How to Choose a Boat Transporter
Before you prepare your boat to be transported, you need to research and choose a reliable carrier. There are 4 important issues to take into account:
- Authority: Whichever carrier you select must have the correct authority. Any legal carrier should be authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Authority and the Federal DOT. These numbers should be in your carrier’s uShip profile information. The website SAFER (safer.fmcsa.dot.gov) allows you to verify your carrier by their MC and DOT license numbers.
- Insurance: You will need additional insurance from the shipping company because your personal boat insurance probably won’t cover any professional transportation damages. You can look up a carrier’s insurance information on SAFER (safer.fmcsa.dot.gov). Make sure they offer cargo insurance, as basic liability insurance won’t cover your boat. If their base insurance policy doesn’t cover your boat’s value, it may be a good idea to ask about purchasing additional coverage.
- Tracking: Many transportation companies allow you to track your shipment online. If you’d like to stay on top of where your boat is, ask potential carriers about their tracking options. Keep in mind, the best transporters are also great communicators.
- Feedback: It is important to check a carrier’s references and track record. Look at their history, feedback rating and comments on their uShip profile. You can also check their background through the Better Business Bureau (www.thebbb.org) for any major complaints against the company.
Compare possible carriers using these factors. Finally, when listing your boat on uShip, choose a registered carrier you feel comfortable with based on your budget, time frame, insurance requirements and preferences.
Getting the Best Boat Transport Quote
You will want to get several boat transport quotes when you decide to ship your boat. Quotes are based on the origin, destination, desired transport dates, and measurements of your boat. Having this information prepared along with the make and model of your boat allows a carrier to provide an accurate price for shipping your boat.
After you’ve received your boat transport quote, ask the shipping company how they have configured the quote. The quotes you receive should be all-inclusive. For the transporter, the price will include the cost of permit fees, tolls, gas, and profit. Take time to shop around for good quotes, but don’t take cuts in quality just to get a lower price. Do not hire a carrier who cuts corners by dropping cargo insurance or permits that hauling your boat requires. As the shipper, you can certainly influence the price of your shipment. With some flexibility on your part, some companies may be able to legitimately offer lower quotes.
Save on boat shipping by:
- Keeping your boat under heights that require extra permits.
- Filling a back-haul, which requires advance planning and flexible shipment dates.
- Choosing marinas that have proper clearance to avoid trailer changes (and charges).
- Properly preparing your boat for transport to avoid damages.
- Leveraging competing transport quotes to receive a lower price.
The best way to save money on boat shipping is to be prepared throughout the whole process. The easier it is for a transporter to haul your boat, the more money you save. Look for reputable companies that can provide cheaper options, but put service, safety, and security first.
Communicating With Your Boat Hauler
Good communication with your boat hauler will help ensure a good experience for both of you.
Ask plenty of questions!
- Make sure the companies you speak with transport boats of the same size and type as your boat.
- Get information on the equipment they plan on using for your boat.
- Ask questions about their loading and unloading procedures.
- Find out if there are any specific needs they may have regarding your boat.
- Will they need a special permit for your load?
If they are unwilling or unable to answer your questions professionally, you may want to think about looking at another carrier.
You need to be clear about the pickup and dropoff locations. Do not, however, give the hauler the specific pickup and dropoff addresses until you are sure you will be doing business with them. This ensures that they do not pick up the boat early without your permission.
Some companies transport boats on a large flatbed trailer; if so the boat hauler may need to transfer your boat to a smaller tow vehicle to reach residential areas. Make sure you know these details, so that you aren’t surprised by any extra costs.
Discuss the payment process early on with your service provider. Make sure you are both completely clear on all of the terms of the transaction, including the insurance and refund policies. Have these terms documented and signed in case of any disagreements that may arise, and closely read the fine print of the contract presented to you.
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