The Average Cost Of Shipping A Boat

Shipping a boat, whether it’s for a relocation, sale, or vacation, involves several considerations, with cost being a significant factor. Understanding the average cost of shipping a boat can help you plan and budget effectively. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the various factors influencing boat shipping costs and provide estimated prices to give you a clearer picture. Knowing the average cost can help you budget effectively and avoid any surprises during the process.

a yacht being hauled by a truck

Factors Influencing Boat Shipping Costs

Several factors come into play when it comes to shipping a boat as outlined by experts from A1AutoTransport , all of which contribute to its overall cost. For anyone considering moving their boat, it is necessary to understand these factors.

Let us examine some key considerations but feel free to give them a call at 1-888-245-1949 to get an actual quote.

Boat SizeEstimated Shipping Cost Range (Domestic)Estimated Shipping Cost Range (International)
Small Boats (Up to 20 feet)$1,000 – $3,000$3,000 – $8,000 or more
Medium-Sized Boats (20 to 40 feet)$2,000 – $5,000$5,000 – $15,000 or more
Large Boats (Over 40 feet)$5,000 and above$10,000 – $50,000 or more

Note: The estimated shipping costs are indicative and can vary based on specific factors such as distance, destination, boat specifications, and transportation method. It is advisable for boat owners to consider these factors and plan their budget accordingly.

1. Boat Size and Type

The size and type of your vessel will greatly determine how much it will cost you to ship it. Smaller vessels such as dinghies or small fishing boats are usually cheaper to move. When you go up to medium-sized boats like cabin cruisers and sport fishing boats and mainly big boats like yachts or luxury vessels, costs start going high.

These bigger ships require special carriers and also face more logistical issues making them more expensive. Some of these logistical aspects include getting permits and carefully planning how you will pass obstacles thus influencing the total transportation fees.

2. Distance and Location

Both distance and location where your boat is being moved play critical roles in determining the overall costs attached to its shipment. If a boat is being sent across the country or abroad then logistics become complicated thereby increasing the charges compared to local domestic shipping services.

The geographical features concerning pickup and delivery points are vital; remote or less accessible points may lead to higher transportation expenses. Such cases may call for specialized equipment or additional resources thereby complicating the process of moving hence affecting how much you will end up spending on your shipment.

3. Transportation Method

The method of transport chosen significantly determines how much it will cost you to have your boat shipped. Often, overland transport is more affordable for shorter distances because it involves driving. The choice to be made on the other side of the continent will involve such things as shipping lines, routes and rates. 

Also, the prices are affected by whether you choose between open and closed transportation. Despite its low price, open transport exposes your boat to harsh weather conditions during shipping. But enclosed transport costs more due to added security and climate control for your valuable vessel.

Various Modes of transporting a Boat

When considering the overland transport of your boat, the prices are generally in line with the previously mentioned rates. In such cases, the transportation company might employ a single vehicle for towing or utilize a trailer based on the boat’s size. However, not all transportation routes may have a direct and easily navigable land passage.

In these instances, an alternative approach involves placing your boat on a larger vessel and opting for a water route, which can sometimes be a faster alternative to land transport. Common methods for this include keeping the boat on a trailer, utilizing an enclosed container, or employing flat racks. It’s worth noting that enclosed containers and customized flat trays may incur higher costs, tailored to meet the specific requirements of your boat.

The choice of water route can also influence the overall cost. Opting for a predefined course might lead to delivery delays due to factors like weather and unforeseen incidents. On the other hand, customizing the route could significantly increase expenses, balancing the need for a tailored journey against potential higher costs.

boat transportation cost by mode of transport.

Estimated Costs for shipping a boat | Boat Transport cost

Having looked at the main concerns, let’s have a look at how much it would cost to ship a boat:

1. Small Boats (Up to 20 feet)

For smaller boats like dinghies or small fishing boats, domestic transport within a few hundred miles usually falls in the range of $1000-$3000. However for longer distances or international shipping, these costs can rise up to $3000-$8000 or even more. 

Boat owners should consider their budget and transportation requirements before choosing appropriate options as there can be significant differences in terms of expenses depending on distance covered and type of shipment involved for small boats.

2. Medium-Sized Boats (20 to 40 feet)

Because of their larger size, shipping costs for mid-sized boats such as cabin cruisers and sport fishing vessels tend to be much higher. The domestic shipping of these boats may cost between $2,000 and $5,000 more because of the logistics involved. With international shipment, this may rise to between $5,000 and $15,000 or even more depending on the destination. 

Transportation methods and associated expenses are also influenced by factors like a ship’s height or width since oversized boats would require specialized carriers and permits. These variables should be carefully considered by those owning medium-sized boats in order to calculate total shipping expenses accurately so that they can plan their budget accordingly.

