International Boat Shipping

international boat shipping

The international boat shipping market is a booming business nowadays. There are more and more yachts around and people want to discover the world in their own yacht!

Yacht shipping is a great way to move your boat over large distances.

Now, why would you choose to transport your vessel on a cargo ship?


Lots of motor yachts do not even have the fuel range to make it to the destination. And even if they can, it might not be the best solution. Fuel costs, engine hours and the wear and tear can be too much.

Sailing yachts instead have an unlimited range, but the wear and tear stays...

You could even say that international boat shipping is safer, because when you send your boat through the notorious pirate areas, you don't risk your own life!

Most boat transport companies work with several shipping lines, some have their own ships.

boat cargo

Next to the shipping itself, most boat transport companies offer a wide range of extra services, like for example, the yacht delivery to the port of loading, making a cradle, protecting your boat, storage, custom clearance and so on...

Now, how does it work?

There are 2 ways of international boat shipping.

boat transport

The first is the more traditional way. Your yacht is hoisted on the deck of a ship through port cranes or through the heavy lift cranes of the ship itself.

The second way is the more special one, it's the float-on/float-off method. The ship that will transport your yacht is semi-submersible.

This means that the ship can go down by filling her ballast tanks. Water will flood the deck and the ballasting operation continues until the deepest yacht can sail into the bay of the ship.

When all yachts are inside, the de-ballasting process begins and divers will make the necessary adjustments, so that the boats are sitting correctly on their cradle after the water has gone.

In both cases, of course, everything is planned. Yachts are placed on the deck according to the docking plan and the loading master will guide the whole process.

Securing yachts on deck

When all yachts are on their own cradle, the sea fastening operation begins. Boats are lashed to lashing eyes that are welded to the deck. So, the ship does not leave before everything is secured and approved.

If you want, you can join your boat. Riders are allowed by some yacht transport companies, but not too many, of course, and sometimes it's only available for the crew of bigger yachts.

It is very unlikely that your standard yacht insurance will cover international boat shipping.

The companies can help you with this, sometimes it's even included in the shipping price itself.

Read the insurance policy well! Know what is included and from which moment it starts and ends.

For example, if your yacht is shipped by a semi-submersible ship, the insurance starts the moment they attach a line to your boat or you pass the stern of the ship. It ends in the reversed order.

Dockwise Yacht Transport on the move

When your vessel has arrived at its destination, check it for damage. Report immediately, don't wait until it is removed from the deck. Your claim or right of claim may be lost.

As with 'boat transports over the road' , protect your yacht. Take all vulnerable parts down, protect your chrome and steel fittings, teak and railing, take your sails down and make sure that everything inside is stowed away properly. Only hold the necessary fuel onboard.

You can ship your yacht to virtually everywhere. Semi-submersible ships don't go to all places in the world yet.

Do you have a very small boat or are the dimensions limited, maybe it will fit in a container!

Remember that it is very important to get all your documents in order, so you will not have problems with customs. Arrange well ahead in time! Your yacht transport company will help you with this. Failing to do this, can result in heavy fines or even the confiscation of your boat.

The international boat shipping price will depend on the size of your vessel, the distance, the special requirements you need and the extra services you might take.

To give you an idea: to ship a 46 foot (= 14 meters LOA) sailing yacht from Palma de Mallorca (Spain) to Newport, Rhode Island (USA), would cost you 28 900 US Dollars.

(Pictures of the orange Dockwise Yacht Transport ship were taken by Onne van der Wal, the others were taken by Yacht Trans Lines)

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