6 min read

How to Prepare a Boat for Transport

10 Easy Steps
Havana Dauncey
· August 4, 2023
How to Prepare a Boat for Transport

Boat Transport Services

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Are you and your boat setting sail across the country? Here’s what you need to know!

First things first, you need to find a top-rated, trusted boat transportation company and find out what the specific requirements for boat transportation are and confirm their process.

Whether it’s just down the road or a long-distance move to the opposite side of the country, you’ll next need to start preparing your boat for transport! This not only saves you money by doing it yourself, but it ensures the process from when they load your boat until it’s offloaded at the destination goes as smoothly as possible and in tip-top condition.

So here are 10 simple ways you can prepare your boat for a move.

1. Measure Your Boat

Time to take out that tape measure! Measuring your boat’s dimensions is super important, as you’ll need to provide it to your boat transportation company in order for them to choose the right vehicle or trailer and organise the move to suit your needs.

It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right measurements. Here’s a brief breakdown of the 3 dimensions you need to measure:

  • Height: Starting at the highest static, non-removable part of the boat, going downwards towards the bottom-most part of the keel.

  • Length: From the tip of the bow of the boat and until you get to the centre-most part of the stern, including bow pulpits, swim platforms, motor brackets and the length of the motors or outdrives in the raised position.

  • Beam (Width): Measure the beam of the boat, which should give you the clearest indication of the full width of the vessel, including anything attached to the boat.

2. Pack Up Any Loose or Detachable Items

With all the hustle and bustle during transport, anything that isn’t completely secured or bolted down will move and can cause damage during transportation. So it’s important that you either pack and stow away any loose items that could move around or you remove them from the boat entirely.

This includes any plates, utensils, tops, curtains, seat cushions, as well as safety harnesses, man overboard buoys, anchors (bow and stern) and any other loose items hanging about both in and out of your boat.

Additionally, you should remove any detachable items on your boat that could either break or come off during transportation, such as antennas, radar units, compasses, satellite dishes, lights or depth sounders. These can either be packed inside or taken out completely.

Wise Move Boat Transport

3. Remove Personal Items and Flammables

The last thing you want is for any of your items to mysteriously disappear while in transit. So to avoid that, make sure to remove all your personal and valuable items from your boat beforehand. This includes food, clothes, linen, personal electronics and any other valuables.

Don't forget to remove any flammable items for safety reasons. This includes propane, Sterno cans, emergency flares and portable fuel tanks.

4. Secure All Hatches and Windows

Any sort of hatch, window or door can easily blow open during transport, causing quite a bit of damage. So make sure you close, lock, latch and secure any hatches or entrances found on your boat. This will also prevent any leaks from creeping in if there is rain during the journey.

It’s also recommended that you remove plastic or Plexiglass windshields and secure them below deck as the wind pressure can sometimes be a bit much for them, causing them to break.

5. Tape Down Any Cupboards

To stop your cabinets and cupboards from banging throughout the journey, it’s helpful to tape them down. So taping them down stops them from opening up unexpectedly and possibly causing damage to the interior of your boat. Even small constant vibrations can have an effect on your boat, so make sure you’ve taped them down as tightly and securely as possible.

6. Empty Fuel and Water Tanks

The lighter your boat, the better. This is why it’s essential that you empty most of your fuel and all of your water tanks, removing any drain plugs from the hull. This not only uses less fuel during transportation but also ensures safer travel.

There should be just enough fuel in your tank in case of emergencies, at least less than ⅓ left. This also prevents any oil from backing up through the vent due to transport movements.

Make sure to drain your water all the way, especially in winter. You can even go ahead and sanitise your water tank with a chlorine bleach solution while you’ve got the chance.

7. Unplug Battery Terminals

To prevent your battery from running out, it’s recommended that you disconnect the battery cables and tie them up to prevent them from touching. You can then simply secure them in the cabin when you’re done.

8. Be Careful with Shrink Wrap

It’s often recommended to protect the outside of your boat. And while shrink wrap is a popular, great option, shrink wrap isn’t always the way to go. Shrink wrap is known to tear due to the high winds during travel. This can cause quite a bit of damage to your boat due to the beating, chaffing and scratching of the torn shrink wrap on your boat.

While boat moving services will often keep an eye on your shrink wrap and do everything they can to prevent any tears, the risk is still yours to take.

Wise Move Boat Transport Cover

9. Give It a Good Clean

It might sound unnecessary when your boat is about to get very dirty on its journey, but cleaning your boat beforehand is an essential step. It allows you to clearly see and assess your boat for any existing damages before it is handed over to the movers.

Once you’re done cleaning, complete a thorough inspection of your boat and document any blemishes you find to share with your movers so that they’re aware they are there.

10. Take Photos Both Outside and Inside Your Boat

Once your boat is prepped, squeaky clean and ready for transport, don’t forget to take a bunch of photos of both the inside and outside. This ensures that you can guarantee that your boat at pick-up looks identical to when you dropped it off, helping you to identify any damages that could have occurred while in transit that can be covered by insurance.

It also keeps boat transportation companies safe, as photos can prove that damages existed before the travel, and therefore they are not liable for them.

Looking for an Affordable Boat Transport Service?

Your boat is all ready and prepped! Now all you need to do is confirm with your boat transport service your boat is ready. If you’re still looking for a low-cost reliable boat transportation company, we have just the one for you!

Wise Move’s moving services platform connects you with the top boat movers in the country, allowing you to compare prices and find the perfect boat transport service that matches your needs and budget in a quick and seamless process.

Get your boat transport quote todayso you can start prepping your boat and get it where it needs to be in no time!

Boat Transport Services

Boat transporters trusted by thousands of South Africans. Door to Door. Delivery Anywhere

9.2 · 1,947 reviews
Boat type

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