Boat Prep for Transport

We are NOT Boat Prep Experts and only have experience to guide you.
You should work with a qualified boat preparer to prepare for any transport.

Boat Prep for Over-the-Road Transport

Moving Boats Since 1920

Associated Boat Transport

Associated Boat Transport

Preparing Your Boat for Transport

It is important to understand that once loaded on the truck the boat will be moving at highway speeds of 55 mph or more, and that the truck may well encounter head or cross winds in excess of 50 mph. Resulting winds over the deck can exceed 100 mph. Rain, snow, and hail are common occurrences. The boat itself is designed to withstand these conditions but accessories, including canvas, rigging, flying-bridge windshields, electronics and more, are not able to stand up to the impacts of these elements. With this in mind, we recommend the following steps be taken when prepping the boat.

  • Put everything away as if you were going to be in a storm. Modern air-ride trailers provide a smooth ride. Lifting the boat on and off can be bumpy.
    • Doors, drawers, windows, portholes, and hatches should be closed, locked and taped shut.
    • Televisions and shelves should be secured
  • Disconnect the batteries
  • Drain most the fuel and all water tanks to reduce weight
  • Empty septic system
  • If there is a possibility of encountering freezing temperatures (remember the mountains), WINTERIZE the boat!
    • drain all fresh-water systems and add antifreeze to the engine cooling system.
    • Ask your local boatyard for more details

  • Canvas covers and other exterior tarps must be removed and stored inside.
  • All accessory items like horns, speakers, spotlights, etc. need to be well secured.
    • If removed, cover the screw holes with tape.
  • Remove the following items: props, rudders, venturi wind screens, arches, etc. We will tell you what needs to be removed.
  • Do not leave any loose items on the deck.


  1. Remove the kicker motor and store inside
  2. Dinghy should be removed from the cabin top, davits, or transom-step mounts and carried on the trailers' goose neck. (see photo)

Personal Effects

You are shipping a BOAT. Its contents ride along as extra baggage. Anything inside such as personal effects, moving boxes, electronics, fishing gear etc. may stay; however, be aware the carrier is not insuring and is not responsible for any interior items. If the load is overweight, the cost will go up or items will need to be removed. Keys should stay with you or hide them on the boat. The boat hauler will not be responsible for keys.

  • A personal trailer can be loaded on top of a low boy trailer If the boat and trailer is not over legal height (See Photo).
    • Your trailer retains its current condition.
    • The boat must fit well and be tied to the trailer.
    • All attaching devices (winches, ropes, wire, etc.) must be in good condition and able to secure the boat.
    • The hauler is not responsible for damage to the boat caused by your trailer.

Fly Bridge
  • Removed fly bridges and arches can be placed anywhere they fit well on the boat or on the poop deck of the trailer. (see photos)
    •  If on the boat, pad the bottom of the bridge well with carpet then tie securely to the boat. If on the poop deck of the trailer a wood frame under the edges of the bridge are necessary to protect these edges.


As a general rule, we do not advise the use of shrink wrap. If not properly wrapped with heavy mil material, well padded in sharp areas, it will probably rip in transit.

If we cannot repair the rip (we carry shrink wrap tape), we must remove it and throw it away.

In a very short period of time, loose ends can cause severe damage anywhere the shrinkwrap is flapping.


Remove all shrouds, stays, spreaders and external halyards from masts. Mark and pack them inside the boat.

  1. Remove antennas, wind instruments, lights, radar etc.
  2. Internal halyards should be removed. If they are left on, they should be wrapped and taped to the mast.
  3. Unless instructed otherwise, do not put the mast on top of the boat. It could bend the pulpits and or damage hatches. Masts are carried in special padded holders alongside the boat.
  4. Winches are normally ok to leave on. Larger boats may need them removed due to height.
  5. Keels may need to be removed to reduce height.
  6. Booms should be stored inside of boat. If they won’t fit, they can go in a mast rack.


These need special attention as they are very susceptible to chaffing damage.

  1. Wrap them well with at least two layers of bubble wrap or rug with the nap towards the mast. Do not use regular visqueen; it only holds out water and is too thin to prevent chaffing.
  2. Be careful not to allow any objects between the wrapping and the mast (i.e. shrouds, wires, ect.). Vibration can cause chaffing damage even through the padding.

HELPFUL HINT: When using duct tape, make the first wrap tight with the sticky side up away from the mast. Then make a couple of wraps with the sticky sides towards one another. This will help prevent the adhesive from pulling varnish or paint off of the mast and avoid the need to clean adhesive off the mast. Used rug can be obtained free from any carpet stores garbage bin.


By law, all boat transportation companies are required to carry cargo insurance. The maximum value carried by each varies greatly. Be sure the carrier’s maximum insurance coverage is greater than your boat’s value. If there is a loss, you are only entitled to the cost of repair or the boat’s actual value. Ask the carrier for specific coverage and policy exclusions. They can be very different. To get maximum coverage it is advisable to have a Transportation Rider attached to your yacht policy. The shipper (customer) needs to be aware that the carrier does not warrant the condition, integrity, craftsmanship, or packing of any part of the boat. Damage attributed to the above items as well as wind and weather damage is not covered by the carrier.