3. Large Boats (Over 40 feet)

Shipping big yachts or luxury boats is expensive. Domestic transportation for big ships starts from about $5000 and can go up to over $15000 due to the problems caused by it. On the other hand, international freight charges on these large vessels could range from $10,000 up to$ 50,000 depending on the destination and specific criteria.

 What is more is that it is very costly when one wants to transport bigger ships as they usually require special carriers and equipment among others which add significantly to the overall cost of transportation. Consequently boat owners with bigger ships must plan well before shipping them by looking at such factors ensuring they understand all costs involved in order to make rational choices that ensure safety and protection of their huge investments.

Additional Considerations for transporting your vessel or PWC

Other than the basic factors mentioned above as well as estimated costs there are several other factors that can affect your boat’s overall expense during shipping:

1. Preparation and Packaging

Ensuring your boat is adequately prepared and packaged for transport is a critical aspect of a successful shipping process. It goes beyond simply tacking it down for the trip; it requires careful attention to details. Some precautions include tying up loose items, removing any personal items, and protecting fragile parts that can be damaged during movement.

Although professional preparation services may attract additional charges, they help to facilitate smoother and safer transport. It is often wise to invest in appropriate preparation and packing since this can avert potential damages during transit so that by the time your boat reaches its destination point, it is still in the same condition as it was before departure.

These costs are worthwhile for ship owners looking for stress-free transportation because thorough preparation provides peace of mind and protection.

2. Insurance

Insurance is an important part of shipping a boat as it offers essential coverage for potential damages or losses that may occur during transportation. Although it affects the overall cost, its value cannot be ignored. The cost of insurance varies with factors such as the boat’s worth and kind of cover chosen. 

To ensure sufficient protection for the owner’s valuable asset, it is important to understand well what these policies cover or don’t cover in order to make informed decisions about insurance terms and coverage.

Different insurance options may offer varying levels of coverage, and boat owners should assess their specific needs and the potential risks involved in the shipping process. With comprehensive insurance, one is not only financially secure but also has some peace knowing that their expensive maritime investment is protected.

DOT and FMCA Authorizations that they have? The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) both regulate the transportation of boats. So, a good boat transport company “should” have all the necessary authorizations and licenses.

3. Custom Regulations and Fees

Navigating customs regulations and associated fees is pivotal in international ship transport. Import/export dues, duties and other government impositions may hugely build-up the overall cost hence it is crucial to understand these expenses and plan for them.

Attaining this knowledge takes expertise, which makes it important to work with experienced shipping experts for smooth operation. 

While it may cost extra, engaging a customs broker may be very useful. These individuals are specifically trained on how to navigate through complicated paperwork, comply with regulations and make sure that there is no hold at the customs clearance stage.

The result is minimized delays that could be caused by errors and complications, which leads to a better international shipping experience. It is therefore clever for boat owners to ensure that they have entrusted their vessels to customs brokers in order to avoid complex procedures of customs adherence.

Advice on Transporting a used boat across state lines:

  • Research Regulations and Permits:
    • Understand the regulations and permits required for transporting a boat across state lines.
    • Check if there are any restrictions or specific documentation needed for the journey.
  • Select a Reliable Transporter:
  • Get Multiple Quotes:
  • Verify Insurance Coverage:
    • Confirm that the chosen transporter has adequate insurance coverage for your boat during transit.
    • Understand the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.
  • Prepare the Boat Properly:
    • Secure all loose items and remove any valuables from the boat.
    • Consider winterizing the boat if applicable and inform the transporter of any specific handling requirements.
  • Check State-Specific Regulations:
    • Be aware of any state-specific regulations or requirements related to boat transport in each state you’ll be crossing.
    • Ensure compliance with weight limits, size restrictions, and any other relevant rules.
  • Plan the Route and Schedule:
    • Work with the transporter to plan the most efficient and safe route for transportation.
    • Consider the timing of the journey to avoid traffic, weather issues, or other potential delays.
  • Communicate Clearly with the Transporter:
    • Provide accurate information about the boat’s dimensions, weight, and any special handling instructions.
    • Establish clear communication channels with the transporter throughout the process.
  • Inspect the Boat Upon Arrival:
    • Thoroughly inspect the boat upon delivery to ensure it arrives in the expected condition.
    • Document any damages immediately and communicate with the transporter.
  • Be Prepared for Unforeseen Circumstances:
    • Understand that unforeseen circumstances such as weather delays or road closures may occur.
    • Have contingency plans in place and maintain flexibility in your schedule.
  • Keep Important Documents Handy:
    • Keep all relevant documents, including permits, insurance papers, and contact information for the transporter, easily accessible during the journey.
    • When checking your boat measurements you need to give them to the boat shipping company to obtain a boat shipping price. The estimate will be provided in the boat transport quote by the boat transporters themselves so you can sign a contract directly with them HIN Search

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How is the cost to transport a yacht calculated per mile?

