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How to Prepare Your Boat for Overseas Shipping in 5 Steps

International Boat Shipping Preparation Tips and Guidelines

The logistics involved in shipping your boat internationally from the USA to any destination around the globe can take a lot of preparation and planning. It is important to discuss this with a professional international boat shipping company and work out a plan that will make the transport of your boat overseas as easy as possible.

Here are a few suggested steps for shipping your boat effectively…

  1. Measure your boat carefully. This is crucial as it determines the cost of shipping. You will need the exact length, width and height of your boat. You will also need to include the bow platforms, swim platforms, motors or any protruding parts that may extend the exterior dimensions. For height, consider the highest part of the boat that cannot be disassembled. For the width, measure the widest part of the boat and/or cradle. You need the boat measurements because you may need special permits from the Department of Transportation (DOT), and because the shipper needs to know what type of handling to use. The legal height for transporting boats on the road is 13ft 6”- that means that the boat has to be at most about 12ft high. For larger boats, there is more clearance required. Boats that are over 8”6’ wide are considered oversize load and require special road transportation permits.  DOT rules vary from state to state.
  2. Winterize your boat. Remove all propellers, lights, antennas, electronics, anchor and valuable items and store safely below. Secure all cabinets, covers. Remove all fuel. Disconnect batteries. Latch and tape cabin windows. Remove any cargo out of your boat. Empty all the water out of the boat, including the drain plugs and air conditioner. Clean the exterior of your boat.
    Wrap your boat in plastic wrap or canvas to protect it from bumps.
    If you have a boat made of wood, you can protect by applying a coat of linseed oil to prevent it from drying. You may consider having it transported on its own custom cradle.

    Preparation Guide for Boat Shipping
    Schumacher Cargo overseas boat shipping
  3. Speak to your boat shipping agent. Find out the boat transport rates and all the shipping details of your boat,such as:
    1. Type of transportation (roll-on/ roll-off or RO-RO, lift on/lift off/semi-submersible). Boats can be shipped on trailers, cradles, containers or by submersion, depending on their size.
    2. Boat pick-up
    3. Trailer transportation
  4. Prepare your boat’s loading and unloading in advance, find out all the customs clearance, port fees and taxes that may be due in the country the boat is being shipped to.
  5. Prepare your international boat transport documents in advance. Contact the embassy of the country where the boat is being shipped, find out all the custom regulations and documentation you need.  The usual documents required are a bill of lading, shipping documents from your shipping company, a copy of the boat title and a bill of sale. Some countries may require import permits for the boat or the trailer or both.

Quotes to ship a boat internationally usually includes services such as pick-up, delivery to port and ocean freight to final destination, marine shipping insurance, shrink-wrapping, cradle information, loading and unloading, customs clearance, export declaration, bill of lading.

Your boat transport specialist will help you with all the paperwork and provide guidance to make sure your documentation and boat are prepared, and help you with each step of the boat transportation process.

A good international boat transport company is fully insured and licensed, registered with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) as a freight forwarder or non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC). Before departure, your boat may need to be per-inspected and appraised for international shipping. Your boat shipper will help with all of the details, from starting point to final destination.

Your international boat shipping company has a number of choices when it comes to protecting your boat- such as securing it on a flat rack, securing it on deck or using a container.

If you follow these 5 steps and prepare well in advance, shipping your boat overseas will be an easy process.  For more details and an international boat shipping quote, please contact one of our boat shipping experts.

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Schumacher Cargo Logistics utilizes insured, secured and bonded facilities. We provide warehousing, packing, crating, trucking and loading services out of our own warehouses here in the USA - Los Angeles, Houston, Savannah, Miami, New York, and New Jersey. All other worldwide destinations are covered by our affiliated organization member companies.