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Old 12-14-2019, 04:03 PM   #1
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Boat transportation from Gulf to Michigan

I think my wife and I have found our dream boat and we are getting close to the end of our year long search. Like most dreams this one is a little more than we planned for but we think itís the right boat for our family. I am looking for advice on how to get a 37 footer tug back from the west side of FL to southwest Michigan. I have two options pull the fly bridge and send it via a truck, or make part of the trip myself and pay a captain to take it up through Alabama and out the Chicago River. We want to do this in early April. Is going against the current an acceptable thing to do that time of year? Would we have to worry about high water in the spring really delaying a trip like that or making it impossible to pass in typical years? How big of a job is it to pull the flybridge from a boat? Does anyone have any experience doing that with their boat? I think Shipping it is going to be our best option but I donít really know how to go about getting some shipping quotes any suggestions would be great. It would either be from Ft Myers Fl to Grand Haven Mi or Mobile Al to Grand Haven Mi. All advice would be appreciated! I would love to bring it home ourselves but unfortunately we donít have the vacation time yet, at some point we will be making the trip going the correct direction.
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:40 PM   #2
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First a big welcome aboard TF.
I had my MS transported but no bridge to contend with. Bestxadvice is talk to local yards to see who they recommend. I wanted a local firm in case I needed to settle any issues they would be local and I could sit on their door step.
Others that had to remove bridge recommend having the receiving yard send a tech to take it apart. Others have said the extra cost worth it in the long run.
I have heard a few horror stories where the un supervised origination yard just cut all wires to remove the bridge with no tagging, diagrams, photos etc.
Be onsite yourself or have a reliable rep present to supervise is suggested.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:09 PM   #3
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Hi Scott,



I went through a similar quoting exercise recently. Suggest you start at "UShip" (website). Will give you some idea of the kinds of questions you'll need to answer to get a proposal.

Once you get a few proposals you can start checking out respondents with customers and the yards you intend to use for loading and unloading.

Heard some horror stories regarding bridge removal. Best advice I heard was to have the guy who will put it back together - take it a part! Worth every penny if its a complex bridge set up. Congrats on finding your boat! Good luck with your move.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:15 PM   #4
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M&B Yacht Transport out of Menominee are a family owned operation and are very capable, honest people. They've been around a long time and know their stuff. Give them a call and they'll give you their take on the best departure location, routing, height issues, cost projection, etc. Ask them what they think about an escort pole truck versus removing the flybridge. We moved our 44 from Lake Travis near Austin Texas to Green Bay using an escort pole truck, although that was 15 years ago.

https://www.quicktransportsolutions....dot-291468.php
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Old 12-14-2019, 09:26 PM   #5
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A friend of mine had his Californian trucked from California to Texas with the bridge removed. He said it took several years running down the problems induced by removing the bridge. I agree that it would be best to have the person who is going to reinstall the bridge remove it so he will know how it came apart. If you are going to run it, what does it have for power since you will be running against the current?
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:07 PM   #6
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The boat has 330 hp and can cruise at 15 knots so it has enough power, any idea how much extra fuel going against the flow would require? 25% 50% I don't have any idea how much current flows through the Chicago/Illinois and Tombigbee. I did not realize that once you got to Tennessee river the current direction changed and it was down hill until the Mississippi. Would making this trip in the spring be a bad idea even with a professional?

Thanks for everyone's help.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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May I suggest you and mate and captain take it up on its bottom. Think of the knowledge and experience you will gain.
Yup, high water and swift currents. Just take it real slow. Take some heavy sweaters and rain coats.

The only problem might be with fixed bridges and high water.
You can always take a cut to the ocean for a few days.
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Old 12-15-2019, 03:35 PM   #8
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May I suggest you and mate and captain take it up on its bottom. Think of the knowledge and experience you will gain.
Yup, high water and swift currents. Just take it real slow. Take some heavy sweaters and rain coats.

The only problem might be with fixed bridges and high water.
You can always take a cut to the ocean for a few days.
I'm cruising my new (to me) boat home and having a blast.
Highly recommend.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:02 PM   #9
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Maybe another option:
I'm wondering if you can bring it to Mobile Alabama and have it set in a cradle on a flat deck barge for the trip to Chicago. Maybe you would have to go to New Orleans, but a fair amount of freight goes up the river to Chicago. Haven't a clue who you should contact, but it would seem the least intrusive and cost wise cheaper than paying a captain for more than a month plus all expenses.

Ted

Edit:
Air draft may be an issue getting all the way to Chicago. Do you know what you're bridge clearance is with everything easily lowered?
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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I'm not going to suggest a method.
However IF you decide to have it trucked, do lots of shopping.
A friend of mine saved $1000 when he had a 30 foot boat shipped from RI to FL 2 years ago. He found a guy who had to drive empty to FL to pick up a boat and the timing was right for the trucker and him.
It had 2 advantages:
He saved about 30% on the shipping.
He got his boat delivered on time cause the trucker had to pick up the next boat on a deadline.

