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Old 06-08-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Problems with transporting a boat?

In our ongoing search for a trawler, we have seen some on the west coast that look appealing.* The only problem is that we would need to transport the boat more than *halfway across the country.* Though I've read that alot of people have done this, intuitively I feel the transport must put alot of stress on the boat.* We are looking at older boats that are between 42-45' and 25-30 years old.* I will be making some calls in the next few days to get some quotes, but any guess as to what I'm looking at for transport from Seattle to Duluth?* For anyone who has transported a large boat, any recommendations on transport companies ?

Besides the cost that may turn out prohibitive, the preparation of the boat for transport also seems daunting and additional $$.* If flybridges and other parts need to be disassembled, can I expect potential problems fitting them back?* Also, it would seem to me that I would need to have the boat inspected once it reaches its destination for any damage/stress that occurred during transport.* More $$$$.* Have I missed any other potential problems/costs?

As I write this, I'm quickly convincing myself out of this "adventure".* For those of you who have done a large transport over long distances, please share your opinions, pros/cons and ultimately if it was worth all the hastle.

Thanks for sharing,


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Old 06-08-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

On a 42' to 45' boat the flybridge will have to be removed and on a 20 to 25 year old boat there may be considerable damage getting the flybridge off. Some American made boats of that size were shipped with the flybridge off when new, the boats from Taiwan almost always have the flybridge attached when shipped to the US which will make it harder to remove.
I removed a flybridge myself from a new 36' Trojan many years ago to go to a boat show when I sold them new, it was difficult getting the wiring back the way it was supposed to be. I had one client who trucked a boat have his own mechanic fly to Florida to remove the flybridge so it was marked properly, and then the same mechanic re-installed it. Cost a lot that way but he felt it was worth it.
In the price range that you are looking at the cost to ship is going to be a very high percentage of your total cost and may not make sense. Next week I am shipping a 50' Sea Ray to Michigan, the buyer found quotes from $11,000 to $16,000 but it is an express with no flybridge. The truck will have to have wide load permits and an escort which brings the price up.

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Old 06-08-2011, 06:10 PM   #3
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

Please PM me too. I am interested in who to use and who not to.

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Old 06-08-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

I had a few quotes on moving a 34 Californian from Huntington Beach, California to Vancouver BC Canada of 7-8000.00. This could have been moved with the flybridge in place, but venturi and anything proud of the flybridge superstructure removed. In terms of movement, this would have been a fairly straight forward haul, almost straight up I-5. Pilot vehicles would be required through Oregon and Washington state. Distance was approximately 1200 miles.

The closer you can get your vessel to 13' 6" overall height on the trailer, the less expensive the journey. Often this means pulling props and rudders as well.

I posted on U-ship.com and got a few different offers. Do your homework and check references that's for sure
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

It really depends on the boat as to whether damage will be incurred when taking off the flybridge, assuming you have a flybridge. I have shipped several aft cabin boats in the 42' range from Atlanta to Canada and a few flybridge sedans from TN to Canada and another going to Australia this week (or so they say- already closed, was supposed to ship out 3 weeks ago!). Most boats are designed to remove the bridge. Careful labelling of electrical and hydraulic connections will make resplashing her easier. After that, next issue is making sure she is put back together correctly to assure her waterproof integrity- we've had some not put back right and resulting in initial leaks that needed to be dealt with. But bottom line, boats like to stay in one piece, even if designed to be taken apart. The cost of hauling and putting Humpty Dumpty back together again needs to be factored into the deal, along with the potential risk and headache on your end. If, upon factoring those items into the deal it is still a good financial proposition and better than you can get locally, go for it. If you are talking Duluth, MN though from Seattle, you are talking about bringing a 25 year old salt water boat to a freshwater environment. There are some great deals on the great lakes right now- it may make more sense to buy a freshwater local boat, even if you pay slightly more as a freshwater boat will typically be WAY ahead of the maintenance curve than a similar vintage salt water boat though it depends on each individual boat's care and ownership history.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:36 PM   #6
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

I moved my boat from the Great Lakes to the PNW. A 42 Ocean Alexander 423 classico, which measures out like a lot of 45+ footers. Overheight and overwidth, I did not remove the flybridge, and would not recommend it if you can avoid it, for all the reasons already mentioned. In my case, a marina was being closed to make condos (what a waste), so I did all the prep work for the haul myself - a lot of work, but then I knew how to put it back together at the other end. Even though the bridge did not come off there is still plenty of work to strip everything off the boat for 60 mph winds, and overhead clearance. We also pulled the props to get it as low on the trailer as possible. Keep in mind that several states are very restrictive - in one case, the pilot car was required to drive the route first and then come back and bring the boat which added to the cost. In today's market, figure on about $10+ per mile, so more like $20,000 plus for your haul.

In my case, I wanted the boat for a summer cruising season; if I had it to do over again I would take a hard look at the transport ships, although it takes a delivery cruise to whever they can pick up a boat.

So, factor this in to your purchase price, which I did when we bought.

Woodsong mentioned the difference between a freshwater and salt water boat, and that was true for us. I bought a previous boat which had been in salt water (Cabo), and there were lots of insidious things; for example windsheild wiper shafts which were badly corroded - impossible to survey. Also an engine always has some valves open to the environment. I think there is some premium to a freshwater boat.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #7
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RE: Problems with transporting a boat?

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with transporting.* I'm starting to make some calls, but it's always good to have some first hand knowledge from others.* At first I was discouraged about transporting, in terms of how an older boat would "handle" the transport.* But I'm more at ease after reading the posts.* Sounds like given a reputable transporter, the trucks are able to absorb most of the road stress instead of the boat.

The boat I'm considering is 45' pilot house with small fly bridge that doesn't appear to be removable.* Perhaps it can be, I'll have to check that out.


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