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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never had to move a boat over land before, so I am curious - what are the issues, costs, etc, associated with moving a boat over land. No specific boat, but assume 30'ish in length, heavy. What is the upper limit on size ? There must be some limit for travel on the interstate highways, etc, are you approaching it in the 30 to 40 foot range ? What are the primary factors that determine cost ? Thank you for any help. :)
 

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Interstate highways and major US routes can readily accomodate trailers up to 70' long x 14' wide x 14' high. Hight is the biggie. Once you get a boat deeper than about 11' you're getting into specific route planning based on height. Getting to a major higway is usually the interesting part. Most boatyards can give you details on their access from/to the nearest interstate. Most can also give you a reference for a good mover.

I got an estimate from a boat mover I found on the internet to move a Catalina 30 (30'x11'x10'x11,000lbs) from Detroit to Baltimore. That was about 6 months ago, and the bid was $4,000.

I wound up buying a Catalina 30 in NC. I had it trucked about one mile across town to a storage yard. The boat went straight off the travel lift onto the trailer, no problem. The trucker had it loaded in about 10 minutes.

I'm having her trucked from NC to Baltimore early March, so I'll probably be able to tell you a lot more then.
 

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I had Sequitur trucked from Alachua in north-central Florida to Vancouver in late January 2007. The load on the trailer was 63' long (because of the mast) by 14'-9" wide, and her lead keel was removed so she could nestle down into the low-rider trailor and make it under the overpasses. It took six days and three pilot cars (one in the front and two in the rear), and cost $10,000.

 

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Here's my problem and tentative plans...

I'm in the market for an offshore boat of a specific make in the 36' foot range. Although Seattle is one of the larger boating capitols, offshore cruisers are fairly rare around these parts, and odds are, I'll have to go East for my purchase.

I have had approximated quotes to haul a 36' sailboat west from say NY to Seattle in the $9K range (excluding any decommissioning), and approximately $7K from the Michigan/Great Lakes area.

Another option, and the one I will probably be choosing, is to have a trailer built (most likely by Sailboat Transporter Trailers) for around $8K and pick the vessel up myself. If I combine this excursion with a mini vacation, the trailer is almost free, and I now have the ability to haul her out and take her home for any major rework.
 

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Get your quote in writing, and video tape the verbal agreement. I had a company move my boat 2 mile to another yard, and when it came time to pay they attempted to charge an additional 50%. The short hidden video helped prove my point, however they still tried intimidating me to pay more even after being presented with the tape.
 

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to haul a 36' sailboat west from say NY to Seattle ..... have a trailer built .... pick the vessel up myself
Let's see now, a 36' foot boat at say 15,000 pounds loaded on a trailor strong enough to safely carry it across the continent is going to need a prety hefty towing vehicle. Your family sedan certainly won't cut it, nor will a beefy pick-up; you'll need a proper tractor, and unless you have one, you might want to re-calculate. :)
 

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....you might want to re-calculate. :)
Actually, you may wanna do some research. :)

I own a one-ton PSD.

Based on 15,000 lbs and 35 ft., Christine Transport, who is just one of the transporters who quoted me (and came highly recommended I might add), uses a one-ton Silverado.

Based on the same weight and length criteria, Sailboat Transport Trailers (who will be building the trailer if I choose to go this route), builds trailers for people like me all the time......granted, 15,000 lbs. and 36' is about max.
 

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I just did this last month - Moved a Caliber 33 from Tennessee to Maryland. I found a guy who had a truck made for the purpose - He backed it into the water, and the boat floated right onto it. The truck had arm like things that he could lower and then raise to lock the boat in place. The guy was insured (I made sure) and we had a written and signed contract for the haul. My standard boat insurance policy also could be amended to have what they called a "cargo rider" written to insure the boat above whatever the carrier had up to the agreed value of the policy. It is worth asking your insurance agent about this - it was easy and not very expensive. Height is an issue as some have said but also each state has its own rules and certain bridges and tunnels have their own rules. For example, you cant do bigger than standard loads in Virginia two days before or after a major holiday (Thanksgiving was the one that affected me) or at night. The Chesapeake Bay bridge is closed to big loads during rush hour. The truckers should know about these kinds of issues.

