Congratulations; you’re getting ready to move your small boat to new waters! You are likely to see new things and have great experiences, but first you need to get there. While you could transport your boat yourself, there are countless reasons why you should choose a pro. Only thing is, before you turn the boat over to your professional boat transporter you need to get the boat ready to go.
If your boat will be transported on the carrier’s trailer it doesn’t matter if your boat is 15’ or 50’; preparation of the boat is the same prior to pick up. Remove any items that can fall, break or be blown off and place them in the cabin or secure them down such as cushions, coolers, equipment, etc. Canvas, eisenglass, antennas, etc. all should all be removed and stored in a safe location. Keys, electronics, paper work, and items of value should all be locked up if possible. Protect your boat with shrink wrap if you like, however, we don’t necessarily recommend it. It is your decision. There should be no water of any kind in the boat or on the boat. If it is a winter transport it is imperative that all water is drained and depending on where the boat is and where it is going you may want the marina/boat yard to winterize the vessel. The boat should have only enough fuel to get to a fuel dock from a ramp or yard, 25% full or less is acceptable.
When you want to transport your boat on its own trailer here are some things to do days or weeks before the driver arrives. Make sure the dimensions you provided the transporter are correct. The driver needs to arrive with an appropriate rig to move the boat/trailer. Check to make sure the trailer frame structurally sound. If your trailer doesn’t have a spare, get one. This could save you hundreds of dollars! Check your tires age, are they older than 5 years? Ask us how to determine the age of your tire if you are unsure. Tires time out on boat trailers due to age and dry rot they don’t wear out. Again replacing tires that need to be can save you time and money vs. repair while it is sitting on the side of the road. Have the wheels and bearings been serviced recently? Are all lights functioning as they were designed to? Do the brakes work? If the trailer has more than 1 axle, it is more than likely required to have brakes that function. If there are brakes, but they do not function, that is not just illegal – it can cost you your boat, trailer and maybe someone’s life. Is the boat sitting properly on the trailer? Is the boat strapped down to the trailer? What kind of hitch is there and what size ball does it have if applicable? Let your driver know if he will need additional straps and what kind of hitch is on the trailer. Is the equipment to hook on to the truck in good shape? Make sure all these things are checked and replaced or repaired as needed. Is there a trailer tag? If not, the driver needs to know in advance that he must provide a transporter tag.
Last, if the beam of your boat is greater than 8.5’ &/or the height is more than 13.5’ from the ground to the tallest point of the boat it will still require permits for each state it passes through on its way to its new destination. Again, if the vessel/trailer is oversize permits at a minimum will have to be obtained. So specs and weight need to be as accurate as possible. Your driver is still supposed to stop at the proper check points and weigh stations to insure all is legal and safe.
Remember, drivers don’t prep boats and do not carry enough equipment and tools to prepare for transport. This should be done prior to the driver ever arriving. The driver picking up your boat should be able to hook on to your boat, strap her down if necessary, put up proper flags if required, verify the brakes work and roll all within 30 to 45 minutes at the most. All of the above equals a “road ready” trailer to tow for your transporter that arrives to you safely and economically.