Pathung

Cross-U.S. Boat Shipper Recommendation

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I'm thinking of buying a 30' boat on the East coast, and bringing it back to the San Francisco Bay Area. I've never had a boat shipped before; can folks offer some shipping company recommendations? What to look for in a service provider, and what kind of costs to expect?

Thanks in advance.

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I know of a 10,000 pound 35 foot boat that was just shipped from the Great Lakes to the west coast for about $7500. That was a very low budget effort, but it worked.

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The boat I'm looking at (it's actually 28 ft., not 30 ft.) weighs about half of that. Is weight the primary cost-driver here?

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Weight won't make much difference - maybe a bit if it's going behind a pickup vs a semi, but 5000lbs vs 10000lbs will make zero difference.

What matters is the width and height on the trailer. Height is the biggest concern but unless it's got a really deep keel, a 28ft boat should be fine height wise (needs to be under 14' on the trailer, and the keel rest on the trailer is probably 12-18" off the ground). Wide load permits aren't as big a deal until you get really wide - 9.5' is very easy, my boat at 11' wide had some time of day restrictions (no Seattle rush hour), but still not a big deal.

As a start, try posting a listing on uship.com. Will give you a starting point. I would expect prices around $10k.

Make sure the provider is properly insured (ask to see the document), and always good to get some reports from other customers. A driver who cares does make a difference and can prevent small problems from turning into big ones. When shipping my boat, one of the lifeline turnbuckles vibrated loose, and the driver noticed, stopped, and secured it. Otherwise it could have gone banging against the topsides for hundreds of miles.

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Thanks for both of your replies - they're much appreciated.

One detail that I failed to mention is that the boat comes with a trailer - would the entire boat/trailer go ON a shipper's trailer, or would shipper simply tow the boat-trailer to destination? I'm guessing that it depends on boat/trailer height, and the boat trailer's mechanical condition.

Is transport by rail a possibility (boat and trailer loaded on together)? It'd probably take longer, but I'm assuming much cheaper/safer.

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7 hours ago, Pathung said:

Thanks for both of your replies - they're much appreciated.

One detail that I failed to mention is that the boat comes with a trailer - would the entire boat/trailer go ON a shipper's trailer, or would shipper simply tow the boat-trailer to destination? I'm guessing that it depends on boat/trailer height, and the boat trailer's mechanical condition.

Is transport by rail a possibility (boat and trailer loaded on together)? It'd probably take longer, but I'm assuming much cheaper/safer.

Has anyone heard of a sailboat being transported by rail in the US?    

 

FYI - I have a little over half a million miles of driving a Semi ( Not really a whole lot) and managed a small fleet of trucks.(200+ or-).   Most of my experience is off the truck.  The likely best bet is some form of shipping using a F250/350 pickup type truck towing the boat on it's own trailer.  Looking at my screen I see a load of potatoes from Idaho (near the coast) to Orlando FL for $4200.   This would be a refrigerated trailer and Class 8 truck (Sleeper) One Driver.   I have never used the Uship site.  However I hear good things about it.  .  A quote for last month for a cross country low boy flatbed was $7500.   What you are asking for is called a low boy.   I do not deal with specialty loads.  Further I have only been on a truck as a helper when using a low boy.   However when I was with NA Volvo I did deal with accidents involving boats.  Make sure you are insured not only for the cost of your boat but the trailer being towed by a contractor. Ask your insurance company if you are protected if your boat goes airborne and hits a Greyhound bus.   

Send pictures to the contractor of the boat and trailer.   I am skeptical of a lowboy with a 28 sailboat and the boats trailer.   I am picturing a Sailboat with a FIXED keel siting on a trailer that likely does not fit.  The lowboy normally would have the cradle in the low part.  That setup just reeks with disaster. The last time I saw a quote for a Marine shipper from the west coast of Florida to San Francisco was 8 years ago at $12000.    45 foot sailboat.  

Details matter.  EXACT measurements are needed.  Height, width, weight.  Your generic post worries me.  All too often people who are outstanding professional Engineers, Doctors, Stockbrokers etc forget they do not know jack about logistics.   The end results are VERY EXPENSIVE.   

If it was me I would get the Trailer inspected and fix anything wrong.  New tires are mandatory. The tread is not the issue but decay.   Once you get into using a Semi truck the costs soar.  Tell the trailer shop exactly what the trailer carries and if it needs new brakes you will pay!!!!!

