How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Boat?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Transporting a boat is the process of moving a boat from one location to another, and most of the time, the cost of transporting a boat will depend on the size of the boat, the geographical location, the company transporting, the point of origin and the distance traveled.

Boat transporter by Simon_sees, on Flickr
Boat transporter” (CC BY 2.0) by Simon_sees

How much does it cost to transport a boat per mile?

On average, a 28 to 40-foot boat will cost $1.50 to $3.50 per mile.  We reached out to professional shippers across the United States and included the quotes we received inside our table below.   Most of the quotes, we had found, were often less than $2 per mile, with origins from the west going to the east side of the United States being 20 to 30 percent less than east to west.

On this BoateRed.com forum thread, members talked about what they had paid to have their boat transported.  For example, one person paid $6,000 to have a 45-foot boat shipped from North Carolina to Louisiana.  Another paid $3,400 for a 31-foot boat to be shipped from Florida to Wisconsin, which turned out to be $2.12 per mile.

BoatHaulingUS.com, a company based in Minnesota, charges anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50 per mile.  A boat up to 8’6” will cost $1.50, while a boat over 12 feet can cost more than $2.50 per mile.

Size of Boat (feet)OriginDestinationPrice Quoted
22Houston, TXBoise, ID$1,600
33Chicago, ILPhoenix, AZ$900
34Miami, FLNewark, NJ$3,500
13Newport Beach, CABoston, MA$2,100
23New York, NYSeattle, WA$3,600
17Ft. Myers, FLAtlanta, GA$450
23Clearwater, FLCincinnati, OH$1,300

Boat transportation overview

Depending on the demands, the shipper that arrives on the location will shrink wrap the boat and assess it for any damage.  Upon wrapping the boat, it will be placed on a trailer, where it will then be taken to its destination.  Depending on the size of the boat, some will have to be broken down so that they meet local state laws for road travel.

Upon arrival, the boat can be hoisted into the water by the marina or it can be stored offshore at a local storage facility.  This comes down to your personal preference.

The company should provide you with some type of guarantee that the boat will get there in a certain amount of time with no damage done to the boat.

What are the extra costs?

If the boat is oversized, most states will require permits to legally transport it on the road.  If the boat has to be transported across state lines, multiple permits will have to be pulled. and depending on the state, permits can average anywhere from $100 to $300 per states.  Keep in mind most states have a height limit of 13’6″.

Fuel prices can often affect the mileage price.  If the gas prices are high, plan on spending more per mile.

Contractors may charge additional fees on top of the shipping.  This can include the unloading, traveling to the beginning location and back to the company base while the trailer is empty, storage, mast unstepping (if necessary because of boat size) and more.  Most are going to charge anywhere from $70 to $100 per hour for these kinds of services.

Some customers choose to tip the driver who did the job.

Tips to know:

When calling any boat hauling company, you are going to be asked for the following information:  The boat manufacturer, length, width, height, the length of the mast, where it needs to be shipped from and to, the date of service and if it is inboard or outboard.  With this information, most companies should be able to offer an instant quote over the phone or online.

When choosing a carrier, always ask for their US DOT Number, insurance certifications, and always ask for a referral.

To make sure that the trip is safe, most companies will ask that you have as little fuel as possible in the boat.

The reason that the boat transporter checks the boat for damage before he or she loads the boat is so that the owner cannot accuse the company of damaging the boat.  If there are any dings or scratches, the company will note the damage ahead of time so they can prove it was not caused during the transport.

If you have boat insurance, check to see if it covers the boat while traveling.  If it does, then any damage that may occur during transfer will not be solely your responsibility.

How can I save money?

If the shipping charges sound too high, you may just want to consider selling the boat and buying one at your new location.  With larger boats, this can often be the cheapest route to take.  This may not be a viable option if the boat has sentimental value, such as a family heirloom.

Booking in advance, according to BoatingMag.com, can save you money.


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