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Who is going to prep your Boat Shipment - The marina, boatyard, you or a subcontractor? Most drivers do not carry the proper tools and supplies to prep your vessel for transport. Drivers are boat transporters not boat preparation experts. A seasoned Boat Transporter know what needs to be done to prep a boat properly, but his quote to transport usually doesn’t include this cost. Ask your transporter what needs to be done to prep the boat in addition to the prep person.

Check out for more details.

Secure all loose gear and electronics and stow them away if possible in a locked area. Cabinets and the cabin should be locked and stash the key somewhere you only know where on the boat for emergencies should the driver need to get into a locked area with your permission. Please note all water tanks must be empty and fuel on the vessel needs to be at a minimum. Remove the hull’s drain plugs. The bilge needs to be water free during transport, and in winter - all fluids should be drained from water systems, air conditioner, pumps, etc.

Remove anchors from the deck, disconnect and secure batteries.

A coat of linseed oil may prevent wooden boats from drying out. This type of conditioning may cause more dirt accumulation from the roads, but it is nothing that shouldn’t clean up easily.

Canvas Covers / Shrink Wrap

During transport, remove canvas covers to prevent tearing or loss. The transporter will not be responsible for damages, if these covers are not removed. Do you want the boat shrink wrapped? Unless it is being transported in winter weather conditions, we recommend not doing so. Most of the time the shrink wrap doesn’t hold up after about 1,000 miles. It is not worth the time to do so and the money, unless it is a brand new boat

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Motors or out drives need to be in the raised position. Measure the overall length of your vessel, remembering to include out drives or motors, bow pulpits, swim platforms, and motor brackets in insure you provide your boat transporter an accurate dimension. You want to make sure your driver has the correct trailer to accommodate your vessel.

To measure the height of your boat, measure from the highest part of the vessel, which is not removable, to the bottom of the keel or the lowest point of the vessel’s props and rudders. Height is one of the biggest factors in Boat Transportation Cost – but in cost overrun as well if the boat is taller than you thought. The ideal height is 12’ from the lowest point to the tallest point of the boat. This saves time and money for you and the driver.

To measure the beam of the boat, you measure the widest portion of the vessel and include anything that is attached to it alongside. The beam being wider than the driver thought based on the specs you provided can be one of the easiest way to damage the vessel. Nobody wants the boat arriving with damage. So get an accurate spec – it is so important.

Is your marina or boat yard equipped to load and unload your boat? Do they have an operating travel lift or fork lift with straps for loading and unloading? You need to know. If they do not, is there another operation close by that can accommodate your loading/unloading? Better find out. There is a very good chance your transporter may have calculated your Boat Transport Cost not figuring on his commercial style transport trailer not going into the water. If your driver puts his trailer in the water it is going to cost you for him to do so. These transports trailers travel thousands of miles in a season. Maintenance after the trailer goes in the water could mean hours of down time and hundreds of dollars for your driver. If he didn’t plan on putting the trailer in the water it is going to cost you.

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When inspecting your potential boat-have your smart phone charged and ready to take pictures and to take notes with, and most important bring a flashlight and a mirror helps for those hard to see spots.

After inspecting the vessel you will have your pictures and notes handy to ask the seller questions.

Survey the fit and finish of the boat. If it is a used boat does it seems to be cared for? Are there maintenance records available?

Start in the cockpit. Then the cabin/berth if there is one- what is the condition of the equipment and amenities? Good or poor? Hatches, doors, hardware and gaskets working properly? Having items refurbished &/or purchasing the materials for a watercraft is expensive. Then go on top. Side decks wide enough to walk? Are there hand hold? Are rails secure? Is the non-skid areas still satisfactory? At the helm, is your vision obstructed? Are you comfortable and happy at the wheel in the Captain’s chair? Is everything to operate the boat safely within easy reach? Is the wiring in good shape and neatly held out of the way? Are cushion there and in good shape? Sometimes they just need a good bath but this can be a clue as to how the boat in general was maintained!?! Breaker box easily accessible?

The hull can be tricky. No boat owner or captain wants you checking the hull with probes. But what is the general appearance and feel. Is it solid? Or if soft and spongy? Maybe you should walk away from this one.

Is the engine accessible? Or do you need to be a 125# gymnast? Items like oil and fuel filters should be easily accessible to change as well as being able to get to the raw-water pump. Or does the engine or parts of it have to be removed? Can you get to and inspect the fuel tank? If you cannot get to these items for inspection, more than likely the boat will be more expensive to maintain than one that you can get into for inspection and maintenance.

Have a clear understanding from the owner or captain as to what extras come with the boat or don’t. Such as fenders, lines, safety gear, cabin amenities, etc.

The exterior gel coating - is it in good shape without too many dents, dings and bumps? Can you see and ready the hull identification# (usually it is on the Starboard side imprinted in the gel at the rear)?

