International boat shipping guide transport tips
How to save on international boat shipping and minimize transportation costs.
Measurements. When transporting a boat internationally, it is crucial to measure it properly in order to determine the most efficient method of transport, obtain an accurate shipping quote, apply for all required transportation permits, etc. For example, boats exceeding 8’6” in width will require DOT permits in each state; boats over 11 ft wide require special escorts. Height restrictions differ from state to state, that's why it is important for the boat transporter to know the full overall length (LOA), width (beam) and height of your boat in order to safely deliver it to the port.
It is possible to obtain some basic boat measurements from the manufacturer; some websites, such as Nada, provide that information as well, however please note that your actual measurements may be different; in addition, manufacturers' specifications do not provide height information, neither do they estimate dimensions including trailer.
Please follow these guidelines when measuring your boat for overseas shipping:
Include in the measurements the following: swim platforms, bow pulpits, outboard motor brackets, outboard motors themselves (the length of the motors or out drives in the raised position). If the boat is on a trailer, include trailer’s measurements from the tip of the tongue to the end of the boat’s motor.
measure the boat from the bottom of the keel to the highest non-removable part of the boat. The draft (from the waterline to the bottom of the keel) + clearance (from the waterline to the highest part of the vessel) equal the total standing height. Boats with an overall height over 13'6" will require special handling and inland routing.
measure the boat and separately the trailer at their widest points (the widest point of the trailer is usually fenders or the external wall of the tire).
Boat preparation for overseas transport*.
Please, consider taking the following steps prior to transporing your boat. These measures will help ensuring safe and pain free shipping process:
• Draining the gas tank;
• Winterizing the boat, if necessary - draining fluids, etc;
• Ensuring roadworthiness of the trailer;
• Making sure tires hold air; trailer lights, brakes and wiring are fully operational;
• Personal effects, parts or valuables should be removed from the boat;
• Shrink-wrapping can prevent moisture and salty air damaging the interior; it can also prevent some damages (scratches, rubbing marks etc);
• In order to reduce the transportation costs, fly bridge may need to be removed. It is important to measure the vessel without the bridge and also provide bridge dimensions in order to obtain an accurate boat shipping estimate;
• Radar needs to be taken down as well. All parts that were removed must be properly secured on to the boat with all necessary safety arrangements;
• Removing completely or stowing away securely all electronics and high value gadgets.
* If you need assistance with preparing your boat for overseas transport, it is recommended to seek for professional help from your local marina, shipyard, captain or marine surveyor.
Documents required when shipping a boat internationally.
If you are shipping your boat internationally, there are certain documents and information you will have to secure. It is recommended to check on Customs regulations in the country to which you are traveling to avoid problems once your boat arrives. Foreign consulates and embassies are a good resource of this information. Most countries require you to present a copy of the bill of lading, a shipping document showing how, when and by what means of transport the boat was shipped.
Make note you will need a copy of boat’s title (or original) and a Bill of Sale. Some countries (like Australia & Turkey) have specific trailer requirements. Please, make sure to investigate all customs and registration procedures in your country of importation.
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