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Old 08-25-2019, 07:18 AM   #1
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Moving a big boat by truck

Anybody have direct personal experience with moving a large powerboat overland by truck? Iím shopping for a boat, and it seems like all the boats weíre interested in are in Tennessee or Michigan (Iím in Norfolk, VA. Yeah, it seems like there ought to be lots of boats on the Bay, but so far no luck). So Iím pondering the prospect of buying a boat far off somewhere and trucking it home. Iíve read a good deal about it - a complex and expensive proposition. While there are lots of concerns, the one big issue/concern I have is the height restriction. Iíve read that for bigger boats (Iím talking 45-50í Range) sometimes they have to remove the fly bridge to get the height low enough to clear bridges. That really bothers me. Seems to me the odds of removing a fly bridge, moving it a thousand miles, reinstalling it, and having everything work and look right would be pretty slim.
Has anybody done this? Any recommendations for a boat-moving company I could call to get more info?
Thanks
David
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:44 AM   #2
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Lots of boats moved with removed flybridges.


You are correct that many reassembles are a nightmare. But many are done well with no issues.


Looks depend on how the bridge is attached. Any boat can be made to look nice again...just takes time and work or money.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:00 AM   #3
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Yes, we trucked our boat from New York to South Dakota. Had to remove the flybridge, the seats, the canvas, the aft deck roof and struts, and the top half of the helm (all controls, electronics, and steering). Wasn't cheap - in my opinion it only makes sense if the purchase price is rock-bottom low enough to justify the cost (ours was). I think the key to having it go well is a good marina or boat yard on both ends and a good trucker. We got lucky and everything went well, but it's not an easy project. Took lots of logistics, lots of phone calls, planning, and lots of money.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:00 AM   #4
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Some years back we moved our 44 Ocean Alexander from (inland) Lake Travis near Austin, Texas to Lake Michigan. Avoided removal of flybridge by using an escort pole truck and taking a circuitous route. Still had to remove the sunroof and the arch. Expensive....about the same as removing the flybridge.

I was interested in purchasing a 54 in Maryland recently, and spoke with these folks...nice people..family operation.. https://www.facebook.com/39228334097...type=3&theater

They advised that getting boats through the eastern seaboard States was complicated, especially if over the standard height number. I had concluded that bringing it into the Great Lakes via the great loop circuit would have been feasible (one engine was inop). No reason you couldn't do the reverse loop with a boat purchased on the rivers or on the Great Lakes. In fact I'd do the loop in reverse with our current Great Lakes boat if I did it at all. Would be an adventure for you, and wouldn't have to be done all in one year. I might ferry a boat as far as the locks for someone.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:01 AM   #5
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We are getting ready to ship a 34' Catamaran from Corpus Christi, Texas to San Diego, Calls and prep work is underway 3 weeks in advance. I can see this is a major undertaking, and every little detail is checked and re-checked. I'll update as this process goes forward. Winston Trucking is doing the haul

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Old 08-25-2019, 10:15 AM   #6
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I wanted to truck my NP 45 from Seattle to SFO, and couldn’t because height was 17’ and limits were around 13/14.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:42 AM   #7
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Depending on the boat, motoring from the Tennessee river, down the Tombigbee, around the gulf to Fort Myers, across to Stuart, and up the coast or AICW to Norfolk would probably be significantly cheaper. From my log of the Great Loop and AICW trips the nautical miles from Joe Wheeler state park on the Tennessee river to Top Rack in Norfolk would be about 2,050. While I've done the 2 parts in total in 30 days at 7 knots, 40 days is a more realistic number. If you find one on the Tennessee river, bring it to Fort Myers for the winter (1,000 miles), and take it to Norfolk in the Spring.

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Old 08-25-2019, 11:01 AM   #8
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Some years back we moved our 44 Ocean Alexander from (inland) Lake Travis near Austin, Texas to Lake Michigan. Avoided removal of flybridge by using an escort pole truck and taking a circuitous route. Still had to remove the sunroof and the arch. Expensive....about the same as removing the flybridge.