Obviously, you are going to take her on a sea trail with the Boat Owner, its Captain or Mechanic. Sometimes vessels must have the Captain drive due to the size or insurance purposes, but you should be allowed to get behind the wheel for a period of time to handle her with their immediate assistance. If the boat has a Head, use the potty while you are out on the water…

If it is a trailered boat, the trailer needs to be inspected too. Age of tires? Does it have rust spots? Have the wheels/bearings been serviced recently? Do the brakes, if it has brakes work? Lights all working? Safety strips in place? Can you read the VIN#?

Consider having a professional survey completed, your surveyor that you pay directly.

And of course is the significant other and/or the family in agreement? Does it meet their “want to have fun” expectations, too?

Things to consider and think about. Then we will be happy to assist you with your Small Boat Transport or your Yacht Transport for your new boat to her new home.

Lex Carroll
Flagship Boat Transport
252 445 1480

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If you are looking for a boat to live on, take the family for long weekend vacations on or want get in one spot and just enjoy what’s around on a day trip and head back to the docks…the beam should be as wide as you like and can afford. The wider the more room and comfort.

If not, go sleeker. If you like speed or it’s just you or one more and don’t need the space choose a slimmer vessel. Small Boat Transport is easier and faster for your Boat Movers and less expensive for you.

Whether you are a sail boater or a power boater it works the same way.

Just a few reasons to purchase a slimmer model.

  1. Easier and less expensive to transport
  2. Less expensive at the dock
  3. Sleeker is usually faster

Boat Transport can be expensive. If you want to reduce cost height and width are issues to think about.  You can reduce the height but you cannot reduce the beam. 

Look for a vessel that is 8.5’ wide if you are looking at runabouts and fast/fun boats.

If you need a large vessel stay at 12’ wide or less. Manystates don’t require an escorts or just 1 in a few.

Need something even bigger?  Try to keep the beam at 14’ or less. Yes even 1” makes a difference. This keeps double escorts away in almost every state.

Boat Transporters will be paying each escort cost roughly $2 a mile. This varies of course depending on your sector of the US. 

If the boat is wider than 14’ you may want to consider transporting by water or at least stay on the same coast.

Whatever you decide, talk with professionals for Boat Transport, not car haulers or online auction style websites.  Start with

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So your boat transport cost much more than you thought…here are some things that can reduce that cost. During this hopefully very short fuel crisis in the South this past week, cost of fuel has become a concern for us all with a southern drawl and those headed in that direction.

One way you can reduce some of those costs and potential surprise charges is to drain water and sewage from the boat. Admit it, there is already enough crap moving along the highways. Let’s not add to it.

It is not a good idea to transport your personal belongings in your boat. This not only adds weight but puts stress on your boat. Your boat is meant to float not be jarred along the highway loaded down with “stuff”. If you have a cabin with kitchen facilities you may want to box up dishes, pans, glasses, etc. and carry them by car if possible. (Don’t ask your driver to carry them in his truck this does not decrease the weight of the rig and space in a truck is already limited.) Don’t load the boat down with furniture and clothing or worse.

A boat loaded down with fuel can cost you money. If you are buying a new boat tell your broker to not fill it full of fuel, only enough to get you to a marina or where you can fill her up yourself at your dock or home. This adds to the weight which is costly to the driver in his/her fuel costs and can cause problems at weigh stations for the driver if the permits call for one weight and the rig and cargo is heavier than it should be. Excessive fuel can also be dangerous and could require a hazmat permit. But more important, safety first, not a good idea for anyone on the highway for the fuel tanks to be full.

Unnecessary weight can get the driver a ticket which is passed on to you or fuel surcharges by some transport companies.

Another safety issue is the truck/trailer sent to load your vessel is usually determined by the max the boat should weigh. One rig may not be adequate to accommodate your vessel and all the extras which can cause delays, extra charges and/or safety issues along the road.

Weight can be estimated by the published “dry weight” of your vessel and then adding the weight of equipment, attachments, fuel and personal belongings and a few extra hundred pounds for good luck. If you are not certain of the weight, if we have the year, make, and exact model we can help you determine the boats weight. If there are major concerns regarding the weight a weight ticket can be obtained along the road at the nearest facility, which is not the best situation but can avoid weight tickets and delays.

Height - another issue that increases the cost of boat transport. If a boat can be reduced that is being hauled on a transport trailer it is best to keep the height if possible to 12’ or less. Not only is it cost effective but legal height is 13.5’ in height including the transport trailer. If you can reduce the height of the boat you must and this will save you money on transport cost. So often we are told by boat owners that they do not want to reduce the height, well it not only in your best interest monetarily but is required to 13.5’ in height if at all possible. If the railing or arch or bridge or the radar dome can dome down then it must. “But that cost me to do that “, well it is going to cost you if you don’t by either the transport company, the states your boat passes through or both. These expenses vary greatly state to state, but they usually are quite expensive.

If your small boat transport is being towed on its own trailer – service it before your boat hauler arrives. Make sure the lights and brakes work (if brakes are required). Make sure you have a spare tire. One expensive repair and/or tow along the highway could have paid for new tires and service to your trailer. Also there is the delay that will cost your driver time and that will cost you money.

If Flagship Specialized Shippers - Boat Transport, may assist you with your questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 252-445-1480 or find us at

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