How to prepare your boat for transport

Preparing a boat for moving is a daunting task. There are many things to consider, and many variables in play.  However, it isn’t some insurmountable task. Sure, it takes a lot of planning and taking a lot of considerations in mind. However, if you take it easy, and follow the steps we outlined here, you will be just fine. So, without further ado, welcome to our article on how to prepare your boat for transport.


In every move, planning is key. When it comes to something as complicated as having to prepare your boat for transport, planning becomes even more important. There are just so many things to keep in mind and to think or even stress about. Therefore, to avoid that stress, it is advisable to start planning for the relocation of your boat weeks in advance. Unlike a house, a boat is something that most people can’t move by themselves. Especially the larger ones.  Even if you have a boat trailer, you will need help getting the boat out of the water. So, think about your schedule and how much time you can put aside to prepare your boat for transport.

A yacht docking into a marina
Choose the right marina for your boat relocation needs

Depending on the size of your boat, these might take a whole day. Therefore its advisable to think in terms of weekends. Of course, you can have other people prepare your boat for transport for you. It’s a cost, but it will save you a lot of hassle. Typically, boat moving companies will not prepare your boat for transport. However, marina or boatyard personnel will, as long as the boat is on their property. Choosing the right marina is important for another reason as well. You want to find one with enough clearance above, that when your boat gets towed out of the water it doesn’t snag on any obstacles like leaves or cables.

Finding the right movers

Just like with car transport services, finding good movers to help relocate your boat is very important. Also, a good boat moving company can arrange for you a full-service marina or a surveyor to help prepare your boat for transport. Finally, when moving something as valuable as a boat it is only smart to leave it in the hands of only the best professionals.

Two people shaking hands. Reliable movers can give you advice on how to prepare your boat for transport
When it comes to moving something as valuable as a boat it’s very important to find reliable movers

Ask around the marina or your local yachting club. Chances are you will meet someone who has used boat moving services before and can make you a recommendation. Reliable movers will leave a good reputation in their wake. Also, by talking to people that had their boats moved you can find out which moving companies to avoid. Either way, when you’ve found your moving company of choice, it will be time to inform them of your boat’s specifications so they can give you a moving quote.

How to measure your boat properly

In order for moving companies to give you the moving quote for your boat, you should provide them with two sets of information. First off, your boat model, so they can know what they’re dealing with. Secondly, you want to provide them with the proper measurements of your boat. These include height, width, and length.

Height – to measure your boat’s height measure from the tip of the propeller to the highest point of the highest non-removable item you have on it. If your bridge can be removed, provide the measurements with and without the bridge included. The point of all this is to help your movers plot the best route for your boat, due to the maximum height of overpasses.

Width – the beam or width of a boat is measured at the widest point of the boat and just like length, should include anything attached to the boat.

Length – to properly pick a trailer for moving your boat, the moving company will need the length of it as well. The length of your boat should be measured from the tip of the fore right down to the end of the aft. This includes anything attached like motors, swim platforms etc.

Things to think about when you prepare your boat for transport

Finally, there are some things you will need to consider regardless if you’re moving the boat yourself or having a moving company move it for you

Clear out the boat

Something experienced interstate movers can tell you is that a move can be as rough as high seas, on the items inside your boat. Therefore its very important that you remove any loose items you might have in your boat. Anything that can move can cause potential damage to your boat. Also, it is a smart idea to latch all your windows and shut and tape any hatches. The idea here is to prevent water from coming into your boat during transport. All internal doors should be taped shut as well, to prevent them from slamming during transport. Additionally, any removable parts on the outside should be removed as the moving company won’t take responsibility for their damage in transit. These may include:

  • Antennae
  • Radar
  • Flag masts
  • Anchors
  • Horns
  • Anchor lights
  • Dhingy

After removing these secure them inside the boat for transport.

The inside of a boat
One of the things you must do to prepare your boat for transport is to clear out all loose items inside.

Technical things to do to prepare your boat for transport

Another thing you should do to prepare your boat for transport is to deal with the more technical side. To make it safer and lighter for transport, empty all fuel and water tanks while leaving just enough to get your boat to and from transport. Power down everything and unplug the cables to prevent the battery from draining in transport. Finally, depending on the type of your boat apply protective substances to exposed surfaces. After these precautions, your boat will be safe for transport. Also, with your boat being lighter will mean that your moving quote should be lower.

Watch out for Zebra mussels

Last but not least, watch out for Zebra mussels. If you are moving interstate from one of the infected areas, the DOT officers will check your boat for Zebra mussels at a weighing station. If the DOT officers find the mussels on your boat, they will likely impound it. They are fingernail-sized so apart from the hull you must check any through-the-hull fittings where they could have slipped in. Generally, there are two ways to remove them. By using hot water and by putting your boat in salt water before transporting it to a freshwater area.

Prepare your boat for transport without fear

Looking through all this you might have noticed that to prepare your boat for transport you must go through many steps. However, this is no reason to fear. Even though every boat type and variety will need specific steps, reading through our article you should have gotten an idea of all the things you will need to do. So, keep your calm, do your research and your move will go down like smooth sailing!

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