A boat is an expensive investment that can often be tricky to transport if the owner does not have a vehicle and trailer capable of hauling it. Boat transportation services are designed for consumers who want safe and efficient shipping.

Because boat transportation is a complicated process involving expensive cargo, consumers will want to make sure their boats are protected by finding a reputable, dependable company to ship their boat along their chosen route.

Top 10 Best Rated Boat Transport Companies

We Will Transport It got its start in 2009 specializing in transport services. They ship various vehicles and heavy equipment including automobiles, boats, yachts, oversized construction equipment and fifth wheel vehicles.
Owned and operated by United States veterans, Boats Express has been transporting boats across the U.S. since 1991. They offer not only transportation but also services like cleaning, wrapping and building custom boat cradles.
Boatmovers.com, or Showroom Transport, has been transporting boats and recreational watercraft since 1994. As a nationwide company, they pride themselves on fast, safe transportation across the continental United States.
DAS organizes pick-up and shipment for a variety of vehicles and large hauls, including airplanes, boats and recreational vehicles. Their fleet of 150 multiple-car carriers plus flatbeds can deliver anywhere in the US.

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What features matter most in boat transportation?

General preparations

Before a boat can be transported, the shipper needs to prepare it. Most shipping companies offer quotes only after consumers provide them with the proper information.

  • Measurements: Knowing the exact size of the boat and trailer to be shipped is key to getting a useful estimate. A consumer should always measure their boat’s length (from bow to the center of the stern), height (from the bottom of the keel to the highest part of the boat) and beam (across the widest part of the boat). Accurate measurements lead to more accurate shipping quotes.
  • Plan the shipping route: Shipping boats across state borders often means paying for tolls. Shipping internationally also means that consumers will need to provide a host of custom forms subject to fees and taxes depending on the countries’ laws. Therefore, it is always a good idea to research the shipping route and to notify the shipping company accordingly.
  • Remove coverings: Shippers will usually request any boat snap-on canvas covers to be removed. These can come off or become damaged easily during transportation, so they are best stored inside the boat’s storage areas.

Protecting the boat

Keeping the boat protected, either by wrapping it to protect it from small dings and weather or by paying for some extra insurance, may be a chief concern for protective consumers. Most shipping companies will recommend taking a few extra measures to ensure the cargo is protected.

  • Insurance: Many shipping companies provide quotes with insurance already built into them, but, depending on the route the boat will take, additional insurance may be a good option.
  • Shrink wrap: Though canvas coverings should be removed, a consumer can use heavy duty shrink wrap to protect their boat from weather or small bits of debris that may cause slight damage in transport.

Extra services

Shipping companies that specialize in boat transportation often offer other services as well. Consumers should always look at the extra options to make sure they get the most out of their shipping experience.

  • Professional wrapping service: If the consumer does not have shrink wrap on hand, many transportation companies offer to wrap the boat themselves. This service will vary across companies, and price may depend on the size of vessel being wrapped.
  • Tracking: A few shipping companies allow consumers to track and monitor their boat as it moves toward its destination. Consumers wanting to follow their boat should ask a shipping company if it provides tracking support through GPS apps.

Company-provided trailers

Overland shipping requires the use of a trailer. For consumers who are shipping a boat from a harbor or who have purchased a boat without a trailer, transportation companies often have trailers on hand.

  • Adjustable trailers: Because boats come in all sizes, companies often use trailers that can adjust to accommodate various types of vessels.
  • Custom cradles: Some companies that do not have a large fleet of trucks and trailers available at their disposal will offer to build custom cradles to fit the consumer’s boat. These cradles keep the boat securely on its trailer for transportation.

Company qualifications

Few aspects matter more than a company’s qualifications when evaluating options for shipping boats. Consumers should make sure the company they work with has a good reputation and qualifications.

  • Licensed: For a shipping company to be licensed, it must be legally recognized as an entity. Fully-licensed shippers have multiple licenses from various state agencies, and some shippers will verify their licenses upon request.
  • Bonded: Bonding means that shippers are required to fulfill their contracts with consumers. A bond protects the consumer, allowing them to be reimbursed if the shipper does not perform its required service.
  • Insured: Shippers that are insured have their cargo protected in case of an accident. However, insured shippers vary regarding coverage. A consumer should make sure they have all the insurance information available in case they decide they need extra coverage.

Pricing

Boats are expensive investments, and shipping them can cost a fair amount of money. Consumers should make sure their payments are secure, and sometimes shopping around yields better deals.

  • Online or instant quotes: With the right information, shipping companies can offer quotes instantly. Consumers with accurate measurements and planned routes can get immediate help with a quote either online or over the phone.
  • Online marketplaces: If the consumer prefers shipping companies to compete for their business, online marketplaces allow the consumer see various bids for services. Here, the consumer can compare prices, though information about the shipping companies may be limited.
  • Payment options: The best kind of payment is a secure one. Consumers should always make sure the companies they choose prioritize secure payments through checks or online transactions.

What are different types of boat transportation?

Overland

Overland boat transportation refers to shipping a boat across land. Overland transportation companies require a trailer for the consumer’s boat, though some can build custom trailers and cradles if the consumer does not have one. Overland transportation may be subject to fees for transporting cargo across state and international borders.

Oversea

Oversea transportation is mostly used for international shipping. For oversea transportation, services load the consumer’s boat onto a ship for safe transport. If the consumer needs their boat moved across a relatively short distance, some services have captains for hire that can move the consumer’s boat between harbors.

Air shipping

Some companies have access to cargo planes for transporting boats. It is often more efficient to ship by land or sea (not to mention less costly), but for smaller boats or specialty boat parts, like masts for sailboats and yachts, a cargo plane may be viable option.

Who's it for?

New boat owners

Sometimes, consumers have to travel out of state or even to other countries to purchase a boat they want. A boat transportation service can make sure their boat arrives where it needs to after it is purchased.

Showroom promoters

Boat shows circulate all over the country, and showroom promoters often move several boats at a time. An insured shipping company can help promoters move their inventory securely and efficiently.

People relocating

When boat owners are moving across long distances, a boat transportation service can help move their boat to their new homes.

Vacationers

Boat owners who want to take their boats on vacation can have their boats shipped to local harbors or docks. This way, the owner does not have to haul the boat themselves.

Boat dealer

Boat owners who want to take their boats on vacation can have their boats shipped to local harbors or docks. This way, the owner does not have to haul the boat themselves.

Company reviews

  • We Will Transport It

    We Will Transport It specializes in transporting and shipping all types of vehicles, boats and heavy equipment. They have a list of licensed and insured auto transportation companies that they work with, allowing them to provide consumers with multiple quotes so they can choose the best option based on their transport needs.

    • Best for Consumers who need to transport oversized vehicles or boats domestically or internationally.
  • Boatmovers.com

    Boatmovers.com (also known as Showroom Transport) has been in the business of transporting boats and jet skis since 1994.

    • Best for Boatmovers.com is best for consumers transporting a boat or recreational watercraft in the continental United States.
  • uShip

    uShip is an online marketplace that connects consumers to transportation services around the globe.

    • Global marketplace: Though its central location is in Austin, Texas, uShip has localized sites in Canada, the United Kingdom, South America and Europe.
    • Companies bid for service: To use uShip, consumers fill out a form for the objects they want shipped, and shipping companies offer bids for the consumer’s business. Consumers then select a bid that they like for shipping their cargo.
    • Real-time tracking: Most carriers uShip recommends offer real-time status alerts and updates as your boat is in transport.
    • Trust and safety team: uShip has a dedicated trust and safety team that works to keep fraudulent members away from the site and to assist consumers when they suspect fraud on behalf of the shippers. uShip has a comprehensive guide for dealing with fraud.
    • Online application payment: uShip offers consumers the option of secure online payment. Eliminating cash or check transactions keeps money transfers secure while also offering the convenience of online or app-based payment.
    • Best for uShip is best for consumers who want to choose from multiple offers from potential shippers.

  • Boats Express

    Boats Express is one of the largest marine transportation companies operating in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

    • Best for Boats Express is best for consumers wanting to transport boats across the continental United States.
  • Express Boat Transport

    Express Boat Transport has been offering land and overseas boat transportation since 1998.

    • My quote: Express Boat Transport offers free quote service to consumers. After submitting information online or through their toll-free phone line, the consumer receives a shipping estimate for their boat.
    • The Captain’s Log: The featured blog of Express Boat Transport’s website is called the Captain’s Log. It is updated semi-regularly with information about boat transportation laws, customer reviews, success stories and general thoughts about boating.
    • Domestic and international shipping: Express Boat Transport handles both overland and overseas shipping services. Express Boat Transport ships overseas through their international shipping partners.
    • Shrink wrap and cradle service: Transporting boats (especially on international routes) may necessitate cradles or shrink wrap to ensure protection. Express Boat Transport offers custom cradle and shrink wrap services for consumers who want to take extra care of their boats.
    • Preparation tips: Express Boat Transport has an online checklist of final considerations to prepare a boat for transportation.
    • Best for Express Boat Transport is best for consumers looking to transport a boat domestically or internationally.

  • Joule Yacht Transport

    Joule Yacht Transport has been in operation since 1954. They specialize in transporting large boats across the United States.

    • Fully insured: Every job that Joule Yacht Transport takes is insured for $2,000,000 to assure that overland shipping is protected. Their insurance certificate is available upon request.
    • Float plan assistance: For consumers planning a boat trip, Joule Yacht Transport offers a free, printable float plan document to leave with someone in the event of problems at sea.
    • Prep guide and checklist: Joule Yacht Transport has a comprehensive guide and checklist for consumers who are preparing to ship their boats. Both guides are available to download from the website.
    • Adaptable trailers: Joule Yacht Transport uses adaptable trailers that can be customized to fit any haul job. They also have fabricators on staff that can modify a trailer or construct a new one to fit the consumer’s boat.
    • Links and databases: The Joule Yacht Transport website has a list of useful links to dealers, shipyards and manufacturers. These are useful for consumers buying a boat for the first time or for those trying to find a harbor for their boat.
    • Best for Best for Joule Yacht Transport is best for consumers looking for overland yacht transportation in the United States.

  • Peters & May Group

    The Peters & May Group has provided transportation logistics solutions across sea, air, road and railroad since 1988.

    • Global reach: In addition to its presence in the United Kingdom, The Peters & May Group has offices in the United States, Spain, China, Australia, Turkey and many other countries, expanding the company’s capabilities to a global reach.
    • Land, sea or air transportation: Peters & May delivers over 8,000 powerboats, sailboats, yachts and other watercraft through any means of transportation. With shipping clients that perform services by land, sea or air, Peters & May offers consumers options for how they want their vessels shipped.
    • Racing team logistics: Peters & May Racing Division delivers specialist support to consumers involved in the global motorsport racing circuit. Their logistics team has worked with several internationally recognized race teams and event organizers.
    • VAT and customs service: With years of experience in international trade, Peters & May offers up-to-date advice about trade and transportation through their Value-added tax (VAT) and customs advisory team.
    • Shipping options for overseas routes: Peters & May can ship yachts and large boats through a variety of means on the sea. Liner vessels, charter vessels and submersible vessels are available to ship consumers’ boats at their request.
    • Best for Peters & May is best for shipping luxury vessels internationally.

  • Sevenstar Yacht Transport

    Sevenstar Yacht Transport is a worldwide yacht shipping company with offices around the globe.

    • International transporter of used and new yachts: Sevenstar’s international reach allows them access to ship used and new yachts from all over the world. Because some of the best deals on pre-owned yachts are found in foreign markets, Sevenstar is familiar with customs requirements to make international shipping easier for the consumer.
    • Loading details: Sevenstar Yacht Transport has a page on their website dedicated to detailing their loading process. These pictures and descriptions gives consumers a better idea of the services Sevenstar Yacht Transport performs, and there are also several videos on the site about yacht transportation.
    • Transport insurance: Sevenstar Yachts includes All Risk insurance in each quote they offer consumers. They have partnered with Pantaenius and Naucsch, Hogan & Murray, Inc. to offer insurance and optional legal liability insurance.
    • Racing team partner: The Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics team is a trusted racing partner. They provide detailed planning for the consumer’s needs and full support between racing events.
    • Access to large fleet: Sevenstar operates under the umbrella of the Spliethoff Group, a conglomerate with a fleet of over 120 shipping vessels that range from 2,100 to 23,000 tons. Sevenstar has access to the ships in this fleet.
    • Best for Sevenstar Yacht Transport is best for yacht owners transporting their vessels across long distances.

  • Interstate Haulers

    Interstate haulers, a family-owned, U.S. company, has been transporting boats and other vehicles nationwide since 1997.

    • Quote guarantee: After consumers request a quote online or over the phone, assuming the information given is correct, Interstate Haulers promises that there will be no surprises or extra charges when the boat is delivered.
    • How to choose a transport company guide: The Interstate Haulers website contains a list of consumer considerations when choosing a shipping company. It has useful information about checking a potential shipper’s authority, looking out for permits and identifying questionable offers.
    • Hauls all boat types: Interstate Haulers ships powerboats, yachts, sailboats and small boats. The website has a page dedicated to each boat type with a list of considerations for consumers to prepare for shipping.
    • Focus on customer service: Interstate Haulers knows that shipping boats can be stressful, which is why the company focuses on directness and customer service. The staff takes pride in being professional, available and reliable.
    • RV and freight transport: Though they specialize in boat transportation, Interstate Haulers also offers RV and freight transport.
    • Best for Interstate Haulers is best for consumers shipping their boats across the United States.