Dont think that the only expense is the actual trucking though - You have to decommission the whole boat and be very very very careful packing it up to go. That means getting the mast out and tied down with appropriate support and padding and every single thing on the boat packed so that it couldnt fall or bang around on the road. Dodger and bimini came down as did everything attached to the pulpits. Also, if you are trucking from a warm place to a cold one, dont forget to winterize it before it goes.

A marina would be happy to do all of this for you for an arm and a leg or you can do it yourself for a lot less. But it is a lot of work and dont underestimate it. On the other hand, once you have the mast down there are a lot of things that are easier to do. Time to check the sheaves at the masthead. Time to switch to an LED masthead light. Time for new halyards? A new topping lift? New standing rigging? All these things are easier to take care of if you are taking the mast down anyway.

I found that there were truckers who quoted me a cheaper price than the guy I got to do it - but they didnt have the truck designed to haul keelboats and needed a cradle built to put on the flat bed. They also needed me to hire a crane to get the boat on the truck since the lake it was in didnt have a travel lift. If you are going to need the cradle anyway where you live and will use it in the off season anyway then that isnt necessarily extra money though.

In the end it was important to think through every step of the process and price out every move. I did this even before putting an offer on the boat because really what I was doing was buying a boat with a price tag that was several thousand higher than what I paid the previous owner. But for the right boat it is worth it if the arithmetic looks good. For me, getting a fresh water boat in really good shape was the deciding factor - and the fact that I could get it at a price that was still good even after paying for the transport.

But be sure to build in a contingency factor - My boat had a couple of minor dings in it that werent worth pursuing the insurance for but which took some time and a bit of materials to deal with - Going across the continent might cause a bit more wear and tear than that.

Hope this helps! I have to say it was a HUGE relief to see my boat come down the highway to the marina in one piece!
 

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Dont think that the only expense is the actual trucking though - You have to decommission the whole boat and be very very very careful packing it up to go. That means getting the mast out and tied down with appropriate support and padding and every single thing on the boat packed so that it couldnt fall or bang around on the road. Dodger and bimini came down as did everything attached to the pulpits. Also, if you are trucking from a warm place to a cold one, dont forget to winterize it before it goes.

A marina would be happy to do all of this for you for an arm and a leg or you can do it yourself for a lot less. But it is a lot of work and dont underestimate it. On the other hand, once you have the mast down there are a lot of things that are easier to do. Time to check the sheaves at the masthead. Time to switch to an LED masthead light. Time for new halyards? A new topping lift? New standing rigging? All these things are easier to take care of if you are taking the mast down anyway.

I found that there were truckers who quoted me a cheaper price than the guy I got to do it - but they didnt have the truck designed to haul keelboats and needed a cradle built to put on the flat bed. They also needed me to hire a crane to get the boat on the truck since the lake it was in didnt have a travel lift. If you are going to need the cradle anyway where you live and will use it in the off season anyway then that isnt necessarily extra money though.

In the end it was important to think through every step of the process and price out every move. I did this even before putting an offer on the boat because really what I was doing was buying a boat with a price tag that was several thousand higher than what I paid the previous owner. But for the right boat it is worth it if the arithmetic looks good. For me, getting a fresh water boat in really good shape was the deciding factor - and the fact that I could get it at a price that was still good even after paying for the transport.

But be sure to build in a contingency factor - My boat had a couple of minor dings in it that werent worth pursuing the insurance for but which took some time and a bit of materials to deal with - Going across the continent might cause a bit more wear and tear than that.

Hope this helps! I have to say it was a HUGE relief to see my boat come down the highway to the marina in one piece!
Very good information and advice.
 

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I moved a 42' boat in May from Florida to Michigan.

Took 3 days to prep everything.