I was interested in purchasing a 54 in Maryland recently, and spoke with these folks...nice people..family operation.. https://www.facebook.com/39228334097...type=3&theater

They advised that getting boats through the eastern seaboard States was complicated, especially if over the standard height number. I had concluded that bringing it into the Great Lakes via the great loop circuit would have been feasible (one engine was inop). No reason you couldn't do the reverse loop with a boat purchased on the rivers or on the Great Lakes. In fact I'd do the loop in reverse with our current Great Lakes boat if I did it at all. Would be an adventure for you, and wouldn't have to be done all in one year. I might ferry a boat as far as the locks for someone.

I would add that M&B is great too work with and know their stuff. They could truck the vessel to the Great Lakes then as Rufus said, run the Loop. It would be worth looking into.

Cheers

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Old 08-25-2019, 11:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Depending on the boat, motoring from the Tennessee river, down the Tombigbee, around the gulf to Fort Myers, across to Stuart, and up the coast or AICW to Norfolk would probably be significantly cheaper. From my log of the Great Loop and AICW trips the nautical miles from Joe Wheeler state park on the Tennessee river to Top Rack in Norfolk would be about 2,050. While I've done the 2 parts in total in 30 days at 7 knots, 40 days is a more realistic number. If you find one on the Tennessee river, bring it to Fort Myers for the winter (1,000 miles), and take it to Norfolk in the Spring.

Ted

This seems like a better plan than trucking the boat. Plus you will get to know your boat really well, and get to have an adventure!

I had my boat trucked from Rockport Tx to the Stuart Fl area once, and it was a hassle and stressful. Iíve also done the same trip on the boat before and it was much more fun (but much longer obviously).
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:20 PM   #10
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4 years ago we bought our boat in VA and ran it home the next spring. It was 1400 miles to Saginaw Bay from the Potomac River. It took us 45 days but we were in no hurry. We could have easily done in in half the time or less if we had been pushing it. I would go the northern route because of the TSW, it is awesome.

A friend had his 40í trucked and flybridge removed. He said the electrical was messed up for a couple of years while he chased down bad connections. Also he said he had leaks in several places. His experience was pretty bad but not all turn out that way. His conclusion was that one company removed the bridge and another reinstalled it. Neither knew what the other did. Maybe if you closely supervise it on both ends it would be better.

I really would seriously consider running the boat home instead of trucking it. I think it will be cheaper and it will be way more fun.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:25 PM   #11
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If you decide to do this, have the person who will reassemble the flybridge, fly to starting location and do the disconnecting of wiring, hydraulics and supervise the removal of FB itself....
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:46 PM   #12
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If you decide to do this, have the person who will reassemble the flybridge, fly to starting location and do the disconnecting of wiring, hydraulics and supervise the removal of FB itself....
Amen to that. When we bought our boat in the Detroit area and were having it trucked to Portland, OR, I had the tech who would be doing the reassembly on the fly bridge fly to Detroit to do the tear down. He marked every wire on both sides of his cut before he cut it, knowing that he was the one who had to put them back together.

It cost me his airfare, hotel, means (per diem) and a rental car, but it was worth every penny. Nine years later we have had zero electrical issues.

Here's my "topless" boat getting ready for its cross country trip.


Here's the cradle they built to ship the fly bridge. They built it too narrow and too short so they had to modify it before they set the fly bridge down on it. It had to be pulled by its own truck.
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
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When I had our 44 trucked from Texas to the Great Lakes I did the disassembly and labeled/bagged every nut, bolt and wire that was cut or disconnected. At the same time I drew diagrams and took a pile of photos. Everything was assembled into an electronic step by step reverse narrative. I was not at the yard who did the reassembly, but they said it was a snap using my instructions. I've never had a problem with anything in 15 years. That said, the only electrical items disconnected or cut were the VHF/GPS antennae, the radar, and the lights on the arch. But there were many items removed from the flybridge to get the height as low as possible (without removing it)...engine controls, seats, venturi windscreen, bimini, steering wheel, etc. It was still 15'4" on the truck. They tried to get me to remove the FB when they arrived at the pick up point without an escort pole truck. I refused, stuck with the contract, and am glad I did.

