Originally Posted by WTPW
We need to have our sailboat trucked from Florida to Tacoma, Washington the first part of June and need help finding reliable companies that do this. Any information would be helpful at this point...ie costs, insurance, etc...
Trucking should be cheaper, it was way cheaper for us, saved thousands and results in sailing on both coasts in the same month!
I would suggest using USHIP.com as that worked out well for us. It does add costs but makes it much easier to compare companies and bids. There are ways to find out which company is bidding even though the site does not like that. PM me if you want more info.
You do not want the lowest bid, you want the best bid. Lowest is good for some folks. When off loading our boat there was a boat there that had been off loaded a few days before. They were very happy that their shipper was almost $2G cheaper. It did not bother them too much that the mast was damaged such that it will need a new section spliced in, the hull had scratches (not the buff out kind) from the straps, and other damage.
That kind of damage was totally unacceptable to me but it not uncommon and for many the low shipping cost is the #1 concern.
Prepping the boat is key. Everything stripped off that can be. Down below everything has to be wrapped and packed as it will get a shaking the sea could never give. The best shippers slow down for bumps but most do not and even slowing down does not prevent the hard impacts. A 3 thousand mile trip can be perfect except for that single pot hole hidden by a puddle.
Wax the boat! We couldn't do that, know we needed it but weather decided otherwise. Wax will collect all the road grime, tar and truck exhaust. Easy to strip and rewax. Not so easy to clean road grime off gelcoat.
Plastic wrap every thing, home moving supplies will have hand size plastic wrap about 6" and large rolls. Get lots of carpet for padding.
I would also recommend travelling with the load. Most shippers will balk at that, the best will welcome it. You can run interference, call back with info on road closures and construction though I guess it helps if you have done that before.
Traveling with the boat enables you to accept the changes to the route or schedule and then arrive early and ensure the yard is ready for the boat. Done well the load can arrive and be off loaded and the truck on it's way in just a couple hours, less even.
For success, like all such ventures, planning is key as well as staying on top of the situation. You are the general contractor, you pay the bills, you call the shots so do not be afraid to ask questions, understand the roles and responsibilties of everyone, and chances are you will have a great trip.
On the other hand, if you want to just hand over some money, as little as possible, and hope that everyone will do a good job you will more likely, IMO, just be adding to the horror stories....of course that could happen anyway.
Insurance is tricky. The owner with the mast repair thought the boat was insured, the company said they had insurance and they did but just for the truck and 3rd party, not for damages or repairs. You want it in writing as to what happens, who pays, when the boat ends up in the ditch. Of course there is money to be saved if you accept that responsibility.
Having the shipper cross the border with the load will add cost. We saved considerable money by off loading in Washington and sailing across.
Overland shipping is such a great option that at some point I'm sure I'll get a trailer again. Our past boats had trailers and it makes for great shipping and storage. It is always best to drive the truck yourself too.