Do you really need this boat prior to January 15th?   Rates will fall beginning January 3rd.   Right now RV's and powerboats are selling like crazy.  You will PAY big regardless of how you ship it.   I listened to the CEO of Brunswick on CNBC this week and at the rate he needs boats moved it may not matter.   We are in the biggest boom for powerboats and RVs seen ever!!!

Good Luck.    

You are killing me with the ship it by rail. But if it is possible at a reasonable rate please share.   Getting it on and off would be worth going to the Intermodel yard to see.   The Boeing train with the 737 bodies is the best.  However yours would be a close second. 

My fixed keel sailboat rule for do it your selfers - Anybody can tow a J24 or smaller.  Practice with an empty trailer.  Backing might have to be done by someone else once you get to the destination.  Full fuel tank when you depart.    Anything bigger than a J24 you should have some experience and you need to get the right tow vehicle.   A J28 VS a J24 is a completely different ball game.   If you are going to tow a sailboat fixed keels are the devils work.  Centerboards and lift keels make a much safer load especially for larger than a J24. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Al Paca said:

Maybe Rocky has his license and insurance issues straightened out by now. 

OMG. that was just a painful thread.   The owner went through a good marine shipper. The Driver Rocky was by all accounts a great Marine shipper prior to his health problems.  The owner following the boat cross country.  Even the Designer of the boat our Bob Perry scratched his head on that one.    Completely turned me off of shipping big sailboats by truck and  I am fully licensed to do this.....  I think...   

My other favorite was the Bene 36.7 that showed up at RCR yachts missing the deck mounted winches that appeared to be ripped off!    Beneteau actually provided a new 36.7 to the owner.   Height matters because the overpass will ALWAYS win.

 

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Is the trailer roadworthy? You could consider making the trip yourself. I recently bought a 24' 5500 lbs (total trailer weight) boat in NC and trucked it myself back to WI. I looked into shipping, but ultimately went with an Enterprise truck rental. They allow towing (and insure against towing-related damage) and rented me a Ram 3500, which was ridiculous overkill. I've never trailered anything more than a few miles and it was rock-solid all the way home. As always, it comes down to how much your time is worth.

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I've thought of towing the boat myself, but the distance is approx. 3,200 miles, or about six days of driving for me. Hotel and gas would come to about $1,000,, rental truck about $500, plus my time, various towing risks/stress, etc. I tow 4000-lb. car/cargo trailers frequently, so it's not the technicalities that bother me, but the time which it will require.

The trailer would need wheel bearings repacked and some new tires; the rest seems fine.

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Larry at sales@360boatloader.com....he’s the best. 

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Rail is not an option. They don't want to deal with one-off unique cargos like this unless you are shipping something big and expensive like windmill blades or rocket bodies.

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You could try Chris at US Boat Haulers- http://usboathaulers.com

 

However, they're set up for much larger boats and don't normally take boats below 30' unless they're hauling two at once, so it may not be possible to come to a cost-effective arrangement for both of you. Can't hurt to ask though, worst he can say is "no".

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A long time ago (mid 90's), I shipped a 31 footer from Maryland to Port Orchard, WA and then back a couple of years later.  Flexibility is the key.  Gave the shipper lots of advance notice and had him hit a "pick up no earlier than and deliver no later than" window.  He paired it with 2 different power boats.  It went solo to NC, tandem to Houston and swapped powerboats, then to Eastern WA and then solo to the Salish.  Trucker washed it before delivery.  Coming back East with the same broker, he found a driver delivering to the west coast with no return load who wanted to get back to the east coast for Christmas and worked a solo haul, stopping only for time limits where the wide load could not travel after dark/on weekends.  Charged me a reduced rate as a repeat customer and for giving him a couple of months to arrange the trip.  Driver took a reduced fee as he got paid for what would have been a deadhead run cross country.  

Both ways, I had the boat prepped, mast wrapped and everything ready to go when the driver showed up.  Makes a difference in attitude if the driver can arrive, load and get on the road without waiting while you screw around with things that should have already been done.  

As Kent said, on the trailer, you would need a low boy with either a bobtail or a detachable gooseneck.  Getting on and off can be a hassle if the trailer doesn't have a winch.  You may need a travel lift to pick up the trailer/boat combo.  As others have said, best if its a retractable keel over a fin because a fin on a trailer on a lowboy gets very tall very quickly.  

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