I built a cradle for our sundeck roof, and then we laid the padded arch on top of the sunroof. Very compact....well below the high point on the FB. Packaging obviously depends on the boat configuration.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:05 PM   #14
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I use to do business with a professional boat hauler, now retired. He got around height restrictions by sending out a route planner in advance. In some cases they would exit an interstate and drive around a city on back roads with no overpasses or low overhead wires. It takes an experienced person a week or more to plan a route. They have to know the truck turning circle, bridge weight restrictions and so on. Also a truck not using the direct route could take several additional days to make the trip. The scouting and travel time all adds to the cost.
The railroad also moves boats.
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:22 PM   #15
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I use to do business with a professional boat hauler, now retired. He got around height restrictions by sending out a route planner in advance. In some cases they would exit an interstate and drive around a city on back roads with no overpasses or low overhead wires. It takes an experienced person a week or more to plan a route. They have to know the truck turning circle, bridge weight restrictions and so on. Also a truck not using the direct route could take several additional days to make the trip. The scouting and travel time all adds to the cost.
The railroad also moves boats.

I would be interested about the railroad move....


I suggested it awhile back and was laughed out of the thread with comments like the railroad was too rough for boat transport.
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:32 PM   #16
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I suspect that the costs of getting a boat to a railroad facility that can put it on a car and then getting it back off and to the water on the other end would be high and you still have the cost of the actual railroad transport costs. You may still have to do the flybridge removal and reinstall in order to get it to and from the railroad. I donít know how rough a trip it would be on a railroad car but people travel on railroads every day so I think that wouldnít be the issue.
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:43 PM   #17
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Railroad probably is more restricted in width and height than the highways.
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:02 PM   #18
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I am not sure, they brought an 80í boat out to Arizona from the midwest by rail back in the late 90s. It was double decked so it was pretty tall. But I suspect it cost a small or rather large fortune.
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:44 PM   #19
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I have read someone recommend paying travel $ for the assembly mechanic to do the removal at the origin site. Sounds like $ well spent and much better chance of minimizing problems and associated repair costs.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:09 PM   #20
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Anybody have direct personal experience with moving a large powerboat overland by truck? Iím shopping for a boat, and it seems like all the boats weíre interested in are in Tennessee or Michigan (Iím in Norfolk, VA. Yeah, it seems like there ought to be lots of boats on the Bay, but so far no luck). So Iím pondering the prospect of buying a boat far off somewhere and trucking it home. Iíve read a good deal about it - a complex and expensive proposition. While there are lots of concerns, the one big issue/concern I have is the height restriction. Iíve read that for bigger boats (Iím talking 45-50í Range) sometimes they have to remove the fly bridge to get the height low enough to clear bridges. That really bothers me. Seems to me the odds of removing a fly bridge, moving it a thousand miles, reinstalling it, and having everything work and look right would be pretty slim.

Has anybody done this? Any recommendations for a boat-moving company I could call to get more info?

Thanks

David


Just bring her home on the water. The Grand Banks we bought was in Holland, MI and we brought her 2,300 miles home to the Georgia coast. Yes, we used lots of diesel, but it was an absolute blast. Most fun I have had in many years. We did half the Great Loop in less than three weeks. And yes, I know thatís not how you are supposed to do it, but we werenít sightseeing, just getting the boat home.

Iíll tell you one thing; I knew that boat inside out by the time we got home. It would have taken me a year or two of cruising to gain the same depth of knowledge.

If you canít take the time off, hire a good delivery captain. It will still cost way less than shipping and you donít have to remove any parts.
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