The cost to transport a yacht per mile is determined by factors like the size of the yacht, its weight, the distance to be covered, and any additional services required. Transport companies typically provide personalized quotes based on these factors.


Boat Length<100 miles100-500 mi.500-1,000 mi.>1,000 mi.
Under 12 ft.$4.00$1.75$1.40$1.25
12-18 ft.$4.50$2.00$1.45$1.30
18-24 ft.$5.00$2.25$1.50$1.45
24-30 ft.$8.00$2.50$1.85$1.75
30-36 ft.$12.00$3.50$2.25$1.90
>36 ft.$15.00$4.00$2.50$2.15


  • Range of Boat Transport Cost Per Mile: The table provides a breakdown of boat transport costs per mile based on boat length and distance. The costs vary depending on the size of the boat and the distance it needs to be transported.
  • Comparison Across Distances: As the distance increases, the cost per mile generally decreases, reflecting volume discounts for longer hauls.
  • Average Prices: The average prices listed in the table are reflective of market conditions from March 2022 to March 2023. These prices are subject to change due to factors such as pickup and delivery locations, fuel prices, and seasonal variations.
  • Considerations for Boat Owners: Boat owners are advised to obtain quotes from different transporters to compare prices and services. Discounts may be available for multiple boat shipments or during off-peak seasons, emphasizing the importance of exploring options before making a decision.

Tips for Reducing Boat Shipping Costs:

  1. Off-Peak Season Transport: Save on boat shipping by choosing off-peak seasons, such as fall or winter, when demand is lower, reducing overall costs.
  2. Terminal-to-Terminal Option: Opt for terminal-to-terminal transport, dropping off and picking up your boat at designated terminals, which can be cost-effective compared to door-to-door service.
  3. Flexibility in Shipping Dates: Cut costs by being flexible with shipping dates, choosing less-demanding times to transport your boat and avoiding peak seasons.
  4. Open Transport Trailers: Choose open transport trailers instead of enclosed ones to save on transport costs, even though your boat will be exposed to the elements.
  5. Bulk Shipping Discounts: If shipping multiple boats, benefit from discounts offered by many transport companies for simultaneous shipments.
  6. Obtain Multiple Quotes: Ensure the best value by obtaining multiple boat shipping quotes, allowing you to compare prices and services and choose the most cost-effective option.
boat transportation cost by distance and boat type

Conclusion | average cost of transporting a boat

What determines the average cost of shipping a boat? These include size; distance; modes of transport; among other factors.

Small boats may have more affordable shipping options while larger vessels especially those meant for international transportation can create significant costs. So what must you do? This entails your careful evaluation of what you need as well as approximate prices plus working with reputable firms involved in shipping so that you can enjoy convenient movement of your beloved vessel.

Getting a quote enabled boat owners to make good choices about the average price of transporting their cargos to different destinations around the world thereby allowing them to effectively manage their budgets while still making use of an efficient shipping system without any stress involved.

When one decides on selling off his boat or moving from one place to another through maritime transport then he should check on what constitutes the average pricing in order to get prepared for such a remarkable adventure ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Boat Shipping

  1. What is the average freight cost for shipping a boat?
    • The average freight cost for shipping a boat can vary based on factors such as the size, weight, and destination of the boat. For a more accurate estimate, it is recommended to contact a professional boat shipping service.
  2. How does boat shipping work?
    • Boat shipping involves hiring a professional boat transport service. They assess the boat’s specifications, provide a quote, and arrange for a suitable carrier. The boat is secured onto the carrier, transported to the destination, and then unloaded. The entire process is managed by the shipping company.
  3. Can you ship a boat in a container?
    • Generally, boats are not shipped in standard shipping containers. Specialized boat transport methods, such as roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) or flat rack shipping, are more common. Container shipping is usually not feasible due to size and weight constraints.
  4. What is the average cost of a boat survey?
    • The cost of a boat survey varies based on the boat’s size and complexity. On average, expect to pay a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars for a comprehensive marine survey conducted by a qualified surveyor.
  5. What is the average cost to ship a boat per mile?
    • The average cost to ship a boat per mile depends on factors like the boat’s size, weight, and the distance to be covered. Professional boat transport companies provide personalized quotes based on these details.
  6. How much does it cost to ship a boat across the US?
    • The cost to ship a boat across the United States varies widely. It is influenced by factors such as the distance, boat specifications, and transport services required. To get an accurate estimate, contact a reputable boat transport company.
  7. How much does it cost to ship a boat and trailer?
    • The cost to ship a boat and trailer is determined by the combined weight, dimensions, and distance to be covered. Transport companies assess these factors to provide a tailored quote for shipping both the boat and trailer.
  8. How much does it cost to ship a boat from Florida to California?
    • The cost to ship a boat from Florida to California is influenced by the distance, boat specifications, and any additional services needed. To get an accurate estimate for this specific route, it is recommended to contact a professional boat transport service with the relevant details.

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