Boat Transport: What You Need to Know About Costs and Your Options

How Much Does it Cost To Transport a Boat

Many things in life can cause us to move from one home to another, and packing up your belongings and safely transporting them can be a challenge. Even so, some things are more complicated to move than others, and boats happen to be one of them—especially when it comes to moving larger vessels across a great distance.

As you may expect, the further your boat needs to travel, the costlier the endeavor will be, especially if someone else is doing the shipping for you. But how much does it cost to transport a boat, and what factors play a role in determining that cost?

Boat Size and Transportation Costs

How far you need to transport your boat is only one part of the equation. Another critical factor in determining the price is the size of your ship. Not only does a longer length take up more space on the world, but it's also usually indicative of weight, which can put more strain on the vehicle that's transporting your boat.

With that info in mind, it's no surprise that a bigger boat will, on average, cost more per mile to transport. While the exact cost will depend on who you're hiring for transport, prices for boat moving services based on size look like this on average:

●       Greater than twelve feet long: $2.75 - $3.75 per mile

●       Twelve feet long: $2.50 - $3.50 per mile

●       Eleven feet long: $2.25 - $3.25 per mile

●       Ten feet long: $2 - $3 per mile

●       Nine feet long: $1.75 - $2.75 per mile

●       Smaller than nine feet long: $1.50 - $2.50

To get a ballpark for fair pricing for transportation, multiple how many miles are in your trip by the value based on the size of your boat. For example, a ten-foot-long boat traveling five-hundred miles will likely cost between $1000 and $1,500 to transport.

When you call a transport company for an estimate, have your boat's measurement and the distance of your trip to help get an estimate more smoothly. To help save money, plan to get at least three quotes for your transport before committing to a deal. A local sailboat trader can also help you find a reliable company with experience with handling boats.

Different Transportation Methods

If you're looking to transport your boat across the land, you'll likely find prices comparable to those mentioned above. In these situations, the shipping company may use a single vehicle to tow the boat, or it may end up on a trailer based on its size. However, not every transportation plan will have a straight shot of land that's drivable.

In these cases, an alternative transportation method is placing your boat on another (more giant) ship and taking a water route, which can also be quicker than land transport. Keeping the boat on a trailer, using an enclosed container, and flat racks are conventional methods for this approach. Enclosed containers and customized flat trays can be more expensive, as they match to your boat's specific needs.

Another aspect of water travel that can impact your cost is the route you use. If you choose to use a preexisting course, you may have delays in delivery due to weather and other incidents. However, customizing the route can become much more expensive as a result, though.

Things You Should Look for in a Boat Transport Company

Aside from looking for good price deals, you should only choose a reputable shipping company when preparing to transport your boat. While new boat prices don't impact the costs of transportation, you should take extra care when shipping a newer vessel. Here are some areas to consider when comparing your available options.


Even when you have boating insurance, the conditions of extended shipping likely aren't part of your coverage. You want the company to have a base insurance policy for transportation, and cargo insurance to protect your boat is also helpful. Even when the shipper has this coverage, however, you are still responsible for securing your boat beforehand to prevent any potential damages.


Since you'll be entrusting your boat with someone else for likely an extended amount of time, you may be spending a while without being able to check in on it in person. A shipper's tracking options can let you know where your boat is, so it's worthwhile to ask if a company has any available before settling on a final deal.


In many ways, tracking is a part of communication, but there's more to this factor than letting you know where your boat is. A good shipping company will also be willing to answer any questions you have and inform you when potential issues arrive. If you can't trust a transporter when discussing the details of payments, coverage, and timelines, should you trust them with your boat?