10 Tips for Moving a Small Boat

Are you a sailing enthusiast or a weekend boater?

If so, you will probably want to bring your vessel when you move.

Proper planning and preparation are crucial to ensure your boat’s smooth, safe, and secure transport, whether you’re moving across town or across state lines.

To navigate these uncharted waters, the team at Bridgeview Van Lines has compiled a list of 10 tips that will protect your boat and ensure a hassle-free move.

Self Transporting a Smaller Vessel

Portable small crafts, like a canoe or kayak, will fit inside your moving van or on the top of your vehicle.

For self-hauling a boat using a trailer attached to the back of your vehicle, you’ll want to adhere to these parameters:

  • Your boat should be no more than 22 feet in length
  • Your boat should have a beam width of no more than 8′ 6″
  • Your boat should be no more than 12.5 feet tall, including the trailer
  • Your trailer and hitch must be rated for safely towing your boat based on its dimensions and weight
  • Your boat should have a centerboard, daggerboard, or outboard motor rather than a keel or inboard engine
  • If your boat is a sailboat, it should have an easily removed mast
  • You or whoever is driving should have experience in pulling the boat
  • Your trailer plates, insurance, and licensing should be current

If you plan to move a boat outside these parameters, hire an experienced mover like Bridgeview Van Lines to help. The team at Bridgeview Van Lines has experience in boat relocation and auto transportation throughout the country.

Tips for Moving Your Small Boat

If your boat does fall within the above-referenced parameters, you should have no problem moving your boat on your own.

Simply follow these instructions:

1. Plan your trip and your route 

When it comes to planning a self-haul, you’ll want to begin preparations well in advance of your move.

Remember, the wider and longer the boat is, the more challenging the haul will be, and taking the shortest route isn’t always an option.

Consider local regulations and permits required for boat transportation and plan your route accordingly. Also, consider factors such as low bridges, narrow roads, and tight turns that might affect your journey.

2. Choose the right trailer

Invest in a sturdy and reliable boat trailer that suits the size and weight of your vessel.

Ensure the trailer has appropriate safety features like brakes, lights, and tie-down straps.

Be sure to inspect the trailer for any signs of wear and tear before embarking on your journey.

3. Secure the boat properly

Carefully securing the boat to your trailer is essential, especially if you are hauling it over a long distance.

Use sturdy straps or chains, not rope, to secure the boat to the trailer, minimizing movement during transportation. You can use old foam pieces or rubber mats as padding between your boat and the straps to protect its finish.

It is also advisable to use blocks or wedges to prevent the boat from shifting during transit.

4. Protect your boat

Speaking of protecting your boat’s finish, you’ll want to shield it from road debris by covering it with a protective tarp or shrink wrap. That will help safeguard the exterior from scratches, dust, and damage caused by wind during transportation.

Be sure to take extra precautions to protect vulnerable parts of your boat, such as the propeller, by removing it or using a guard.

5. Check your tire pressure and wheel bearings

Before setting off, inspect the trailer’s tires for proper inflation and ensure the wheel bearings are well lubricated.

This maintenance step is crucial for a safe and smooth journey, reducing the risk of blowouts and minimizing wear on the trailer’s axles.

6. Check your breaks

For smaller boats, your vehicle’s existing brake system should be fine. However, if the combined weight of the boat/trailer is more than 3000 pounds, the trailer must have a standalone brake system.

A trailer equipped with a brake system will also feature breakaway brakes, which activate should the trailer become disconnected. 

7. Mind your speed and obey all traffic laws

While on the road, adhere to recommended speed limits and exercise caution during turns, especially when towing a boat.

Allow for extra braking distance, and be mindful of the added weight and dimensions of the trailer and boat.

Some states have lower speed limits for vehicles that tow a trailer based on height and weight.

Alaska, for example, has a posted maximum tow speed of 45 MPH, and Arizona has a 66 MPH limit.

If you are hauling your boat across multiple states, research the different regulations for each jurisdiction.

8. Consider fuel and battery

Drain the fuel from your boat for long-distance moves to prevent leaks or fumes during transportation.

Disconnect and secure the boat’s battery, ensuring it won’t jostle around or accidentally make contact, which could cause a fire hazard.

9. Communicate with others

Establish a communication system if you’re traveling in a group or with another vehicle.

You can either use walkie-talkies or a mobile phone, but be sure to regularly check in with each other to ensure everyone is aware of any road hazards or changes in the route.

10. Confirm your insurance coverage

Lastly, confirm your insurance coverage for the boat during transportation.

Check with your insurance provider to ensure adequate protection in case of any unforeseen incidents or accidents during the move.

Hire a Moving Company Offering Boat Transport Services

Moving a boat, regardless of size, can be a real challenge.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave it in the hands of a boat moving service company.

The team at Bridgeview Van Lines is expertly trained to offer the country’s best boat transportation services. From fishing boats, trawlers, and bowriders to catamarans, cabin cruisers, and yachts, Bridgeview Van Lines can move your boat anywhere in the country safely and securely.

Use our online form to get a free moving quote today, or call 888-249-4620 to speak with one of our residential moving experts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts