerely want to transport your boat in a timely fashion and without any damage. So, with a little checking, the odds are good that no matter which boat transport company you choose, your boat will be moved all right.
We would also add that loading and transporting boats is a complicated and difficult business.
For example: Unlike a typical large truck that backs up to a loading dock and loads or unloads boxes, the skills required of a boat transporter begin with an understanding of the physics involved in loading the boat on the trailer and properly securing it to the trailer.
The boat must be supported, balanced, stabilized and secured. The driver must know how to properly distribute the weight on both the boat and the trailer axles. Moreover, the driver must also know how to correctly secure the boat to the trailer. After all, traveling 60 MPH into a 15 knot headwind, your boat will be experiencing hurricane conditions.
That is also why your proper preparation of your boat for transport is so important.

Simply stated, loading and properly securing a boat requires intelligent forethought and is also both time consuming and very hard work.

Just recall how many boats on trailers you see in the emergency lane everytime you travel an Interstate highway. Most often this is the result of wheel bearing failure which leads to failure of the hub and axle assembly. Failure of a $12 part can result in several hundred dollars in repairs or worse.
That is why we can only tow your boat on your trailer if it is new, or in excellent condition.
Even then, the owner is responsible for having the bearings, lights, tires and tire pressure inspected and in perfect working order. A spare tire is highly desirable.
We must be able to contact you day or night in case repairs, parts and labor must be authorized and charged to your credit card.
Any time spent by the driver getting your trailer road-ready, repairing it, or waiting on it to be repaired will be billed at a rate of $55.00 per hour separately from other expenses incurred.
This must be paid in cash at the time of delivery. As you can see, it’s better for everyone if the trailer is in perfect working condition prior to the pickup.

Moreover, if a wide load is involved, the driving skills needed are something that very few of us possess.

Following are some practices to be wary of:

Request for excessive deposit:
As detailed in our FAQ, deposits on “Legal” loads that do not require permits or escorts, should not normally exceed 15 to 20 percent. Legal loads are boats with a beam of 8 feet 6 inches or less, 11 feet 6 inches or less in height, and usually under 30 feet long.
Also, they should be willing to put their deposit refund policy in writing. For example, if they can not move the boat within the agreed upon time frame and it is the transporter’s fault such as an engine failure in their truck, the deposit should be refundable if you so desire.
However, if they have already bought permits, dispatched or routed their truck and you want to change your mind, then reasonaly, the deposit should not be refundable.

Request for payment in full in advance:

Yes, it happens.
Sometimes they will try to get you to send payment in full for their original bid amount. If that fails, they will offer you a “Super” deal by cutting the bid significantly.

In either case, just say no, and find another transporter.


Unfortunately, this is not as uncommon as it should be. If you are getting bids in the $5000 dollar range, and you get a bid for $3500, that may be a “Low-Ball” quote.
Here is how that often plays out:
You find that the truck is a “No-Show” at the agreed upon date. You are told that if you want the boat moved now, the price will be $5000 dollars. You may be told that the quote did not include $1000 in permits and tolls. If you say no, you may be incurring additional marina fees and other costs, not to mention your inconvenience. Or, the driver may refuse to unload your boat unless the higher price is paid.

Picking the boat up without your permission:

Some operators will actually pick your boat up without having finalized a deal with you. Don’t provide the pick up and off load details until you are sure you are ready to do business with a particular company.

Excessive delays in delivering your boat after picking it up:

It does not take 5 weeks to deliver a 30 foot boat from Detroit to Philadelphia. Unless there is a very good reason and frequent communication, your boat should be delivered within or closely to the agreed upon time frame.
We are aware of situations where a more profitable load arose and the transporter put the customer’s boat in “storage” while they delivered the better paying load.


Make sure the carrier has Cargo insurance in an amount equal to or higher than the value of your boat.
More to follow…..
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