An overseas move or long-term relocation can be a daunting undertaking – especially if you choose to move your classic boat overseas as well. However, when you don’t have the time or the inclination to actually sail your boat or have someone sail it for you across the Atlantic, an international boat freighting service will do the job of arranging for your classic boat’s safe passage. The most economical way to ship your boat is as freight aboard a larger vessel such as a container ship or some other type of cargo ship. Even larger yachts can be shipped as sea freight between ports with the right amount of preparation and planning. If you’ve never shipped a boat before, you may want to find a freighting service to help determine what kind of shipping method and preparation is right for your needs. Preparation often depends on the method you’ll be using and any requirements they have for loading and securing vessels. Here are the main steps you’ll need to go through.

Step one: decide which of the major boat shipping options meets your needs:

  • Many boat freighting services suggest what is known as roll-on, roll-off (RO/RO) shipping. With RO/RO, your boat is placed on a trailer and rolled onto the cargo ship where the trailer is then secured for its journey overseas. RO/RO shipping avoids the use of a crane to get your boat on-and-off the ship and is generally preferred because it’s often cheaper and requires less labor than the second option.
  • The second major option involves lifting your boat onto the ship with a crane. Prior to loading, a cradle is assembled on-board and is secured to the ship to hold your boat for the duration of the voyage. Your boat is lifted into the cradle and secured. Once your boat reaches the destination port, it’s off-loaded in the same manner. For classic boat-owners, this isn’t always the most welcome option as seeing one’s beloved classic boat hoisted high into the air does have a certain element of danger involved.
  • Lastly, if your origin and destination match up with their schedule, you may choose to use a company called DYT Yacht Transport. DYT vessels lower into the water – allowing boats to, literally, sail on board. When all boats are loaded, the DYT vessel rises and makes its way like any other ship. One of the benefits of DYT Yacht Transport is that owners can stay on-board for the voyage. While the accommodations aren’t very upscale, the chance to stay near your boat during shipping is a definite advantage to many owners.

Step two: prepare your boat for shipping:

Regardless of the option you choose from above, your boat must be partially disassembled prior to shipping. This typically involves what you would have to do for transporting anyway, so it should come as no surprise. Things like lowering the rig, removing spars, bracing and padding as much as possible will be necessary on your part. The final cost of shipping your classic boat is based on size, so you want to keep size in the back of your mind as you look for ways to reduce the overall dimensions of your vessel. Also, the less a boat is prepared and packaged for shipping, the more likely it is to sustain some sort of damage during transport.

Step three: make plans for accepting your classic boat’s overseas:

If you choose the RO/RO method, you will need a means to move your boat from the dock to a place where it can be launched. In most cases, this means finding a nearby boatyard to pick-up, re-assemble and launch your boat. If your boat was cradled, the shipping company may be willing to launch your boat into the water using their crane, but this can’t be guaranteed. From there, you would need to find a place to re-assemble your boat – making this a labor-intensive and unreliable option. Stick with having a boatyard do the work.

Tips for a smooth voyage:

  • Consider shrink-wrapping your classic boat regardless of the shipping method you chose. This is as much for your boat’s physical protection as it is to deter theft during the times when you aren’t with your boat.
  • Remove as much electronics and personal belongings as is reasonably possible. In the unlikely event of catastrophic damage, the less you have on-board to lose, the better.
  • Most shipping companies require you to have less than ¼ of a tank of fuel on-board. Plan ahead for this to ensure you’re in compliance. The shipping company may otherwise refuse your boat.

Gather advice from the experts:

Shipping your boat overseas is no small undertaking. There will be far more questions than we can answer in one article. Your best source of information and guidance is an experienced international boat freighting service that can answer questions specific to your boat and your particular needs. Bon voyage to both you and your boat!

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Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.

Written by Einat Mazafi
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.