Transporting Your Yacht

Transporting a Yacht

If you’re moving across the country with your seafaring vessel, you need a yacht shipping service to help you safely transport your craft. This service handles much of the hard work for you, especially when it comes to loading and unloading your yacht. However, there are several things you can do as a boat owner to make the transportation company’s job easier and protect your vessel in the process.

That’s where this article comes in. Here, we look at some key steps to take when preparing your yacht for transportation.

Step No. 1 – Obtain Appropriate Insurance

Good yacht shipping services already offer some protection in the form of liability insurance. This typically covers you against damages up to a certain amount, though it only applies to the transportation process. Damage to equipment stored in the yacht usually isn’t covered. Plus, you may find that the liability insurance provided doesn’t cover the yacht’s full value.

Speak to your transportation company and ask for their Certificate of Insurance. This document tells you what’s covered. If you don’t believe the boat transportation service company’s existing coverage is strong enough, seek yacht insurance of your own.

Step No. 2 – Secure Everything

With insurance handled, your next step is to prepare the yacht for shipping. Whether the yacht is transported over land or via water, it’s going to be in for a bumpy ride. That means you need to secure everything inside the vessel.

The best approach to this task is to treat the shipping process as though it’s an ocean voyage. Secure anything that extends beyond the hull or is loose inside your cabin. Close and lock all hatches, windows, and doors. It’s a good idea to secure these openings with tape to prevent them from flying open, especially if your vessel is being transported over water. You can learn more about specific steps to take when preparing your yacht at

Step No. 3 – Obtain the Yacht’s Specifications

Your transportation company needs to understand the yacht’s key specifications, particularly its size, to transport it safely. If you don’t have these specifications available, you must take measurements yourself. Larger boats that may go overland may need special oversize boat services such as an escort vehicle . Sailboats or a wooden boat may require special handling from the carrier.

Weight is a key component here. You won’t be able to weigh the vessel yourself. However, you can find its weight in your yacht’s stability book. Note that you’re looking specifically for the vessel’s displacement rather than its tonnage. The displacement measurement is calculated using Archimedes’ Principle to figure out how much water the vessel displaces when in use. This is then converted into its true weight.

Step No. 4 – Check for Restricted Items

As a rule, you should remove any personal items from your yacht before shipping. These items are usually not covered by a transportation company’s insurance policy, meaning you won’t be able to make a claim if they’re lost or stolen.

Assuming you’re willing to take that risk and wish to leave some personal items in the yacht for convenience’s sake, ask your shipper for its restricted items list. Most companies have a list of items that they either refuse to carry or that can only be transported if they meet specific requirements. Usually, this list includes items like firearms, flammable liquids, preserves, live plants, and anything that could pollute the environment, such as paints and oils. Clear these items from your yacht to ensure the voyage goes as smoothly as possible.

Step No. 5 – Inspect Your Yacht

You need to know your yacht’s condition before you hand it over to the transportation company. This ensures you can spot any damage that occurs while the vessel is in transit, providing you with the grounds to make an insurance claim if necessary.

Ideally, you’ll take the time to clean the yacht. Doing so reveals any pre-existing scratches, dings, or marks. Document this damage using written notes and photographs, particularly photographs of the vessel’s interior and exterior. Make copies of these photos for yourself and your transportation company. The documents act as a general inventory that demonstrates the yacht’s condition before it was shipped. You can then check against your photos and notes when you take receipt of the vessel to ensure no additional damage has occurred.

Step No. 6 – Lighten the Load

Your yacht’s displacement measurements are affected by anything stored inside the vessel. Your goal is to lighten the load as much as possible. Removing all your personal items from the yacht is a good first step. But you should also pay attention to the vessel’s fuel and water loads.

Empty your grey and blackwater tanks before shipping. Do the same for your fuel tank, as far as possible. If you’re able to fully empty all tanks, consider flushing them with a chlorine bleach solution to get rid of bacteria and create a more hygienic internal environment. This will ensure your vessel arrives back to you in a sanitary condition.

Lightening the load has a practical impact in terms of how much you spend too. Most transportation companies base their rates on the size and weight of your vessel. By taking steps to reduce your yacht’s weight, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars.

Step No. 7 – Power Down

You don’t want the yacht’s battery connected and running when your yacht is in transit. In addition to creating potential battery leak issues, leaving the power running costs money and could lead to your vessel arriving with a dead battery.

Unplug all your batteries and store your electrical cables somewhere safe. It’s a good idea to label these cables so you’re able to connect them again quickly.

Get Ready for a Safe Journey

The more effort you put into preparing your yacht for transit, the safer you can expect the journey to be. Your transportation company will be able to focus on the important tasks of loading, transporting, and unloading the vessel without worrying about loose cargo or dealing with weight issues.

Preparing your boat also means you’re more likely to receive it in good condition ready for a boat show or heading out to North Carolina on the east coast or that trip to Hawaii from San Diego on the west coast. Even something as simple as a cabinet door left unsecured can cause dings and dents. The door could even detach during a rough journey, leaving you with a costly repair bill and making the boat move a bad experience. By taking a little time to prepare your vessel for the boat transportation service, you make the transportation process smoother and can get back on the water in no time.