If you have never before utilized a professional boat transport company to move your watercraft, there are some boat shipping tips that can help you make the procedure easier for all parties involved. It is best to start the planning process as early as possible, preferably as soon as you know you will need to ship the boat. The more time you allow on the front-end, the less stress you will deal with later on. It also gives you more bargaining power when contacting the different companies to obtain quotes if you have plenty of notice. Furthermore, planning ahead often allows for greater flexibility with dates and timeframes required to get the boat to its final destination, which also provides a greater margin for negotiation.
- You will find that in most cases, professional help will be the most beneficial option. There are many risks of damages involved if you attempt to travel with your boat in tow, and these risks can be greatly alleviated with the assistance of a specialist. Of course, if your transport needs are from a dock on one side of town to a different dock on the opposite side of town, and you have the proper equipment, it would probably be in your best interest to move the boat yourself.
- It is important to hire a reputable company with considerable experience in boat shipping. Because every boat is different, a competent company will have the necessary equipment and know-how to ship your watercraft without any issues. Shop around until you find someone who has good online reviews (the BBB is a great place to check) and can provide you with recent references. Remember, that no matter how great the company you select is, they will not be responsible for preparing your boat for transport (with the exception of a pre-ship inspection and cursory look around in most cases).
- Although your personal belongings must be removed for both safety and liability, it is crucial that you also secure anything loose on deck or in the cabin. Inspect your hatches, secure locker doors, and if necessary, lash things to the deck. Always keep the cabin locked up to avoid anything being mishandled or coming unfastened.
- Protect your boat’s hull and rigging as well, by securing them prior to transport. Make sure to secure all electronics, masts, and windshields. It is probably in your best interest to remove and secure all detachable items, either below deck, or off the boat entirely, in order to protect them from impact due to travel.
- Finally, a clean boat is easier to inspect before departure, which allows for a more thorough examination. A representative from the company and yourself (or your agent) will need to take note of any prior damage or blemishes on the exterior of the watercraft, in order to properly assign liability in the rare case of an accident. This assessment is designed to protect both the insurance interest of the company and you and your boat in the case of the unavoidable. Do keep in mind that the boat will not arrive in same pristine condition after a long road trip, so some dirt and travel evidence is to be expected.
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