Make sure you wrap everything VERY VERY well. The truck will be doing at least 60 mph and if there is a head wind your boat will be seeing 90 mph winds!!! And what about rain? 90 mph wind driven rain!!! And a LOT of vibration that will rub adjoining stuff if not well padded. You can buy bubble wrap by the roll and that is OK for some things but carpet is better for friction points. And tape WILL come unravelled in the wind and rain.

Make sure you are there for the load on and make sure everything is VERY well padded, especially the mast & boom.

Take pictures of everything.

When you take the rig down, label everything. label the running rigging, every piece of standing rigging, every wire in the mast.

My big headache was soot. Diesel soot. The truck wasn't running properly and sprayed soot all over the boat. I wish I had shrinkwrapped the boat altho I'm told many truckers refuse to accept shrinkwrapped boats. Wax the hull well before the trip so it will clean easier.

I had to remove the bow pulpit to clear bridges. Communicate early with the trucker as to what the height needs to be.

Good luck, it's a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lots of great advice, it has all been instructive and helpful, so thank you! :)

Sck5, it wouldn't let me give you any more rep, but I did try. :D

Truth is your responses are kind of convincing me to use overland shipping as a total last resort, but it is comforting to know that it is actually possible. If they can ship that Hunter, they can certainly ship anything I need to ship! :D
 

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Rocket, Seems like by the time you get done with fuel and insurance, it'd be cheaper to have someone truck the boat, and then just go take a vacation.
Not quite.

Fuel costs in a round trip from Seattle to say Mackinaw City, MI., will run me about $900. The 'transport writer' added to the (already in place) boat insurance will run me about $200. But lets not forget hotel and food; $500.

Total $1600

Now, add some of those 'hidden' costs (specifically at the pick-up end) that both sck5 and xort eluded to in their posts, costs that could be minimized if you did them yourself, the $1600 travel expenses noted above, start to become a wash.

But in my case, this is all really peanuts. The most important thing is that I will be THERE, at departure, making sure everything is 'travel ready', and you can't put a price tag on that.
 

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A word in support of professional haulers: I observed a trucker deliver a large yacht to a marina in Annapolis - with it's very narrow streets. A couple of parked cars and a trailer blocked the street - no way to get down the street. The car owners were quickly found, and moved their cars. Trailer owner could not be located. Truck driver borrowed two garage jacks, put them under the trailer cross wise, jacked it up slightly, and with lots of volunteer help, rolled the trailer off the road. Took maybe ten minutes. The trucker had obviously been there done that before. Sometimes it is nice to have the benefit of the experienced professional.
 

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I used associated boat transfer from Napa Ca to BC Canada. Their driver was the ultimate professional. I hired a 80 ton crane on this end to lift off and the driver made sure everything was set up perfect. He went way over what could have ever been expected of him. I truly believe this is not an area to try to save any $. We got far more than we paid for, and they kept us informed all the way where the boat was and that everything was ok. I also had considered purchasing and hauling, or hiring a truck to haul my own trailer, but I found it to cost prohibitive. Of course my boat is 35000 lbs. so that figured heavily into trailer availability. Insurance will seem like alot, but find out if after your trip, you can cancel the policy. Width and weight probably will not be an issue for you, but height may be. I got away with 12' 6" I still had to remove my pedestal to meet this height.
 

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...I truly believe this is not an area to try to save any $...
I don't think anybody is advocating the saving of money here, including myself. My boat size just happens to allow for the option, and my cost benefit analysis is out of piece of mind and long-term convenience, rather than a monetary savings.

Hauling a 36 ft. 15,000 lb. boat across the country is not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart.
 

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If you decide to do this yourself, don't forget the cost of permits(for each state) and possibly pilot cars depending on the width of the load(12' is a significant line to cross). I used to own a 10.5' beam powerboat that I hauled around myself without permits or oversize load signs and never got bothered by the cops, but the bigger you go, the higher the odds that someone with the authority to make things very hard on you will notice.
 

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We spent two weeks at Jabins in Annapolis and saw 6 boats hauled and loaded onto trucks. Having a yard that is familiar with the process is invaluable.
 
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