A Compact Guide To Interstate Boat Transport

Moving from state to state is easy if is just you & your belongings. Although it is more common that a whole family will move and they need to transport themselves and their belongings, including their vehicle and boat across a country.

The most common  reasons for needing interstate boat transport:

  • These people may have bought their boat in another state and would like to have it transferred to where they live.
  • They’d like to go cross-country on a seaside vacation and bring their boat.
  • They’re about to relocate and want to relocate their vessel to their new home interstate.

Most boat owners have small vessels like motorboats, sailboats, and personal watercraft that could be towed by a vehicle, but larger ones that are 20 foot or longer need professional assistance. You may already have or plan to have one of these. If you’re planning to transport your precious boat, read and follow this guide to ensure its successful and safe transportation.

1. Methods Of Transport

You have several options to take when you want to transport your boat cross-country. One is hiring professional boat haulers where your watercraft will undergo interstate travel via a truck. The company will put the boat on their heavy duty trailer or a flatbed where they will secure it for the trip. It’s one of the cheapest and fastest methods, but safety depends on the reputation of the hauler. So, ensure that you search for creditable transport companies to help with the move and who have experience hauling heavy loads interstate for long distances.

Another option is doing it yourself. If you have a strong enough vehicle to tow your boat cross-country, you can do that instead. You can put it in its trailer and haul it where you need to go. The only disadvantage is when you have to traverse changing terrain in harsh weather. It’s the most affordable option, but if you care about your boat, it’s best to let the professionals handle it.

If you don’t mind your boat traveling its element to go to another state, you could transport it by another water vessel. Options include roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ships. If you are looking for a reliable boat shipping service provider, go to A-1 Auto Transport. It’s the perfect method if you have a slightly bigger boat. It’ll cost you extra, but most of the time, the companies who provide this service have decades of interstate boat transport experience and will ensure your boat gets from Point A to Point B safely.

2. Costs

The cost of transporting your boat depends on a couple of factors:

  • The weight and measurements of the boat
  • The value of the vessel and insurance
  • Any additional services
  • The transport method
  • The travel distance and time required

Different companies will have different interstate boat transport rates. You may see one offering around USD$3.75 per mile for a twelve-foot boat but larger ones that are 20, 30, 40 foot or larger will be more expensive due to their size, the risk involved and you may even need pilot vehicles to navigate the roads safely with an oversize load. Check the rates offered by the company you’re considering, and try multiplying the travel distance by the value of your boat’s length. The result will be an estimation of how much you need to pay.

Feel free to request a quote from the company if you want to know more. Make sure you have your boat’s dimensions, and the estimated distance of the trip noted down since they will ask you about this. Request quotes from at least three different transport companies so you can choose the best deal among them.

3. Preparations Before Travel

This step should be easy if you always prepare a checklist before traveling out of town or internationally. However, some slight differences exist with preparing for interstate boat transport. Here are the points you need to take note of:

  • Insurance: Inform your marine insurance provider that you’ll be transporting your vessel cross-country.
  • Dimensions: Ensure the measurements for the boat’s height, length, and width are accurate.
  • Pick-Up Information: The team in charge of picking up your boat must know all the essential information about your boat and the journey, including traffic and the time you want them to arrive.
  • Drain: The boat must be completely drained of water and fuel.
  • Tarp: Tarping isn’t necessary, but it’s advisable if you want to protect your boat from debris.
  • Lock: Make sure all doors and openings are closed and locked shut.
  • Stow Away: Boat parts like windshields, propellers, and anything loose or jutting out must be stowed away before traveling. Any plugs and electrical devices must also be unplugged.

Don’t forget to take photos of all angles of your boat. It’s not only for the transport company’s knowledge and understanding but also for yours. Photos are the best proof of your boat’s condition before the trip. You can compare the before and after once it reaches the destination.

When in doubt, ask for a list of requirements and restrictions from the transport company months before the scheduled trip. You can base your checklist from there so you have all the complete details before leaving.

4. Extra Services

Some companies may provide additional services to ensure your boat is secure for travel. Extras may include shrink wrapping, which you can do at home. But if you’re pressed for time, the transport company could offer to do it.

They may also provide tracking methods for your boat while it’s away since you’re most likely not going to follow the haulers to the destination. Ask the company if they have this service so you can track your vessel 24/7.

Even if you have existing insurance for your boat, it’s also best to have insurance to cover the trip. The transport company might offer that. If they do, request it so your vessel can have additional protection.


Interstate boat transport is a process you must prepare for if you want the vessel to stay intact during the journey. Hopefully, this guide can give you a general view of what you should expect and help you decide on a transport method that’s right for you and your boat.