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post #2 of Old 12-22-2003
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Anyone ship a yacht on a freighter?

I had gone through a thorough investigation approximately 2 years ago when I was thinking of shipping a boat from South Africa to the US. I had decided that I wanted a very specific model that was quite common and cheap in South Africa but pretty rare and expensive in the States. What I found is:
-There are a relatively limited number of companies that are willing to take a boat aboard as cargo.
-Those that were willing were quite expensive.
-A boat with a beam in excess of 3 meters costs a premium to ship.
-There are a lot of hidden costs such as the cost of building a shipping cradle, and then disposing of the cradle in the States.
-A good shipping agent familiar with the laws of both countries is worth every penny and then some.
-Boats built for use in some other country generally do not meet US standards and will require a second survey and upgrading when they get to the States in order to get insurance.
-You will incur trucking expenses at both ends of the trip because the boat has to arrive on a truck, fully packed and ready to go on its cradle and be offloaded onto a truck at the other end.
-A fairly high percentage of boats shipped are entered and items stolen.
-If you are buying a boat in the US and the broker discribed the condition being better than it is, that can be expensive, but when the boat is half the world away that is really expensive. (I actually had a contact in South Africa who went and checked out one of the boats first and waved us off).
-Insurance is pretty expensive unless you have a large deductable for pilferage.
-There can be ''port fees'' at both ends of the trip that can equal the duties but that these can vary with the ship, shipping lines and the actual port and terminal where you ship to.
-It can save some money if you are willing to be flexible with the departure date.
-Delivery on its own bottom may be cheaper but is far more risky.
-In the end it just was not worth it because no matter how cheap the boat was, the costs and risks made it unacceptable to me.

I guess in the end it depends on the particular boat that you are buying. If it is a pretty rare model, at a really cheap price, in exceptionally good shape, this is the only boat in the world for you, and you are sure that it won''t be some white elephant when you get it to where ever you are shipping it, then perhaps this makes sense. Otherwise, buying a boat over seas and shipping it is a silly idea.

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