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Different Types of Boat Transportation - How to Choose The Right One for Your Boat

Whether you want to sail a lake that’s miles from you or you want to take your vessel to a boat show, you need a reliable way to transport your boat. Owning a boat is considering the right boat transportation if you need to take your vessel to different places. Let's explore the four available modes of transport and some tips to help you decide the best one for your needs.

Ways to Transport a Boat

Boats come in different sizes and shapes, which is why there are four methods to transport boats. You can transport a boat by:

  • Using a boat trailer
  • Using the services of a professional hauler
  • Transporting a boat through its bottom
  • Using a transport ship

Using a Boat Trailer

Some boat owners who take their vessels to different bodies of water may prefer to buy their boat trailers. If you own a boat trailer, you won't have to worry about renting one, plus you can personally handle the transport and safety of your vessel.

Boat owners who have trailers must have a vehicle capable of towing or hauling a hefty load. A truck is always the best option, but you may always rent a truck built for hauling a boat and trailer if this is not available.

If you have a truck but don’t have a trailer, boat trailer rentals are also available. You can inquire about this from the marina where you keep your boat or from your dealership. A good search online will also reveal some boat trailer rental companies in your area.

Using a Professional Boat Trailer

You may need the services of a professional boat transportation company if you plan to transport your boat over long distances. Hiring a pro may cost more, but it is the safest and the most worry-free way to transport a boat, especially if you have a large-size vessel.

Professionals know the different regulations regarding hauling boats overland. Here are some of the most important points they consider:

  • First, boats carried overland must not be wider than 12 feet.
  • Boats must not be taller than 13 feet and 6 inches. This rule considers the maximum height limit for most bridges and entryways. Boat parts such as the mast, tower, etc., may be removed before transport.
  • Boats must be ready for transport during the time of departure. The destination should have 14 feet overhead clearance to load or unload the boat safely. You are personally responsible for getting your boat ready (removing some parts, packing and securing accessories, etc.)

You can arrange for a professional boat trailer transport service as long as your vessel meets these requirements. The cost of

hiring a professional boat towing service will depend on many factors, including the size of your boat, your destination, and the overall value of your vessel (for insurance).

Shipping Through its Bottom

Shipping your boat on its bottom is simply riding your boat to your destination and not using a trailer or land transport service. Some new owners decide on this method to give them a chance to test their new vessels. They mostly ride the Intracoastal waters to their hometown. However, some boat manufacturers ship boats to their new owners with the help of a delivery captain and well-trained crew.

Transporting a boat through this method is costly as you need a special kind of insurance that provides the delivery captain and his crew with accommodations and provisions. This insurance also covers the cost of flying the captain and his crew home once done.

Using a Transportation Ship

Sometimes, a vessel may be too big or valuable to transport on its bottom that owners and manufacturers use big ships. This method will require you to work with a freight forwarding company specializing in boat transportation or Ocean Transport Intermediary or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

These companies will reserve a space for your boat onboard a large shipping vessel. This method is the only way to ship your boat across international waters or to different countries.

Which is The Right One for You?

The right kind of boat transportation for your vessel will depend on the type and size of your boat, the destination, and your budget. Small boats like fishing boats, deck boats, and pontoons require a trailer, while larger vessels like yachts, sailboats, and houseboats need a professional towing service. Shipping a boat from its bottom may also be the best method for larger boats.

You may prefer to tow your boat for shorter destinations, but for farther or international destinations, using a boat shipping service could be the most reasonable choice. Budget-wise, the most economical way is to use your trailer, although you have no choice but to have your vessel professionally towed if you need to go further.


Whether you have a large boat or a small one, any of these boat transportation methods will surely be worth your time, effort, and money. If you choose to hire a boat trailer service, take time to find the right company. Check online reviews, ask for complete documentation, and inquire about their rates before you settle for the right one.

If you're under a tight budget and have a towing vehicle, you may rent a trailer service instead. But either way, you still need to research before hiring any service. It won't be long when you're ready to sail to your new destination.

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