Good luck!!
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olebird View Post

....Best advice I heard was to have the guy who will put it back together - take it a part! Worth every penny if its a complex bridge set up. Congrats on finding your boat! Good luck with your move.


Concur with that. Eliminates a lot of finger pointing down the road about who did what, or didn't. Best is not to remove it at all, if possible.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
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Saw a boat hauling truck on the shoulder of I-95 in Delaware once taking off the FB on the road. One guy had a Saws—All in hand. Beware!!!
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:02 PM   #13
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I agree with those who recommend making the trip on the boat. The problem will be your timing for next spring.

I believe there would be a pretty good chance of being delayed both on the Ten-Tom and Upper Mississippi in the early spring due to rain events. This year the Ten-Tom was pretty high until mid May with several closures due to flooding. The Mississippi was running pretty strong most of the summer this year also. Another issue you will face is the Illinois River will basically be closed from July 1-November 1 (barring delays) for lock repairs and I'd hate to plan a Lake Michigan trip in November!

I might suggest making the trip in 2 stages. Move the boat up to the Tennessee River or Land Between The Lakes area in the early summer when the rivers have a better chance of being at normal pool. Then you can winter the boat in that area and finish the trip in 2021, again a bit later in the season to have more favorable conditions.

We're planning on going up the Upper Miss. in either 21 or 22 and will most likely wait till late June to start however there are never any guarantees from Mother Nature!

Good Luck...
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:33 PM   #14
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The locks on the Illinois river are scheduled to be closed for maintenance next year. July through September if I remember correctly. I also would avoid removing the fb and move it on its own bottom. I boat on the upper Mississippi and have been from St. Louis to Red Wing, MN. and to Detroit. The high water isnít a problem and long as you pay attention. Even during serious flooding like we had this year people were still boating on the river no sandbars to hang out on but still out on the water. I made a cruise 60+ miles to Grafton and back without any problems. If I was you I wouldnít miss the chance to go by water. If you have any questions on boating on the river send a pm and Iíll do my best to provide legitimate advice.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:10 PM   #15
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First: I would not recommend going against the current of the Mississippi in the spring unless you have an unlimited fuel allowance.

I was thinking of taking the cross FL canal east and then the ICW north.

I remember hearing a story about a trawler headed south on the Mississippi during a flood. They saw a roof top and realized they were out of the river channel.
Of course, it could be just a story too.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:45 PM   #16
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I decided to leave my boat on the Gulf coast until late spring. Several considerations: Winter weather is nicer in Florida, slip rent is about the same, repair and maintenance services generally more available, now that the winter rainy season has started, trash in the rivers and flooding will be unpredictable.


From Ft Myers, it would not take too many enjoyable 3 - 4 day weekends to make Hilton Head (or Jax) (good Airline services to Chi all along east cost of Fl). If you plan it right, you get to use the boat now, reduce the "non productive" cost of delivery, and arrive in Mi after the thaw!!


Just say'n!
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:14 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. R. Welcome aboard, if I've missed you. I fully agree with Mr. O. (post #16). It WILL take a number of to and fro flights BUT it would be a GREAT trip. Up the Hudson to Lake Ontario then home. Heck, you might find a really nice place along the way and leave her there for a season.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:28 PM   #18
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This is not a super hard trip. If the west side of Florida is is the Tampa, St. Pete area the biggest issue is the crossing to the panhandle area. Once in the panhandle area then the trip is all ICW and then the river system. Springtime in the river has its issues but nothing that cannot be overcome by an experienced boater even if you have never cruised long distances. Buy a Skipper Bobs and read it carefully. IMHO it’s the best reference for the Tenn-Tom up to the Mississippi River. There will be plenty of advice here for you along the way.

It’s a trip we have made several times and springtime is an awesome time on the rivers!
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:32 PM   #19
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I trucked a 34' Mainship to the PNW from Connecticut in the 80's.

Bought the boat unseen, flew there, secured everything below, winterized engine for trip over Rockies, took flybridge off, built a cradle for the bridge, marked all wiring and supervised the loading on to the trailer.

Even after all that prep work, there were scuff mark's on the gel coat under the securing straps from the road dirt working it's way under the straps. The sliding door track developed a hollow from the doors roller rubbing constantly during the cross country haul.

Reassembly was easy since I decommissioned the boat.

For the distance you are looking at, I would follow other members advice and drive it up on it's bottom. Depending on your work situation, the income you lose from taking extra days off work will be offset by the lack of trucking and preparation costs.

And it would be a heck of an experience.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:20 PM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. R. Welcome aboard, if I've missed you. I fully agree with Mr. O. (post #16). It WILL take a number of to and fro flights BUT it would be a GREAT trip. Up the Hudson to Lake Ontario then home. Heck, you might find a really nice place along the way and leave her there for a season.
Seconded. It's just a boat ride from home. Going up the Mississippi sounds too much like work. Eastern route sounds like more fun.
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